Lorimer Telephones


So far, only a few Lorimer telephones have been identified, with minor variations. The first is a long cathedral top wall phone of conventional appearance, with the transmitter arm moved lower on the front of the case to make room for the dialling mechanism. The illustration is from Ron Knappen's "Old Telephones Price Guide and History of Old Telephones" , now out of print. It is hard to tell from the illustration, but the phone could also be from the Globe company. It is so identified in a 1907 International Library of Technology textbook. Globe used a lever and cog system rather like the Lorimer, but mounted on a flat panel with three selectors. The Lorimer panel generally bulged outwards slightly to allow for the disk behind each of the four selectors. Little is known of the Globe system, but its three selectors were simply pulled down to the number to be dialled. The number was then dialled out by clockwork, not unlike the Lorimers.






The second model is from the early 1900s and is a smaller wall model. Also from Knappen, dated by him as 1904.










More U.S. Lorimer phones from Ron Knappen's book. Undated.










A compact wall phone from the British installation. Examples are held by the British Telecom Museum and the Milton Keynes Museum.

Photo: Sam Hallas









An unusual version used a candlestick phone with the dialling box set in front of it on a wooden plinth. It appears to have been used only on the Brantford exchange. A similar dialling box was produced by Betulander of Sweden.








There is also an unconfirmed report of a later dialling system that used a series of pushbuttons arranged in a circle about two inches in diameter. These buttons drove a spring-loaded mechanism that produced the dial pulses. Externally it sounds like it was not unlike the pushbutton "dials" fitted to many modern reproduction phones, but I have no photos or other information on it.



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