We are really excited to now have these as part of our collection. A pair of WW2 United States Signal Corps Field Telephones. The first EE-8 telephones were manufactured in the early 1930's and were used by the Signal Corps through WW2 and the Vietnam War. The early models were held in a leather case, before canvas and nylon housing and straps came into favour.
After WW2, the surplus of the EE-8 telephones were sold to American civilians at home to use as private telephones.
In military use, the signal range varied depending on the type of wire being used and the conditions in which the wires were placed. The average range was 11-17 miles, but it has been stated that with a direct, point to point contact (one phone connected directly to another) using copper wire, the range could be extended to over 350 miles!
As well as a direct connection, several telephones could also be connected to communicate with each other through a switchboard.
Our telephones were purchased by their previous owner's Grandfather (a farmer in Bristol) after the war. They had no telephone on the farm, and as his wife was pregnant, they wanted to create a line of communication to call an ambulance. One of the telephones stayed at their farm, whilst the other was wired to their neighbours house further down the road. The neighbours, who had a telephone installed, were then able to call for an ambulance if it was required. The emergency call wasn't needed for the arrival of the baby, but must have provided welcome reassurance to the farmer and his wife.
The phones were in working order a few years ago and were filmed for an episode of Antiques Roadshow with the previous owner, but unfortunately they were not included in the final edit.
We will now put them through a test again to ensure they are working correctly and safe for children and members of the public to use in our workshops.