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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

At first sight this might seem like an odd item to include in the artefacts which will in due time be on display in the exhibition area of the Heritage Trust building at Pentre. This is no ordinary exchange unit but was that installed for many years at the Armstrong Siddeley factory at Parkside, Coventry.

This type of manual telephone exchange manufactured by the National Telephone Company was first introduced in 1900, so this could be the original which covers the life of the factory.

As a display, complete with period chair and suitably dressed mannequin wearing the head set, it should evoke memories for many and educate others.

The first picture shows the working face of the unit and the second features the card index listing all exchanges while the plastic card on the right of this shows the updated international exchanges on one side and the world time zones on the other.

Imagine the messages which must have passed through these lines. Confirmation of orders which gave job security to the workers and profit to the company. News of war time tragedies and eventual victory celebrations, along with important departmental decisions and the trivia of daily life.

Could this exchange be made to work again?

Probably, but we are not so sure about the mannequin.


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