We specialize in reanimating and restoring electrical antiques and antique electrical devices, returning them to displayable functionality. This is done by adding any necessary power supplies and creating custom control electronics which emulates the outside world that the device was originally connected to. We can also create custom control circuitry using micro controllers to cause the device to perform whatever actions the user desires.
Typical candidates for revitalization include nautical engine telegraphs, ship controls, fire alarm and police call boxes, "quack" medical devices, and the like.
This work is done by Telford Dorr, an electrical engineer with 40 years of experience in electronics, industrial automation and controls, in Encinitas, California.
We design and implement custom circuitry and fabricate custom sheet metal enclosures to contain it. We also have welding, brazing, and light machine shop capabilities to support our efforts. Click on any picture below to enlarge.
As a restoration example, the pictures above and below show a Harrington Signal Company telegraphing fire alarm call box from the early part of the last century. These were typically mounted on poles and allowed the local population to report fires and summon fire fighting services. This was done by lifting the white cover door and pulling the handle down, which triggered the internal telegraph mechanism to send the box location code to the central office. Also inside is a telegraph key and sounder bell to allow fire fighting personnel communication with central dispatch (this was the age before two-way radio, remember).
Now, when the handle is pulled, the device flashes a red lamp mounted above the call box with the telegraph code for the box.
When the box is opened, you may operate the telegraph key and hear the bell sound.
The picture below shows the custom mounting tray fabricated to hold the control circuitry, under construction. This tray hides inside the upper head of the call box, out of sight and away from contact with the user.
Because the original circuitry of the call box was exposed, the new control wiring is done using low voltage methods so that contact with it is safe, allowing the user to enjoy operating the box without fear of electrical shock. As the new indicator lamp is a standard 120 volt AC bulb, custom optically isolated circuitry was created to interface with it, maintaining the safety of the low voltage circuitry.
The picture below shows the hidden custom circuitry tray mounted in the device head.
The reanimated call box is connected to wall power via a standard three prong power cord. All metal areas of the box are bonded to ground as required by the National Electrical Code.