Antique Telephones > Charles Williams Jr. > 1878 'Coffin'

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  • Model: 'coffin' telephone
  • Made by: Bell Telephone/Charles Williams
  • From: 1878
  • Courtesy of: Tom Adams
bell telephone early wood coffin phone manufactured by charles williams jr.

Photo courtesy Tom Adams


This was one of the first commercially available phones. Alexander Graham Bell had his laboratory at 109 Court Street in Boston, in a building occupied by Charles Williams, a contract manufacturer of telegraph and other electrical equipment. It was here that he and his assistant made the first working telephone ('Watson, come here'). Later Bell contracted with Williams and other companies to make greater volumes of the devices, such as this early 'coffin' model. This is the 1878 model with the 'slide manual switch,' and could be used with either one or two receivers.


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