Gamewell Fire Alarm Bell

Early Electric Bell

This electrically operated gong was part of an early fire alarm telegraph system.  Though it isn't marked, I believe it was made by the Gamewell Company.  This company has been the preeminent supplier of fire alarm equipment throughout the late 19th Century, and the entire 20th Century, and it remains as such today.

This device is known to collectors as an "umbrella tapper", and was used with the Gamewell receiver, to alert fire fighters to an incoming alarm.

The post supporting the bell could be installed in either of two positions.  This allowed the bell to be struck either when voltage was applied to the coils, or when voltage was removed.  It allowed for only one strike per cycle.  The oak base measures about 9 by 5 inches, and it is 8 inches high.  The bell is 4 1/2 inches in diameter.  As was normal in its day, there were multiple adjustments allowing sensitivity and loudness to be varied. 

Early Electric Bell