Telephones were being used aboard ship and on shore in ever-increasing numbers during this period. The British, who approached these things from the standpoint of the Torpedo men who would have to maintain the phones, saw fit to split the definition into two types: telephones suitable for working over long range circuits, and those limited to service over the short distances one might find on board a ship.
The shorter-range telephones were called "loud-speaking telephones" until around 1902, when a lighter and more compact design series was dubbed navyphones. The other type continued to be called telephones and will be covered here.
Miscellaneous British Telephones
In 1881, the British found the original Bell telephone and a Gower-Bell loudspeaking telephone were "constantly in use."
The metaphone was a minor type of telephone used in some Royal Navy ships before and possibly during World War I. It was deemed unsuitable for use with motor generators when tested at Vernon. They worked with battery supply.
Mention is made in 1906 of metaphone use being extended to provide two pairs to all 2nd and 3rd class cruisers and scouts for use as their commanders saw fit over existing bell circuits. In the same year, it was also noted that these had been supplied so that each ship with an admiral or commodore would have three pairs, and two pairs to all battleships, cruisers and scouts.
Like the metaphone, Little Geeko from G.E.C. was a minor type of telephone possibly used in some Royal Navy ships before and possibly during World War I. Though they were found to be superior to the similar metaphone, it was deemed unsuitable for use with motor generators when tested at Vernon. They worked with battery supply.
British Mining and Range Telephones
The British Torpedo Drill Book, 1912 called some of its long-range telephones range telephones because using them at a gunnery range was a common application (to connect firing and impact positions, perhaps).
Wentworth Mining Telephone Patt. 1684
The transmitter microphone was "Hunning's cone type" and seems to have been fixed into place in the front of the chassis, which also contained 3 dry cell batteries and an induction buzzer. The receiver ("double pole Service pattern") was the classic old bakelite cylinder on a cord, hanging on a hook on a rocking switch which powered up the line when lifted in answer. A small key switch (like a small telegraph key) was there to ring the buzzer at the both the local and remote station loud enough to be heard "at a considerable distance". The local ring was a means of testing the soundness of the call-up circuit.
In event of a battery failure, it's noted that a temporary substitution of two Patt. 1451 wet cells could be made.
Bisley Range Telephone
It had two dry cells "in the primary" (which may mean just one of the two phones), and an induction coil which seemingly functioned to help overcome attenuation over a long connection. The transmitter was a Hunning's cone type fitted to the chassis, and an "Ader type" receiver (an oddly stubby little bit compared to that in the Wentworth phone) which hung on a hook switch.
Calling up was by manually spinning a magneto generator which caused induction coils at both stations to drum between two hemispherical bells (a new pattern is alluded to in which only the remote station's bells would be rung). This same rough model must be familiar to most people who have seen an old movie. The magneto and bell seem external from the phone chassis, and may have had their own little box.
Kettlewell Range Telephone
This is described as an improved type of Bisley phone which could be hooked by 3 wires to the "National" telephone used on shore or could be used in conjunction with a Bisley. I suppose this means it was interoperable with the civil model telephones being deployed in Britain. It had a magneto handle, battery, transmitter, receiver and a bell.
It was developed by a Lieutenant Kettlewell, and Vernon found it superior to a model offered by a Lieutenant Brockman. It was the same size as the Bisley phone, and similar circuitry but a more powerful magneto and a combined transmitter/receiver handset. In 1909, it was decided to standardise upon this phone for future use.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1881. p. 109.
- N.S. 2209/4400 2nd April 1906. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1906, p. 77.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1906. p. 5.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1906. p. 77.
- Torpedo Drill Book, 1914, pp. 253-6.
- Torpedo Drill Book, 1914, pp. 256-7.
- Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1909. pp. 68-70.
- H.M.S.O., London Torpedo Drill Book, 1905 (Corrected to December, 1904). Copy in Tony Lovell's library.
- H.M.S.O., London Torpedo Drill Book, 1908 (Corrected to December, 1907). Copy in Tony Lovell's library.
- H.M.S.O., London Torpedo Drill Book, 1912 (Corrected to April, 1912). Copy in Tony Lovell's library.
- H.M.S.O., London (1914). Torpedo Drill Book, 1914 (Corrected to May 15) Copy in Tony Lovell's library.
- H.M.S. Vernon. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1906, with Appendix (Wireless Telegraphy). Copy 46 at The National Archives. ADM 189/26.
- H.M.S. Vernon. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1909, with Appendix (Wireless Telegraphy). Copy 7 at The National Archives. ADM 189/29.