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#152001 - 08/23/03 09:40 PM Fire Alarm System
Admin Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3417
Loc: NY, USA

This Fire Alarm system was in a large Boston Church, 12 or 14 floors, 6 or 8 of them offices and residences, a coworker installed the replacement.

I guess this building to be from late 40s early 50s maybe someone here can date the equipment better than I can.

In the basement there is a maintenance room that still has some of the overstock from the original build out.

Brand new in the box porcelain(?) Arrow Hart single, double, 3-way and 4 way switches, the kind you can see the workings through the front.

The manual pull stations are like little master boxes, I had never seen that before, from what I could guess each pull station would ring the bells to that box number, there were still legends on the walls that told where each box number was.

It also looks like you could plug in communications into the Pull stations.

I should have gotten a picture of the bells, 10" to 12" chrome bell with a large external chrome clapper.

This buildings wiring system is in great shape, large brass control panels around the building are still in use controlling ventilation systems and lighting.

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#152002 - 08/25/03 03:49 PM Re: Fire Alarm System
pauluk Offline
Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7520
Loc: Norfolk, England
It's kind of sad to see equipment like this that's given decades of realiable service pulled out.

Did you manage to salvage some of this old stuff?
#152003 - 08/25/03 04:18 PM Re: Fire Alarm System
George Corron Offline
Registered: 05/16/01
Posts: 717
Loc: Lorton, Va USA
'pears to be an old coded system, each probably has three wheels to give something like a 3-1-5 ring depending on what floor, tier, and section you were in, good reliable stuff. Comm is possible, but check outside the elevators for keys and phone sets.

Need to hire an old geeze who knows how to install 'em?
#152004 - 08/25/03 04:40 PM Re: Fire Alarm System
iwire Offline
Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4391
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
George I would like to hear anything you know about this equipment.

I may have been mistaken on the comm.

There is a 1/4" jack on the front (picture 5) labeled "General Gongs" do you know what that did?

The manual pull station I have (the only part I have Paul ) is station 2-2.

The craftsmanship of these units is unbelievable, I will try to remove the plastic cover and send a better shot of the mechanism.

For those that are not familiar with the old type master box, they are the "Shed shaped fire alarm boxes on the side of buildings.

Inside was basically a telegraph system that the key was pushed by a rotating wheel with bumps corresponding to the box number.

These old style boxes are very reliable, and could get a signal back to the fire station even with parts of the telegraph loop open.
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
#152005 - 08/25/03 06:23 PM Re: Fire Alarm System
ThinkGood Offline
Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1081
Loc: Milwaukee, WI

I remember those old pull boxes from when I was in first grade. The fire department would send somebody to speak to us in school so we would know how to report a fire and about the seriousness of false alarms.

What I was never able to figure out, at the age of 6 years, was how I would be able to reach the thing if I needed to.
#152006 - 08/25/03 08:38 PM Re: Fire Alarm System
George Corron Offline
Registered: 05/16/01
Posts: 717
Loc: Lorton, Va USA
The 1/4" jack is likely the old test port, for when you did not want to disturb tenants, but needed to test for Fire Marshall.

Edwards made the exact same system, as did Simplex, unfortunately, I threw skads of tech manuals away a few years ago in a throwing fit. I may still have some of it though.

I'm nearly certain I have some stuff on your master station, they were called "McCullough Loops" and were nearly bomb proof. I'll look it up tomorrow night, or maybe during the day sometime.

Wife's birthday tonight, Daughter and boyfriend took us to dinner........ I mostly noticed the duct detector light and switches on the ceiling were covered over, the Exit lights were not operational, and a piece of lamp cord running to a hidden fixture..... don't remember what I had for dinner.
#152007 - 08/28/03 03:58 AM Re: Fire Alarm System
electure Offline

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4259
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
I'd personally feel much more comfortable with an alarm system of this type rather than a new high-tech electronic model.
George, I'm afraid your diagnosis must be that of "terminal electricianitis" ...S
#152008 - 08/28/03 09:22 AM Re: Fire Alarm System
SvenNYC Offline
Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1691
Loc: New York City
That "pull hook" box was pretty common at one point - I used to see them a lot during my high school days and visits to government office buildings. Is this style still made?

I also remember the much older house-shaped "break glass" boxes similar to the one further down. I think there were also smaller types made. Naturally I thought the small square "pull hook" boxes were state of the art (1980s-early 1990s?).

The one at work is a "pull hook" but the box is smaller (probably fits into a single gang) and there's no cover, just a little lever you pull down that is attached to a slightly recessed faceplate. Like this one, except the pull handle looks like an upended spoon instead of a tee:

I've got some mixed opinions regarding whether the hook should be protected by a door or not.

I feel like such an old geezer now....

I also still see these every so often -- they look kind of old fashioned (cosmetically speaking) with the glass rod.

[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 08-28-2003).]
#152009 - 10/14/03 04:55 PM Re: Fire Alarm System
codeenforcementguy Offline
Registered: 08/27/03
Posts: 29
Loc: Yuma, Arizona USA
Most of the pictures submitted appear to be of modern pulls, so I guess you are going to make me dig into my storage and get some of the old stuff that I have tucked away. I pulled out a 110 volt fire pull from a school when I was attached to the proving ground .. no one could find a replacement break glass. I will get some photos to joe. ERFERTT
#152010 - 10/16/03 06:44 PM Re: Fire Alarm System
wa2ise Offline
Registered: 11/29/02
Posts: 782
Loc: Oradell NJ USA
SvenNYC, it depends on the enviroment the pull box is located. College dorms are notorous for false alarms. But when they installed metal and glass boxes over the pull boxes, false alarms were much decreased. Possibly the extra step of having to break the glass window with the attached hammer was enough to put off a prankster. The extra time might let him get caught. State law said a year in jail for pulling a false alarm.
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