Trommelwähler

Trommelwähler: Until now, I had not realized that there was a Drum Selector Telephone-shaped hole in my life. And people say I'm hard to shop for.

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12 Responses:

  1. thielges says:

    I get the feeling this is how Siemens circumvented one of Ma Bell's rotary dial patents. Same damn thing but physically different enough to appease the patent inspectors.

    Have you seen the SP10T pulse activated switches at the other end of the line at the switching center? They're mesmerizing in action.

    • jwz says:

      I have not.

      I seriously need this phone just as visual complement to my sideways-typing Oliver typewriter.

      • Nick Lamb says:

        I always knew them as Strowger, after the inventor, the local telephone exchange still had them when I first visited it as a child. London's Science Museum used to have an exhibit with several rotary telephones hooked up to a simplified Strowger exchange, so you can see it work. This is the last generation of telephone exchange technology that actually looks like anything to a non-programmer.

        Any good cold war era site always has either a Strowger exchange gently rusting in one room, a bunch of enthusiasts trying to restore it, or very sadly just the metal frames left over after it has been ripped out for scrap or by vandals. The old cabinet bunker away from the centre of London has one, the strategic bomber command site I worked in between years at school had one, and the "Secret Nuclear Bunker" at Kelvedon Hatch has one. I bet some of those abandoned missile launch sites in the US have them too.

    • These switches or something different?

      (and... argh... cannot resist: It...wählers your trommels?)

      • thielges says:

        Yes, like that. I used to have a single digit SP10T slice of that style switcher and rigged it up to an old phone dial. That in turn was distributed to a bunch of lights in the room. It allowed you to "dial a light". But to reach light N, the contacts passed through light N-1 and so forth. So dialing an 8 caused lights 1-7 to briefly flash. Fun times.

        Trommel == drum
        Wähler == dialer

  2. Julian Calaby says:

    It's a "Snail Dialler", I love the Germans and their cute names.

    • Julian Calaby says:

      Oh god I'm an idiot. Trommel is "drum" not "snail". Drum magazines are frequently called Snail magazines and I got it all mixed up. /facepalm.

  3. Boris Magocsi says:

    There are a number of them for sale on eBay here in Germany. Let me know if you would like help buying one!

    • jwz says:

      I have had an eBay "international" search for one of these running for a month, and none have come up, so if you can broker this somehow, that would be awesome... How much are they going for?

      • Boris Magocsi says:

        Well, the price seems to have jumped slightly since you wrote this post. At least, it seems like it. It looks like they are going for around 150 - 200 € ($160 - $220). There are a few on offer, even one that ships internationally. Let me know what you want to do!

  4. Oh my god. They're placing the call from inside the exchange, and you can hear the selectors going and even the interrupters clicking away... I love this stuff.