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Coastal Artillery Gun Telephone Box


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Fixbayonets!

Recently picked up this rather unique item & thought I would share a few photos.  U.S. Army Signal Corps gun telephone call box as would be mounted in a coastal artillery battery commanders station.  The box is heavy as all hell and is built like a tank.  The box reatins it's original paint.  Thanks for checking it out!

 

Rob    

gphone1.jpg

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It's not specifically for the battery commander's position; these boxes were mounted in the batteries.  That is real nice and rare as hen's teeth...  Nice acquisition!  Below is a photo of a BC's position (Battery Wallace, Fort Cronkhite CA) before it was casemated.  Note the phone box cover's nomenclature.  Tom

 

Firing Wallace - press photo front.JPG

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You can kind of see the gun telephone box on the right side of the image (Battery Chamberlin, Fort Scott CA).  In this case, there were two such boxes on either side of the gun with cables leading to headsets.

 

SCAN0062 - Copy.JPG

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Fixbayonets!

Thank you for the excellent information and for that outstanding series of photos!  I had looked around on the internet and could only find a modern photo from Battery Osgood-Farley.  They show the box on the wall of their restored Battery Commanders station but the door is open and I could not read that it said Battery Commander.   Now if I could only find the EE-91 phone & headset to put inside.

 

Rob 

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agate hunter

Very cool find!
I have one as well I found about four years ago. A centerpiece item for a Coast Artillery collection. My cast iron box included a telephone as well, a metal cased EE-75 telephone. It has a tray for putting the EE-70 headset on it for storage in the box. The telephone in my box is dated 1916, earlier (pre 1912-14 or so??) the gun telephones had a wooden case, vs. a metal case, that went in the cast iron box (metal cases replaced old wooden telephone cases as the wood cases didn't hold up as well at tropical locations such as the Philippines, Panama, and Hawaii). Your box is designed for the newer metal case telephone, due to the four studs in it for screwing down the telephone. Earlier boxes had two rails going along the side of the box interior that the old wooden cased telephone would rest on. 
My box interior and telephone were very rusty, I've worked on restoring it over the last couple years. 
I will add some photos soon, and some historic photos as well.

The new 1930s-40s EE-91 telephone wasn't meant to go in the cast iron gun telephone box, even though it could fit. I think the photo above was for test purposes. The EE-91 eventually got it's own sheet metal box.
The gun telephone box was installed on the concrete walls of gun batteries, and inside concrete telephone booths for mortar batteries. The gun telephone connected a man on the loading platform to the plotting room, where firing data was communicated. Gun telephone boxes were also installed on gun carriages for a time. 

Often the letters on the box lid were painted white, as yours appears to be. Sometimes they were painted all black I think too. 

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Fixbayonets!

Thanks for the additional information!  I look forward to seeing some photos of the box you have.

 

Rob

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On 8/15/2020 at 9:57 PM, T Ambrosini said:

Message sent...  It's not that straight forward.  Tom

It seems very few things ever turn out to be as straight forward as they first seem.  

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agate hunter


Here's an interior view of a mortar telephone booth, telautograph receiver on left, three-toed emplacement outlet box (connects two instruments into one conduit that goes to plotting room) and gun telephone box. And a zone signal controller apparatus (powder charges for mortars were categorized into different 'zones' which were marked for longer or shorter ranges, etc. In the powder room the different zones of powder were stored under different lights, I believe this device could control which zone signal light to activate, so the powder crew knows which zone of powder to grab). 
On the rear wall of this booth were the wooden chalk boards for Zone (or Load), Azimuth, and Elevation, that the booth operator would write the data on, and slide the boards out to be visible to the gun crews. 
Note the telautograph on springs, this was a delicate instrument so had to have some protection from concussion. It was an early style fax machine basically, where the operator at the transmitter would write fire control data or other messages, and the movement of the writing instrument would be electrically copied to the receiving instrument. This way data could be visualized, versus just heard on the telephone, which was subject to error in loud environments. But by the mid/late 1910s teleautographs were deemed too delicate instruments and unnecessary, so they were done away with. 

This image is from Fort Hamilton, NY.
 

293403418_telautographguntelephonezonesignalcontrolleraparatusmortarbtryboothfthamilton.jpg.4c86d20b242b3c7866468ccf694cc917.jpg

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agate hunter

My gun telephone box. 

I've seen lids that say SIGNAL CORPS, U.S. ARMY; SIGNAL CORPS, U.S.A.; and U.S. SIGNAL CORPS. 

DSCF5534.JPG

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agate hunter

Interior of my box when I bought it. With metal cased EE-75 telephone. When I cleaned the data plate it is made by Stromberg-Carlson Telephone Mfg. Co. in 1916. 

DSCF5470.JPG

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agate hunter

Telephone case lid after carefully removing everything to prepare for restoration. Some of those screws were a pain but with a lot of work and patience got them loose! 

And pic of data plate cleaned up.

DSCF5912.JPG.0c1acdd069544c827d54ac741b6f1a41.JPG

 

DSCF5692.JPG.383dc77f455c0ccd0db9bdf8d59728c2.JPG

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agate hunter

Gun telephone information (also a photo collage of other telephone equipment) from Manual No. 8 Apparatus for Fire Control and Direction of the U.S. Signal Corps (1906). 

The 1904 Fire Control equipment manual has an older style of telephone that were installed in niches on gun batteries in the early days (1900s), so I'm thinking the gun telephone with cast iron box came out about 1905. 

1847333346_manualno.8guntelephoneinfo1906.jpg.73f816885be68e2f7a68aa712420e768.jpg

 

 

1025767538_manualno.8telephones1906.jpg.480ab34acb527ea386805ccd03865884.jpg

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