14 April 2016 – Telecommunications by Ian Rainbow-Wood

The Museum at Milton Keynes is almost an unknown treasure. Their latest addition tells the story of communications from signal fires to electronics. Visitors can learn to send and receive Morse code, practice sending signals up the railway line 19th century style, visit a police phone box, and play at being a switchboard operator at a fully working telephone exchange.

Ian displayed some early telephone equipment including the Strowger switch which led to the first commercially successful electromechanical stepping switch telephone exchange system eliminating the need for a telephone operator to connect callers. It was invented by Almon Brown Strowger, and first patented in the United States in 1891. Because of its operational characteristics it is also known as a step-by-step (SXS) switch. Other items of early telephone equipment were displayed for members to examine.

A Strowger Switch
A Strowger Switch