Museum of Communications
The Herbert H. Warrick Jr. Museum of Communications, originally the Vintage Telephone Equipment Museum, is located in Centurylink's Duwamish Central Office at East Marginal Way S. and Corson Avenue S. in Georgetown, Seattle, Washington. It "reveals the history of the telephone and the equipment that makes it all work." The museum was originally sponsored by the Washington Telecom Pioneers, and is now a part of the Telecommunications History Group, based in Denver, CO. It features vintage equipment from AT&T, Western Electric, Pacific Northwest Bell, USWest, and other organizations.
The museum was founded as a joint effort by Pioneers, a Volunteer Network, a non-profit public service organization, and Don Ostrand and Herb Warrick, both employees of Pacific Northwest Bell. Originally envisioned to be one of three telephone museums in the Pacific Northwest, this was the only one that materialized. Work started in 1985, and the museum opened to the public in Fall of 1989. Frames of electromechanical switching equipment were brought in from existing central offices, and lifted to the third floor by cranes. From there, volunteers rewired the equipment to make it functional once again.
The museum has the following notable items in its collection:
- 1923 Panel Switch from Seattle's Rainier/Parkway exchange
- 1942 No. 1 Crossbar from Seattle's Lakeview Exchange
- c. 1950s No. 5 Crossbar from the Adams exchange on Mercer Island
- c. 1970s #3 ESS
- North Electric CX 100, from Lester, Washington
- Step-By-Step (SXS) equipment
- 755 and 756 PBXs
- Teletype equipment from the 1920s through the 1980s
- A red GPO telephone box, flown to Seattle from the UK
Most of the artifacts in the museum's collection are functional, and are maintained regularly by volunteers. The electro-mechanical switching systems, particularly the No. 1 and Panel offices, are the only remaining switches of their type in the world that are still functioning. The No.5 crossbar office is one of two that operate in a museum setting in the U.S. (the other is at The Telephone Museum in Ellsworth, Maine). Although they are no longer connected to the PSTN, visitors can make calls between the switches in the museum.
- "Mercer Islander saw value in old phone technology - Mercer Island Reporter". Mercer Island Reporter. Retrieved 2016-06-18.
- "Past still calls to us at museum". The Seattle Times. 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2016-06-18.
- "Vintage Telephone Museum". KOMO News. 1989-09-18. Retrieved 2016-06-17 – via Youtube.
- Tom Scott (2016-12-12), In Old Movies, Why The Dial Tone After Someone Hangs Up?, retrieved 2017-01-10
- Broom, Jack (8 Sep 1995). "But Does It Take Dimes?". Seattle Times. Retrieved 17 Jun 2016 – via spl.org.
- Autumn, Sarah. Full Mechanical: Care and Feeding of Your Panel Machine Switching System. Museum of Communications: Unpublished, Privately held record. pp. 4, 5.
- Official website
- Museum of Communications's channel on YouTube
- Museum of Communications - Virtual tour
- 2005 Visit to the Museum of Communication - Telephone World
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