Not a Typewriter

When I ripped out a framed wall in the basement, I found a porcelain fixture on the wall. This is what it looks like, front and back:

The wires had already been cut, although there are three wires hooked to the top (I’m assuming that one is a ground) and two wires hooked to the bottom. The reddish “bars,” which are hollow, but with something inside of them, appear to conduct current from the top wires to the bottom (or vice-versa).

Right above the circular part (which is threaded), you can barely make out the words “Western Electric” raised on the porcelain.

The back side seems to have an “E” shaped depression and two other square depressions that are filled with a waxy substance.

And now for the thirty-seven dollar question:

Just what in the heck is this? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

One Response to “Not a Typewriter”

  1. Mark Says:

    This is what we today call a Network Interface Device for the phone system. It would be installed between the phone companys wire and your house wire (which back then was their wire too!). The purpose was to stop lightening surges from traveling into the house wires. The reddish bars are actually a type of fuse that would blow if too much current tried to flow through it. Hope this is helpful. Nice site.

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