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Looking to identify a Gamewell fire alarm box

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  • Looking to identify a Gamewell fire alarm box

    What's up...

    I found at a recent fire muster a pretty decent looking Gamewell street alarm box that I bought for history's sake and to display at home. What I'm wondering is if there is some way to identify where the box was in service, and when?

    The box number is still on the front (can't remember it just now), but did certain boxes in certain cities have distinguishing characteristics that might make this piece of history identifiable?

    Thanks; be safe....
    My opinions only.

    AGS-SGA 091101

  • #2
    It's difficult at best to determine what city/municipality a box came from. If you know who you bought it from, perhaps they may know where it came from???

    Also, using the box number itself, try municipalities around you (I see you are from Columbus Oh..) and see if they had gamewell systems, and if they had that number??

    There is a really good book about street boxes by Paul C. Ditzel called FIRE ALARM! Paul is a renowned west coast fire buff. I have a copy, but I understand it has been out of print for some time and they are hard to get a hold of.

    Also you might try the forums on www.youngstownfire.com
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    • #3
      Originally posted by DaFAO View Post
      What's up...

      I found at a recent fire muster a pretty decent looking Gamewell street alarm box that I bought for history's sake and to display at home. What I'm wondering is if there is some way to identify where the box was in service, and when?

      The box number is still on the front (can't remember it just now), but did certain boxes in certain cities have distinguishing characteristics that might make this piece of history identifiable?

      Thanks; be safe....


      Right now, nothing is up!


      Inside the box should be a serial number. There are clubs, that have records on fire boxes, makers, owners, locations, etc.

      You may want to try googling that subject......
      Stay Safe and Well Out There....

      Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
        Right now, nothing is up!


        Inside the box should be a serial number. There are clubs, that have records on fire boxes, makers, owners, locations, etc.

        You may want to try googling that subject......
        Hadn't considered the serial number. Will give it a shot. Thanks!
        My opinions only.

        AGS-SGA 091101

        Comment


        • #5
          Its a shame about fire alarm boxes, such a good system, but with a couple of big flaws.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by nameless View Post
            Its a shame about fire alarm boxes, such a good system, but with a couple of big flaws.
            They were the right technology for the time. Time has passed them by.
            Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

            Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

            Comment


            • #7
              You need to contact Dave Houseal and his buddies at the Fire Museum in Harrisburg, PA. They are somewhat Gamewell aficionados.
              ~Drew
              Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
              USAR TF Rescue Specialist

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                They were the right technology for the time. Time has passed them by.
                I disagree with that statement. We still have them and I've used them myself a few times. The City of Boston claims they are archaic and yet they're installing Police Call Boxes around the city.
                Attached Files

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                  They were the right technology for the time. Time has passed them by.

                  The fact that time has passed them by is what gives them new use today. We have seen multiple times how the heavily computer based modern communication systems have failed. When everything else went down, the pull boxes kept working.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nameless View Post
                    The fact that time has passed them by is what gives them new use today. We have seen multiple times how the heavily computer based modern communication systems have failed. When everything else went down, the pull boxes kept working.
                    I won't disagree. It's their simplicity that makes them beautiful in that respect.

                    Maintenance costs notwithstanding, I seem to recall that one reason they've come out in some places is because their usage dropped with the advent of a phone in every house, something that didn't exist when pull boxes first hit the street.

                    Cell phones have probably help solidify those decisions.

                    The boxes also served as fire department communications. I've heard of aides being sent to pull boxes several blocks from a scene so the run cards would bring in different companies.

                    Despite the well-publicized failures of our modern systems from time to time, our current systems do pretty well.

                    I still see voice callboxes in various places. Usually they are a local effort - like a parking garage at an airport or a college campus - where the calls are fielded by local security personnel, not a central alarm office.
                    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Downtown Emmaus, Pa. still has an active Gamewell system.
                      "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                        They were the right technology for the time. Time has passed them by.
                        Vehemently disagree.
                        FTM - BTB - KTF

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally Posted by tree68 They were the right technology for the time. Time has passed them by.
                          Originally posted by NY911Bowhunter View Post
                          Vehemently disagree.
                          My city used to have a hardwired fire alarm system. In the mid 1980's the system reached its capacity and the City went with radio boxes and central station monitoring and phased out the hardwired system. There is nothing like hearing the sound of the old tapper and bells signaling an alarm... it's like music to one's ears!

                          FHJ718...

                          Go figure. the "powers that be" state the fire alarm box system is archaic and isn't needed because of cell phones.. yet the BPD can get away with making new instalations of their own systems....
                          ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                          Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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                          • #14
                            I've been at a few fires where we got the box and had the fire out before the alarm company called to report the alarm. I'd say they're just as good today as they were in the past. We still use them and require that they be installed on new buildings. If I owned a building I'd definitely have a box installed on top of central station monitoring.

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