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Telephone Service in Birmingham

cookie273uk

master brummie
Pedrocut, had a look at my presentation wallet (from the Union ?)it says July 1987 so I must have been with BT 3 years, I know the first year I applied for early retirement they said no, had to wait another year and they added 6 years to my service for pension benefit, so my pension was based on 37 years instead of the actual 31 I served, so it was worth waiting. I think the first year BT made 1000's redundant, some of the so called 'dead wood'. Eric
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
I don't think many people have mentioned the Telex service. I think this used lower grade lines than the speaking lines. I remember using telex machines to send typed messages. I was at the Computer Museum in Bletchley one day and remarked to my friends that you know that you are getting older when you see equipment you used in a museum.

Telex was superceded by the Fax machines and they have now gone to be replaced by email and texting and other messaging systems.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
I don't think many people have mentioned the Telex service. I think this used lower grade lines than the speaking lines. I remember using telex machines to send typed messages. I was at the Computer Museum in Bletchley one day and remarked to my friends that you know that you are getting older when you see equipment you used in a museum.

Telex was superceded by the Fax machines and they have now gone to be replaced by email and texting and other messaging systems.
Its strange though isn't it, they have all been superseded, but we are still here.....unable to use the new all singing all dancing machines but still here.

bob
 

mw0njm.

Brummie Dude
I don't think many people have mentioned the Telex service. I think this used lower grade lines than the speaking lines. I remember using telex machines to send typed messages. I was at the Computer Museum in Bletchley one day and remarked to my friends that you know that you are getting older when you see equipment you used in a museum.

Telex was superceded by the Fax machines and they have now gone to be replaced by email and texting and other messaging systems.
the chemist in the village here.and the doc.still send faxes to one another,when they do the prescriptions:grinning:


.:grinning:
 

cookie273uk

master brummie
David, I was an Aircrew Wireless Op in the RAF for 8 years, 1948 till 56, but the last year I was 'grounded' because of weak eye sight and was posted to Bletchley signals centre using teleprinters, is that the same as telex, I remember the messages came on paper tape with a 5 digit code punched in and the had a similar keyboard to a type writer. I believe Bletchley had quite a history during the war decoding German messages. Eric
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
David, I was an Aircrew Wireless Op in the RAF for 8 years, 1948 till 56, but the last year I was 'grounded' because of weak eye sight and was posted to Bletchley signals centre using teleprinters, is that the same as telex, I remember the messages came on paper tape with a 5 digit code punched in and the had a similar keyboard to a type writer. I believe Bletchley had quite a history during the war decoding German messages. Eric

Telex and teleprinters I think were the same. Telex specifically I think was the public network.
1584459546260.png
This was a telex machine which you see has the rotary dial. You will see that there only three rows of keys, not the full Qwerty keyboard that a typewriter had. This was because of the 5 digit code which was not sufficient for the full alphabet and the numerical numbers and a limited punctuation so you had to send a shift key signal when you changed between alpha and numeric. I think the maximum speed was 60 words per minute so you would use the keyboard to punch the tape at your typing speed then dial the number you wanted and when the machine the other end answered you would freed the tape through to send the message.

Some time in the late 1970s I bought two of the new fax machine which we used through our private line between our Birmingham and London offices and it would take 4 minutes to send an A4 page or 6 minutes if you wanted a better quality copy. People today just do not understand how we used to work.
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
Our number in Handsworth was Northern 7614. It was a party line. Our line partner(I think it was called that) had a teenage girl that seemed to have MANY MANY boyfriends and would not get off the line!
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
David, remember
Telex and teleprinters I think were the same. Telex specifically I think was the public network.
View attachment 143034
This was a telex machine which you see has the rotary dial. You will see that there only three rows of keys, not the full Qwerty keyboard that a typewriter had. This was because of the 5 digit code which was not sufficient for the full alphabet and the numerical numbers and a limited punctuation so you had to send a shift key signal when you changed between alpha and numeric. I think the maximum speed was 60 words per minute so you would use the keyboard to punch the tape at your typing speed then dial the number you wanted and when the machine the other end answered you would freed the tape through to send the message.

Some time in the late 1970s I bought two of the new fax machine which we used through our private line between our Birmingham and London offices and it would take 4 minutes to send an A4 page or 6 minutes if you wanted a better quality copy. People today just do not understand how we used to work.
David, I remember those but also remember a Quip machine. The Quip machine took about twice as long as your fax but also any letters that were smaller than 1/4” high transmitted as a blur and had to be really dark to have a high contrast!
 

Dave89

master brummie
Hi,

We used Telex at Metro-Cammell, and I remember arranging for the old
Creed 7ERP to be replaced with a Creed 444 teleprinter with a 4 bank keyboard.
Telex ran at 50 Baud - I believe about 66 words a minute, and this was not really
fast enough for a lot of our operators to prepare tapes on. so it was backed up
with a 100 Baud 444. The problem was that if you typed too fast on the 50 Baud 444
it would just miss characters unlike the old 3 bank model 7 which would jam .
One big advantage with the 444 was that as the figures and letters did not share the
same keys, if you forgot the shift key, the characters would not type.

