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Communications
Few aspects of modern life have advanced so dramatically, nor changed our lives so completely, as that of communications. Just about 120 years ago, the only way to contact someone abroad was by letter, taking weeks for a reply. Now we can talk directly from virtually anywhere to anywhere via a mobile phone. This revolution started with the telegraph, which could transmit on-off signals in code: voice communication was not possible until the advent of the telephone in 1873. The next major advance was wireless, invented by Marconi in 1896. Meanwhile, visual imaging proceeded in two parallel paths - the chemical one for normal cameras and films, and the digital one for television and the internet.
 

Rotary Dial Telephone


Before the days of buttons, the classic rotary dial strongly influenced the look of telephones. This much-travelled example was built in Sweden in 1920 by Ericsson, and then exported to Turkey. It was purchased in Istanbul and restored back in Sweden with the assistance of the Turkish Ambassador there.

 

Phonograph

The second Edison object in our collections is this cylinder phonograph, where the sound was recorded on a wax cylinder rather than a shellac disc. It was manufactured in 1903 by the Edison Company in America, and bears the serial number 5290773.

 

 

Thomas Edison Patent Model

One of the most significant items in the collection is this 1876 patent model by Thomas Edison, describing a method of improving the telegraph system so that it could send alphabetic letters instead of symbols. Edison was one of the most prolific and significant inventors of all time, and his patent models are much sought after by museums and collectors alike.

 

Valve Amplifier

An unusual separate amplifier form an age when sound systems were usually all in one box. Built in about 1936 by Western Electric, USA, it boasts two enormous 'tubes', otherwise known as thermionic valves. Unlike today's transistors, these gave off enormous amounts of heat (and light); hence the large holes in the case.

 

 

Zoetrope

The zoetrope is a forerunner of the modern cinematograph, and was invented in 1834 by William Horner. When viewed through the slits, the pictures inside the revolving drum give the impression of movement.

 

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