The Butterstamp Hand-Held Receiver Story

 Presented by:
The Virginia Telephone Museum
Reference
Engineering and Science in the Bell System
The Early Years Vol. 1
Pioneer Reference Library on Site
713 E. Grace Street Richmond, Virginia  23218
(804) 772-1118
Open by Appointment Only.
E-mail:   vtmrva@wcast.info


Soon after Prof. A. Graham Bell's invention and patent, Bell was invited to deliver a series of lectures
explaining the telephone and demonstrating it in operation.  The first such lecture was in Lyceum Hall, Salem
on February 12, 1877.  Early in May of the same year, Bell delivered a series of three lectures in
 Chickering Hall in New York City.  Mr. Watson assisted Bell from a distance over telegraph lines
in New Jersey.  These lectures gave Bell his first monetary return from the telephone.

Mr. E. T. Holmes who operated a burglar-alarm system in Boston, became interested
in the telephone after seeing it demonstrated.  Holmes ordered several instruments from Bell.
All of the early telephone equipment for the Bell organization was built by Thomas Watson in the
Boston shop of Charles Williams, Jr., maker of telegraph instruments.

Watson's duties soon increased to the point where he could no longer build all the equipment needed.
A number of manufactures were engaged to help Williams including Western Electric Manufacturing
Company of Chicago.

This early period hand-held receiver was recovered out of storage in the Washington D. C. area
by volunteers of The Virginia Telephone Museum by invitation.  Buried amount old documents
and related telephone equipment, this and all other items were received by donation and transferred
to the museum in Richmond, Virginia.  While this hand-held receiver was not a rare butterstamp
receiver, it's simple construction and design suggest a rare transceiver, considering the other
items recovered at the same time and location in the 1877-1882 timeframe.
This receiver could have easily been made by Thomas Watson himself and put into service
in the Washington D. C. area.  There are no markings to suggest otherwise.

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