A useful feature was that if you made a mistake during tape preparation,
you could backspace the tape and overtype the error with the letters shift. This would
punch all 5 channels on the tape and delete the character.

We also had FAX, which, like email today, is one way only, unlike Telex , on which you can
"hold a conversation". I believe , although I've never used it, Skype's a bit like Telex
in that respect.

Kind regards
Dave.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
In 1964, I worked in a construction company in Plymouth and whilst the two senior directors were old and set in their ways, the one director had two sons who were also directors and a lot more forward looking, we used Burroughs sensimatics for the wages and other mechanical arithmetic jobs and in their wisdom, they invested in a Rank Xerox al singing, all dancing photocopier, the latest on the market, which was serviced every month by a specialist engineer. One month he did not come, but when he arrived the following month explained that it was because he had been in a party of Xerox engineers who had been invited to the United States to Xerox headquarters, he told us of the advances he had seen including a telephone which sent paper messages. It was going to be the machine of the future, replacing the mail for anything foolscap size, you would put a sheet of paper in the feed at the back of the phone, dial a number, press send and hey presto that would be replicated at the other end. And he had seen it done. What I did not discover for a long time was that the fax machine had been invented way back in the 1840s by a Scotsman and the idea played about with for years and even after our excited little engineer had seen this demonstration, it would be another 10 to 15 years before it became a must have in every office.....and now ours lies gathering dust, unused replaced by the email. Anyone got any thoughts as to the next step forward in telecommunications? Did any member have an elderly relation who still had and used a candlestick phone?


65px-Candlestick_phone.JPG


Bob
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Teleprinters were strange contraptions. When I did my HND in Business Computing at what is now Bournemouth Uni, we didn't have monitors and separate keyboards. Just a teleprinter, which was one of many connected to an ICL 2902 Minicomputer which ran Minimac BASIC in a very slow interactive mode. If you wanted to use COBOL or FORTRAN, you had to punch cards and they would be run overnight in batch mode.

Teleprinters were built like tanks, almost unbreakable, and was a bit like doing a gig on an old worn out pub piano. But there's always the exception to the rule. We had one guy who was actually thrown off the course for misusing a teleprinter, believe it or not. He hit the teleprinter keys so hard, we thought that he would break the unbreakable. I think he must have been a rivetter in a shipyard at some time in his life :) But he refused (or couldn't) change his attitude to the teleprinter as he behaved like Norman Bates in the stabbing scene in the shower in Pscho! (I can still hear that screechy music now!) A flimsy modern day Microsoft plastic keyboard would not have lasted one minute under his attack, and he was eventually asked to leave.

I think that used teleprinters were one item for which there was never much demand as there was little in them that could be retrieved and used for some other purpose. I know that teletype was allowed on certain amateur bands, but I can't imagine that it was very popular, but I'll leave Pete or Alan to comment on this. Happy days! :)

Maurice :cool:
 

cookie273uk

master brummie
Bob, I lost count of the candle stick telephones I disposed of whilst replacing it with the modern telephone, they are worth a lot of money now by collectors, I removed 3 from the old Vicarage in Church Lane Aston in late 50's (now long since gone). Eric
 

Dave89

master brummie
Hi Bob,

The only Candlestick telephone I ever saw in use was in the 1950s at Aston's the butchers
in Station Road Stechford.

I imagine that as you rented and could not buy your telephone it was only the ones which
you had installed a long time before which would have been in regular use at that time.
My Gran had a 200 series phone in the early 1940s, and I suppose these were much more desirable.

In similar vein, you could not buy Xerox Photocopiers in the 1960s, only rent them, although
the rental costs were an investment in itself. They were able to do this as they had a patent
monopoly on plain paper copiers taken out by Chester Carlson in the 1930s.
The monthly copy charges included that monthly service call, and any parts required.
I wonder if the machine you remember was the model 3600, which came out in the
1960s and was so called because it would do 3600 copies an hour (1 per second)
We had one at the Met, and when the patent expired I think in the late 70s, we bought it
for around £13,000. I had calculated that even paying for a service contract, the saving on
the charge per copy was such with the volumes we did that we would recoup the cost in a year.
And we did, and that machine was still churning out high volumes when I left in the mid 80s.

Happy days!

Kind regards
Dave
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
Mauri
Teleprinters were strange contraptions. When I did my HND in Business Computing at what is now Bournemouth Uni, we didn't have monitors and separate keyboards. Just a teleprinter, which was one of many connected to an ICL 2902 Minicomputer which ran Minimac BASIC in a very slow interactive mode. If you wanted to use COBOL or FORTRAN, you had to punch cards and they would be run overnight in batch mode.

