Double Headphone Telephone Attachment Box

Many early items of radio communications gear were quite fragile. Although the outer casings were made of chunky bakelite, the interior components such as microphone diaphragms and speaker units were susceptible to damage. When not in use they needed to be protected, especially when being carried in the field or on a vehicle where they could be knocked, dropped or otherwise damaged. Specialist carry boxes were produced for these items and it is one of these we are looking at today:

This box would have held both a set of headphones and a chest mounted microphone and it is one of a number of designs in use with the military during and immediately after the Second World War, other examples being made of wood but of the same simple pattern.

The box is fitted with a hinged lid that opens to allow the headphones and microphone to be taken in and out:

The lid secures with a rotating hook fastener and beneath this the box’s contents and a stores code are stencilled in black:

This particular box has what I believe to be a date stamped into one side of the box for 1951:

The headphones and chest microphone were fitted with a four pin plug to allow it to replace the handset on a field telephone, or more likely to allow it to be used with a portable field telephone exchange. The microphone had a system inside that automatically switched it off when pushed away from the mouth to allow better hands free operation when manning a switchboard:

Sadly I do not yet have the headphones and microphone combination yet, however it is another thing on my list to look out for now!

One comment

  1. PX is the supplier code for Phoenix Telephone and Electrical Ltd, London NW9. There are various different versions of that setup, one with a very thick jack plug instead of the shown “Plug 406”. The microphone (Transmitter, Breast No.1) can be disconnected and a respirator microphone connected in its place. It can be used with a variety of switchboards (Universal Call, F&F and larger ones, also field telephones (F & L), and there was a Bomb Disposal operator’s unit that attached to the breast set, had a body strap to keep it in position and was powered by a cycle lamp battery for hands-free use).

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