Original German WWI Imperial German ArmeeFernsprecher Alter Art Model 1905 Trench Phone Receiver

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. In modern warfare communication is an essential part of command and control. From the end of the 19th century, technology started to play an increasingly important role in battlefield communication. By the First World War, extensive use was being made of wire communication and the first –relatively primitive- mobile radio stations came into being.

The development of field telephone equipment started in the late 19th century and by the time of the First World War the basic design features of field telephones were well established with the ArmeeFernsprecher Alter Art and the later FF 16 and 17 models. “FF” stands for “Feld Fernsprecher” or field telephone. These telephones were locally powered by a battery (this mode of operation was called “OB” or “Ortsbatterie Betreib”).

Locally powered networks were commonplace during the early years of the telephone but in the beginning of the 20th century, public networks increasingly used central powered systems (the power for the microphones is provided over the phone line from a central power supply. In Germany this was called a “Zentralbatterie Betrieb” (ZB) system. For field use however, locally powered telephones remained the norm of many years.

Telephones had been added in the early 1880’s and by the time the First World War started, they were the primary source of communication for the field army. As the war progressed various models were introduced, including civilian patterns, which the army was to adopt.

This example here is one of the three main patterns of handsets for those devices. In 1914 the Armeefernsprecher a.A. (alter Art) was in use. It has an aluminum frame, rounded handle and a pressed felt pad covering the listening disk. Early versions had a hard leather speaking cup, which was transitioned to a steel version like this example has. It was used in conjunction with the Feldfernsprecher a.A. (telephone box) and the Armeesprechbatterie a.A. (battery box). This handset had a black leather carrying case with an over the shoulder strap. Unfortunately the original carry case has been lost to time and is no longer with this example.

During WWI the German Imperial Army used two principally different lines of field telephones for its infantry units. A fairly heavy Feldfernsprecher or "Field Telephones" were in use by signalers in the 2nd and 3rd line positions or at headquarters while each infantry regiment in the front line was equipped by several more lightweight Armeefernsprechgerät or "Army Field Telephones".

On top of the push-to-talk key, "Armeefernsprechgerät alter Art" has two round shaped keys, one at each side of the telephone body. White key on the right side was Calling Button (Summerknopf) while black key on the left side allowed to increase temporarily, the strength of incoming signals. All 3 buttons are present and still function in the sense of being able to be pressed.

Truly a wonderful example of an early source of communication equipment. Comes ready to display!

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