Can anyone tell me what this thing is?

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  #1  
Old 12-15-07, 04:30 PM
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Can anyone tell me what this thing is?

<a href="http://img338.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ultreo001bv8.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/7744/ultreo001bv8.th.jpg" border="0" alt="Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us" /></a>

It is in my bathroom. My house was built in 1924. I disconnected the wires to it, but am hesitant to remove it unless I know what it is first. Telephone connection? Old doorbell? The wire gauge appears too small to be anything electrical. Can I just rip it out? It appears to have some type of fibrous backing rather than being a metal plate, which is what it looks like. Thanks for any help.
 
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Old 12-15-07, 05:45 PM
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Emergency call button???
 
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Old 12-15-07, 06:06 PM
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the round part at the bottom covered with paint, it looks like it may be a lamp holder. Any threaded openings that a light bulb would fit in behind all that paint? Maybe some sort of lens or such would attach to those upright pieces.

So, with that, it's either a lamp holder of some sort or a shower rod holder for some gal whose creative husband wanted her to leave, without a divorce.




(just kidding on that last suggestion)
 
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Old 12-15-07, 06:55 PM
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I wonder if it's a thermostat (what remains of it).
 
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Old 12-15-07, 07:20 PM
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I took some paint off of that big knob and there are no threads, it's just solid metal (or possibly brass - it seems a bit softer than steel since it dented easily when I hit it with the screwdriver). The 4 wires you see were attached to those 4 screws. Back says it was manufactured in 1919.

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Last edited by Spooksmcgee; 12-15-07 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 12-15-07, 08:05 PM
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http://www.crypto.com/photos/misc/wecolock/ has a device that is labeled B29 and is for phone locks, but it doesn't look like it is or connects to what you have. Is there a patent number on it or any other information? Has it always been "in the bathroom" or did this wall used to be in another room?
 
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Old 12-15-07, 08:26 PM
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well, I was going to look through patents for the thing. I took the date of 4/10/1917 to start. There were 807 patents issued with that date so I stopped there.

If you can find any other identifying means, there may be a way to refine the search but using the writing I can see, I could not find anything.
 
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Old 12-15-07, 08:53 PM
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Looks like possibly some sort of door buzzer.
 
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Old 12-15-07, 09:12 PM
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I don't understand why this would be in the bathroom. Has this house been remodeled? Could this wall have been part of another room as some point? What kind of people would have lived in the house when it was built?
 
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Old 12-15-07, 10:13 PM
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No, definitely always a bathroom. Could it have been for a telephone? The bottom cable is definitely a hot power wire, the other 4 wires are much thinner. I'm going to take a look on the outside of the house tomorrow since I think the cable runs out the back wall.
 
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Old 12-15-07, 10:21 PM
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It is an old carbon block telephone "protector". The two long "thingies" are fuses and the cap unscrews. Under the cap are two carbon blocks with an air gap between them. The incoming telephone wires (two conductors) connect at the upper end and the center bottom conductor is grounded, most likely to a cold water pipe. The two side connections go to the telephone set.
 
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Old 12-15-07, 10:55 PM
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does this mean you are old enough to have actually used one of these things Furd??
 
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Old 12-16-07, 12:46 AM
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i am leaning more to the POTS[plain old telephone system] lighting arrestor.

they used to be real common just about everywhere they ran the phone line in that era up all the way to late 50's maybe early 60's after that they change the whole thing.

one of our guys here i am not sure if he can get online or not but he is good with telephone system i think he will comment on that one as well.

Merci, Marc
 
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Old 12-16-07, 07:41 AM
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Looks alot like this. I think french277V is probably correct.

http://countryjoe.bizland.com/store/...protector.html

 
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Old 12-16-07, 10:54 AM
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Impressive

Good "old world" technology. Long, high voltage rated fuses, replaceable shunt carbon element. Ceramic base. And this is to protect non-electronic telephones (and to some degree humans) at the time!
 
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Old 12-16-07, 11:16 AM
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Thanks a lot for the replies guys, glad to finally know what it is!
 
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