Crank Magneto Telephone 

Manufacture Period: c. 1909

This is a crank magneto telephone; telephone magneto technology was in use since the late 19th century and found continued use into the 1950s due to slow development in Canadian rural areas — an issue we continue to see with high-speed internet access. This model uses 5 bars, with the manual crank capable of creating 50 to 100 volts of electricity. This energy was then capable of traveling on an installed telephone line where electrical signal would ring the bells on another phone within the system – although anyone on the line could listen in to these conversations. This particular unit was produced out of 18-20 Duncan St. Toronto in 1909 and likely was used in one of the rural communities of Ontario.  

The Canadian Independent Telephone Company was founded in the early 20th century by William Woods of Hamilton, ON. The company was founded to serve the growing amount of independent telephone carriers, located primarily in more rural areas of Canada. These smaller companies would pop up to prove the convenience of telephones in communities that monopolies like Bell overlooked for the sake of profit. The Canadian Independent Telephone Company was an assembler of telephone technologies such as: telephones, switchboards and other materials to start up these local telephone companies across the country. One of their manufacturing plants was at 18-20 Duncan St. Toronto, and this location façade is still standing as a Thai restaurant. The company would later merge with Canadian Machine Telephone Co. Before branching out into radio technology development in 1920.  This joint radio production venture even once employed Ted Rogers, notable inventor of battery-less radio and founder of the company which would later become Rogers-Majestic. Canadian Independent Telephone Co. defaulted on loans in 1924 and fell into receivership by Bell in 1925.

Manufactured in Toronto
On loan from Prof. Allan Thompson

Friday, March 3, 2023 in
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