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About the collection at the Science Museum, London

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The Science Museum in London is the home of an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical change since the eighteenth century.

As part of the BT vision for a distributed national telecommunications heritage collection, the Science Museum will expand its collections and consequent storytelling capacity in relation to the place of communications in the broad context of the Museum's core subject areas.

Additionally Connected Earth has funded a three year research post to extend knowledge and scholarship in telecommunications history.

News from the Science Museum, London.

3D objects from Science Museum

Place the mouse over the Flash image. Left-click and drag either left or right to rotate the animation.
   
Valve heater transformer

Colossus is regarded by many as being the worlds first electronic computer. It was developed in Britain in great secrecy during the Second World War, but soon after the end of the war all the Colossus machines were deliberately destroyed. This transformer, now on display in the Science Museum's Computing gallery, is reputed to be a rare surviving component from a Colossus.

   
Telesonic Lorgnette

Made by A & M Hearing Aids Ltd, this is a hand-held radio receiver and earphone intended for receiving signals from a low-powered transmitter. Similar examples were used experimentally at the Science Museum, London, in 1961 for providing personal audio commentaries in the Museums galleries.

   
Submarine telegraph cable

This is a portion of the cable laid across the River Medina, Isle of Wight, in about 1878. It is believed to have been used in A G Bells telephone demonstration to Queen Victoria in January 1878 when connexion was established between Osborne House, Osborne Cottage and Cowes. The cable was recovered in 1977.

   
School telephone

Pairs of these specially-designed telephone sets were taken around schools and colleges in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s to demonstrate the principles of the telephone to students.

   
Portable double-needle telegraph, 1850

Used by telegraph linemen for sending messages and testing circuits. It is worked by two pairs of press buttons placed at the back of the case. When the instrument is required to work as a galvonometer a lever inside the case withdraws the needle stops, allowing the needles to deflect fully.

   
John Gaveys ring transformer

In the 1890s Gavey was assistant to W H Preece, engineer-in-chief of the Post Office. He designed this transformer for use with Preeces experiments in wireless telegraphy and telephony by means of conduction and electromagnetic induction.

   
Cookes portable double-needle telegraph

This dates from 1838 and forms part of W F Cookes earliest design of an electric telegraph system for railway use. It was intended to be carried in trains and to be used in emergencies, when it would be plugged in to a lineside junction box.

   
Box telephone, c1877

One of the earliest designs of telephone designed by A G Bell to be brought into practical use. This was the version for mounting on a wall, but it lacks the mouthpiece, which would have been inserted into the hole in the box.

Visitor information

The Science Museum location map

Telephone: 0870 870 4771
Email: Please refer to website below
Website: www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

Postal Address:
The Science Museum
Exhibition Road
South Kensington  
London  
SW7 2DD
United Kingdom

Directions

The main entrance to the Science Museum is on Exhibition Road in Kensington.

The nearest underground station is South Kensington and the museum is clearly signposted from the station.

Bus services 9, 14, 10, 49, 52, 74, 345, C1 stop nearby.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...