Teleprinters were built like tanks, almost unbreakable, and was a bit like doing a gig on an old worn out pub piano. But there's always the exception to the rule. We had one guy who was actually thrown off the course for misusing a teleprinter, believe it or not. He hit the teleprinter keys so hard, we thought that he would break the unbreakable. I think he must have been a rivetter in a shipyard at some time in his life :) But he refused (or couldn't) change his attitude to the teleprinter as he behaved like Norman Bates in the stabbing scene in the shower in Pscho! (I can still hear that screechy music now!) A flimsy modern day Microsoft plastic keyboard would not have lasted one minute under his attack, and he was eventually asked to leave.

I think that used teleprinters were one item for which there was never much demand as there was little in them that could be retrieved and used for some other purpose. I know that teletype was allowed on certain amateur bands, but I can't imagine that it was very popular, but I'll leave Pete or Alan to comment on this. Happy days! :)

Maurice :cool:
Maurice, teleprinters were built to last and work for a long time. Today’s like equipment is designed to be technically and mechanically obsolete after three or maybe 4 years if we are lucky!
when I was sitting for my ME we had a computer lab much the same as you, there were 28 in the class, no monitor and what we call today dial up. The keyboard was bullett proof, those days are long gone my friend
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
Hi Bob,

The only Candlestick telephone I ever saw in use was in the 1950s at Aston's the butchers
in Station Road Stechford.

I imagine that as you rented and could not buy your telephone it was only the ones which
you had installed a long time before which would have been in regular use at that time.
My Gran had a 200 series phone in the early 1940s, and I suppose these were much more desirable.

In similar vein, you could not buy Xerox Photocopiers in the 1960s, only rent them, although
the rental costs were an investment in itself. They were able to do this as they had a patent
monopoly on plain paper copiers taken out by Chester Carlson in the 1930s.
The monthly copy charges included that monthly service call, and any parts required.
I wonder if the machine you remember was the model 3600, which came out in the
1960s and was so called because it would do 3600 copies an hour (1 per second)
We had one at the Met, and when the patent expired I think in the late 70s, we bought it
for around £13,000. I had calculated that even paying for a service contract, the saving on
the charge per copy was such with the volumes we did that we would recoup the cost in a year.
And we did, and that machine was still churning out high volumes when I left in the mid 80s.

Happy days!

Kind regards
Dave
In the 1940s, an old lady a friend of my grandmother who we regularly visited had a candlestick phone, she lived on Chester Road and when I saw her in the very early fifties it was still with her and she resolutely refused to change to one of those 'new fangled' looking ones. I was also aware of one or two other friends of my grandmother who had candlesticks during the war years. The photocopier I referred to was very fast and was leased, the reason for the monthly call by the engineer. Thanks for the information.

Bob
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
Hi Bob,

The only Candlestick telephone I ever saw in use was in the 1950s at Aston's the butchers
in Station Road Stechford.

I imagine that as you rented and could not buy your telephone it was only the ones which
you had installed a long time before which would have been in regular use at that time.
My Gran had a 200 series phone in the early 1940s, and I suppose these were much more desirable.

In similar vein, you could not buy Xerox Photocopiers in the 1960s, only rent them, although
the rental costs were an investment in itself. They were able to do this as they had a patent
monopoly on plain paper copiers taken out by Chester Carlson in the 1930s.
The monthly copy charges included that monthly service call, and any parts required.
I wonder if the machine you remember was the model 3600, which came out in the
1960s and was so called because it would do 3600 copies an hour (1 per second)
We had one at the Met, and when the patent expired I think in the late 70s, we bought it
for around £13,000. I had calculated that even paying for a service contract, the saving on
the charge per copy was such with the volumes we did that we would recoup the cost in a year.
And we did, and that machine was still churning out high volumes when I left in the mid 80s.

Happy days!

Kind regards
Dave
Dave you are exactly right...……….The new rules are they basically give you the copier to use the ink. Its the old give you the razor but you buy the blades. I had (US) and Epson copier in my home office, as my business developed I was making a lot of copies and decided to use a third party ink less than half the price, except what I did not know what that Epson put a chip in the ink cartridge and when the third party ink was installed the printer did not recognize and would not run, I had to buy Epson ink anyway! Just changed over to an HP printer/copier, well see how that goes...…….
 

Richard Dye

master brummie
My goodness how times have change when you think back over the past 10 or 20 years!
20 years ago we did not know what a smart phone was. 1969 I started to work in the US for a company that I would spend over 25 years with. When I went for my first interview waiting in the lobby there were three ladies in a cubby pulling and plugging chords every time a call came in. They kept that in place for another 10 years!
What is also missing for the most part are the beautiful buildings in Pedros piece.
Another change as I was writing this on my iPad, when I wrote piece it wanted to substitute pixel!

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend everyone!



19 Newhall Street, the Central Exchange built in 1896, has a few previous mentions but now the links don’t work so it is worth a mention again. The Wikipedia link is below, a Grade I Listed Building also known as the Bell Edison Building and The Exchange.


View attachment 145826View attachment 145827

 
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