Fire Alarms at Minnesota State University - Mankato

Fire Alarms at MSU Mankato

Last summer, I visited MSU Mankato, which has a lot of interesting devices and leftover parts from previous systems. Here are my personal highlights of my visits.

I apologize for the low-quality photos.

Student Union (1967, 2005)

The Student Union’s fire alarm system consists of Simplex Truealerts and 2099-series pull stations.

However, the original flush-mount grilles, which probably had 4040s/41s, remain.

These panels can be found in one of the secondary entrances. One of them is a Simplex 4602 annunciator, and the other, larger panel is a Simplex 4003EC voice control panel, which is a rebranded Wheelock SP40S SAFEPATH panel.

Thanks, @TheCarson116 for the correction! :+1:

Wissink Hall (1987)

In the West entrance, connected to Nelson Hall, is an old Simplex annunciator, which was gutted out and replaced with the Gamewell/FCI annunciator above it.

I unfortunately didn’t take any photos of the other devices, as I didn’t want to disrupt anyone. I think they were Gamewell-rebranded Wheelock NAs and Century pulls.

Armstrong Hall (1964)

Armstrong has an interesting array of devices.

These are Edwards No. 18 chimes (115VAC). I’ve never seen these before.

The building also has these early Edwards Adaptabels.

As for the fire alarm system, Armstrong has later Simplex 4903-series horn strobes, and 2099-series pull stations.

There are a couple unique devices in the basement; a later adaptabel, and a later chime.

Memorial Library (1967, ren. 1992)

I wasn’t able to get too much footage of the library, as I didn’t want to disrupt anyone…

These Simplex 4903/9838 combos were all over the building.

The building also had 4251-20 pulls.

The only other horns in the building are these strange grey horns, which may have replaced Simplex 4040s/41s. I unfortunately don’t know what they are.

Morris Hall (1968, 1979 add.)

Not much for Morris Hall, just newer devices, except for these.

There were a few of these spartex red Simplex semi-flush plates. I think 2901-9833s or 9806s may have been mounted on them previously.
(Now that I think about it, the corners look a little too sharp to be Simplex… Maybe Wheelock horns were here?)

The building also has Simplex STR 4017 6" bells mounted behind flush grilles, including some rare Simplex 4070 chimes in IBM Slate Grey!

Trafton Science Center (1972, 1994, 2008)

Trafton is easily my most-favorite building on all of campus. It’s absolutely huge, and you can easily get lost in it.

The fire alarm system is Gamewell-rebranded Wheelock stuff, with red NSs on the walls and white ASs on the ceiling, which I forgot to take pics of…

Also, as seen in the above photo, the building is littered with flush-mount grilles from the original system. And, (say it with me) they probably had 4040s/41s.

The building also has Simplex 4070 chimes mounted behind flush grilles.

The pull stations are Gamewell Centuries, probably the same as the one I have. (MS-95T)

In the 1994 addition, there are 4903/9840 combos and 2099-series pull stations.

There’s an exterior classroom building with this strange Honeywell device in the main hall. I think it’s a thermometer?

Earley Center of Performing Arts (1967)

And last, but not least, my other favorite building, with my most-favorite fire alarm system of all.

The building has these 4903-9105/9838 combos all over the building, including some remote strobes.

One of the 9838s was just mounted on a backbox.

I found these rare treasures in the lower-level (classrooms)… An unknown flush-mounted horn, a Simplex 4017 4" bell, and a Simplex 4047-1 A in Early Simplex Silver.

I’m not sure what this flush-mounted horn is, but it looks like they just slapped a bare horn mechanism behind it and called it a day.

A lot of the buildings on campus had these Simplex 4602 annunciators, which were apparently installed and serviced by the branch in Minneapolis.

Bonus Photos

(Earley Center. Mid-Century Modern architecture at its finest.)

(Another shot of the Earley Center lobby)

(Trafton Science Center. I just love the way this building looks.)

Final Words

Since everything on campus is state-owned, I unfortunately won’t be able to get any devices from MSU Mankato from system replacements. However, I might get lucky with Armstrong Hall, as it’s being planned for demolition in 2028. But that’s a long ways from now.

I had these photos collecting dust in my phone for a while, and was hesitant to upload them. Please let me know if there are any issues with this post, and I’ll fix them right away.


Wow. Those are some rare devices. I like the ms-95t

In general:
Neat/interesting finds!

Student Union:
The “annunciator panel” on the left is actually a Simplex 4003EC voice panel, which are really rare to find in actual installations. It’s actually a rebranded Wheelock SP40S SAFEPATH rather than an original Simplex product.

Memorial Library:
I’ve seen that gray horn somewhere before, not sure I know what it is myself though.

Morris Hall:
That looks like a Wheelock SFP-R trim plate, yes. There could have been a 7000-series horn/strobe or 30-series horn on it.

Earley Center:
Odd how that one 9838 is mounted sideways (same for the plateless 9838).
That seems like a really big annunciator for a system that doesn’t seem to need one.

I wish you the best of luck in saving anything & everything you can!

Yeah, I was wondering why it had a mic… I’ll update that part of the post.

I keep thinking that grey horn was made by Allen Bradley, but I know it’s not…
UPDATE: The grey horn is most-likely a Thomas Industries KH-801, or a Crouse-Hinds WH13523-M3.

Looking back at my photos, most of the 9838s at Earley Center were mounted sideways. I wonder why…?

Thanks. I’m considering talking to contractors and dumpster diving if I hear anything, but I can’t make any promises. But even if MSU doesn’t work out, I’m still keeping my eyes open for other places.

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You should share this with Old School Fire Alarms via!!

Make a update post if you get any of the old alarms

If something comes up, I will. I highly doubt it though, since MSU Mankato is state-owned.

But you could go dumpster diving

Not sure how oftenly fire alarms get thrown away if maintained rarely.

Also might want to check if that is legal since most states have it bring a criminal activity.

Dumpster diving is legal in Minnesota

It’s legal, but you gotta watch out for local ordinances and “no trespassing” signs. Then it’s illegal. This is according to the Supreme Court case State of California v. Greenwood, in 1988.

Please keep the comments down… I just wanted to share some photos, not start an argument over dumpster diving laws. I only stated those as potential options, IF I’m able to salvage alarms from MSU Mankato. And keep in mind, it’s state-owned, which means they would have to auction them off at the state level, if they decided to. If it were a privately-owned college, getting replaced alarms would be easier.

I understand what all of you are saying. It would be great to salvage every device from every building in America, and I have that dream, too! But some hurdles are too high to jump. All we can do is rescue what we can, and hope that future enthusiasts are willing to do the same.

The most-probable source of devices at this time is Armstrong Hall, which is slated to be replaced and demolished a few years from now. This isn’t happening right now. MSU Mankato is trying to fit the costs of demolition into their budget, which is why it’s taking a while. And until they’re ready, we’re going to have to be patient.

Whatever happens between me and MSU is my business. I’m glad to share what’s going on, but stalking me for updates isn’t going to help anyone. So, for the time being, please enjoy my photos!

More systems, maybe MSU, maybe not, will be preserved in time, even if all that exists is a photograph. I’m keeping my eyes open for other places being slated for demolition or renovation, as well, so even if MSU doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world.

I’m sorry… But I just had to say it.

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Those Edwards devices are awesome, I love the 70s chime! I am hopefully going to save a few older Edwards chimes from a hospital complex near me.