This is my entire collection as it stands so far. I first started collecting in the summer of 2013/2014 with the Edwards 17 bell as shown. I plan on describing each of my devices individually in a short series of pictures. It may be a long time before I add a new piece to the collection because I do not yet have the cash flow or resources set up to purchase devices.
This is my Norelco HB-0933 smoke detector. I believe it was originally installed sometime in the early 1970s in a house our family has been rehabilitating since last year. When I first got it from being taken down, it was stained from tobacco and required surface cleaning along with cleaning a little of the interior housing. There is a similar model to this that features a push-button on the logo to test the device.
Here is the interior of the front cover, containing notices of UL certification, testing instructions, instructions for battery replacement, and others. Also notice a few dates to the left, which may denote times this detector was tested by the previous owners.
The interior housing can be accessed by rotating the outer cover about 45 degrees; shown here is the piezo, circuitry, wiring, and the “Replace Battery” tab which I had to manually reset since it does not reset on its own. I have not tested this detector at all since first acquiring it, so I am unsure of its operating status.
Next up is my Edwards Adaptabel model 332, which I purchased from a flea market. There are similar versions of this bell online with a different tag on front; this looks to be an older bell, judging by the amount of wear on the surface.
The back of the bell shows the exposed single-stroke mechanism.
The next item in my collection is this 2" bell I bought from a flea market. I believe this bell is made by Liberty Bell Manufacturing Co. based on an eBay marketplace listing for this item showing a bell striker exactly like the one I have. The reason there is no cover plate for the interior mechanisms is because when I bought this bell, it was missing the cover.
This is my Fire-Lite-branded BG-12LX, which I purchased from a flea market.
When I bought this pull station, it did not come with a key, and the lock mechanism is therefore stuck in the ‘unlocked’ position, meaning that the pull station does not close properly. Everything else is in working condition, however.
This device appears to have been previously used in an installation, judging by the spliced wires on the back casing. Also, there are several black (paint?) stains on the wires and the edges of all four sides on the back.
This is my National Time & Signal Corporation 641 pull station, a device that is gradually getting rarer to find. These were once common in several regions of Michigan (including my hometown), but with new system upgrades and removals, these have been disappearing.
A special key is used to unlock the device and expose the inner components, but the one I bought (from a flea market) did not come with such a key. However, I suspect that a long-enough circular object or two could be inserted and do the same thing.
Lastly, also from National Time, is my 311 fire horn. Also once common in several areas of Michigan (e.g., Strong Hall at Eastern Michigan University, Jackson Early Childhood Center (Livonia), Jewish Community Center (Oak Park)), this device has become scarce.
Neither the 311 nor the 411 series of horns sound like the devices in the video. If I had to guess, the Federal Signal devices in the video are most likely a modern, enhanced version of the originals that sound in different keys.
This is a bell with a circuit box and striker for the gong (2" in diameter). The previous owner of this device had the bell mounted onto this wooden plaque, but I couldn’t find any screws nor other compartments with which to disassemble the device from the plaque.
As you can see, this device originally was installed in a telephone exchange building of the old Bell System. The bell would sound most likely whenever a telephone call came in. I don’t know the model nor the manufacturer of this device; Western Electric produced a majority of the telephone ringer bells for the Bell System, but I could not find any Western Electric logo stamped on this device.
They sound like that because they run on DC. AC devices (whether it be a fridge, street lamp, fire alarm, or dryer buzzer) have a 120 Hz tone or undertone due to the 60 Hz wave of the current. In the UK, they have a 100 Hz tone because theirs is 50 Hz.
After over a year of inactivity in buying new devices, I finally got a couple of opportunities over the past two weekends to expand my collection! As I now have more dependable transportation to visit places I want to visit, I am planning on looking for more devices in the coming months.
This is my Wheelock KS-16301 telephone ringer bell, manufactured exclusively for the Bell System. Stevenson High School in Livonia (and possibly Franklin High in the same city) used to have one of these installed, but I never heard it ring. I believe I’ve also seen one installed outside of a Belle Tire in Plymouth Township, likely used to signal when a car pulls up for servicing.
This is my Faraday 346 signaling bell. It has a 3" gong, something that is unusual among most general signaling devices. I’ve also never seen one of these devices in the wild. If I choose to test this device at a later date, I might have to rewire the bell because part of the existing wiring is frayed.
Last, but not least, is my Federal Sign and Signal 350 horn, under the Vibratone series of devices. I’ve seen several of these devices and remnants thereof at Eastern Michigan University; Sill Hall still has them installed (as the flush-mount variant, branded under Simplex), and both Best Hall and the Quirk/Sponberg Theatre buildings originally had the flush-mount variants (under Simplex) also prior to both systems getting upgraded to Faraday voice-evac systems. Outside of EMU, both Franklin and Stevenson High Schools in Livonia used to have these horns, and both times, they were rebranded as part of Standard Electric Time systems. Both schools now use recently-installed National Time systems.
My Western Electric 592A telephone ringer bell is yet another relic of the old Bell System, and both companies shared close ties with each other. So far, this is my only collection piece to have dual gongs.
This is my Edwards 340 Adaptabel, which a previous owner had wired up to ring whenever it’s plugged into a socket. I plan on posting a video of the device in action soon. Surprisingly, this bell is fairly quiet when it rings.
This Faraday 5410 horn, when I bought it, came only with the horn itself and a mounting box. A family member bought a metal conduit; a metal mounting box; a fuse; a push button; and an extension cord; to put all of these together for me to sound off in my free time. Before, the device had exposed wiring protruding from the mounting box in the back, which was too dangerous for me to hook up alone. For a little history, Faraday was the original manufacturer of this horn, which would be rebranded by companies such as Simplex and Honeywell. I’ll also post a video of me setting it off soon. Unlike the Edwards 340, this device is loud enough that I use hearing protection.