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Events in telecommunications history


A junction telephone service was inaugurated between Liverpool and Manchester.

A submarine telephone cable was laid between Dover and Dunkirk.

A telephone service was opened with Switzerland.

Hull Corporation's licence to operate a local telephone service was renewed on the understanding that the Corporation would purchase the ex-National Telephone Company's nine exchanges in the area for £192,423. These, together with responsibility for 9,126 stations and 197 call offices, were transferred to the Corporation.

The third automatic telephone exchange in this country was opened at Hereford on 1 August. The Lorimer system, as it was known, was built by the Canadian Machine Telephone Co and had a 500line capacity. It had been patented in the United States by E A Faller (US Patent No. 686892) for a 'well-designed mechanism performing a definite cycle of operations and driven by some source of power'. The power source used was, in fact, a constantly revolving shaft with a mechanical clutch, comprised of toothed wheels, brought into operation by an electro-magnet. The 100-point rotary switch with switched 'wipers' (part of the selecting device) passed over the contacts in one direction only. An unusual feature of this system was a lever-calling device on the telephone on which the caller composed the number by adjusting the levers. The caller could see and check the number before turning a crank and lifting the receiver to set the calling mechanism in operation. The subscriber could pay for two, three or more number composing levers, allowing the selection of local, intermediate or longer distance calls. Hereford was the only exchange of the Lorimer type installed in this country and remained in efficient working order for more than 11 years. Ultimately, the Post Office decided on the Strowger system as its standard in 1922.

A Western Electric Company Rotary type automatic exchange was opened at Darlington for public service on 10 October. It was similar to the Lorimer system in the use of power-driven selector switches, but it featured the 'Register', a device to receive the subscriber's signals from a rotary tenhole dial and to store them for subsequent control of the switches.

Another exchange of this type was opened at Dudley on 9 September 1916 - but with the adoption of the Strowger system as the Post Office standard automatic exchange in 1922, it saw little further service in this country, although it was popular in Europe.

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