Hi Guys, A friend of mine who is a radio/comms technician down south from here sent me this YouTube video. It goes back to the 1970's when stuff was made by hand in the US. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not trying to stir anything up here, but watching this video, I can see the skill that went into building this sort of equipment, some of you here may in fact remember or have worked with this very gear.
Here is the video (which starts off with an intro).
Ironically, the White House is now served by an off-premise Nortel DMS office (a now-defunct Canadian company). Imagine that? I seriously doubt that the White House had any say in this matter though. Verizon has been using central office switches from Nortel and Siemens for quite some time in the Washington, DC market. I don't know of any new ESS deployments recently, especially since Lucent (formerly AT&T's manufacturing arm) is gone too.
John, Western Electric's Kearney works was known worldwide as the problem solving arm of the Bell System as well. While they had manufacturing facilities all over the country, W.E. couldn't do it all. No manufacturer can make every single component that is required to make their products. Kearney bridged that gap by lining up sub contractors to make these items, often in parts kits that consisted of their parts plus parts from outside sources. They devised "KS" numbers for these assemblies. Guess what the "K" stood for?
For example, they found it much more efficient to farm out some of the motorized components, such as interrupters (basically lamp flashers) to companies that specialized in the manufacturer of clocks. Western Electric (and the entire Bell System) demonstrated the ultimate in efficiency from the central office switch all the way down to the handset cord. Sadly, those days are gone.
Incidentally, everyone here has probably heard of Graybar Electric Supply. Did you know that the name was derived from the founders of Western Electric (Elisha Gray and Enos Barton)? Small world, huh?