Benjamin Electric MFG Co., est. 1901

Museum Artifact: Industrial Signal Horn Siren, 1920s

Made By: Benjamin Electric MFG Co., 120-128 S. Sangamon St., Chicago, IL and Des Plaines, IL

“The clear, powerful tones of Benjamin Signals are preventing lost calls, lost time, and costly interruptions the country over. To the farthermost corners of the greatest plants they shout the call for attention, finding the wanted man wherever he may be.

Automatic Electric Company, est. 1901

Museum Artifact: Monophone 1A – Desktop Rotary Telephone, c. 1930s

Made By: Automatic Electric Company, 1001 W. Van Buren St., Chicago, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Co., est. 1897

Museum Artifact: Kellogg Redbar 1000 Series Masterphone, 1952

Made By: Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Co., 6650 S. Cicero Ave., Chicago, IL

Widely promoted during the Kellogg Switchboard & Supply Company’s 50th anniversary in 1947, the 1000 Series “Redbar” Masterphone—like the one in our collection—is a bit of a postwar icon. It might not have the rich oak exterior of an early box phone or the brass shimmer of an old candlestick model,

Swedish-American Telephone Co., est. 1899

Museum Artifact: “Hercules” Telephone Box, c. 1908

Made By: Swedish-American Telephone Co., 5235 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL

There aren’t a lot of Swedish things left in Chicago’s original Swedish neighborhood these days. In just the past few years, Andersonville has lost its beloved Swedish Bakery, along with Ann Sather’s restaurant, Erickson Jewelers, Erickson’s Deli (no relation), and even the old iconic neighborhood water tower—painted for decades in the blue and gold of the Motherland (a facsimile has since been installed).

Chicago Telephone Supply Co., est. 1896

Museum Artifact: Wood Wall Telephone, c. 1905

Made By: Chicago Telephone Supply Co., 28 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL. Relocated to Elkhart, IN, in 1902

In the August 1900 issue of everybody’s favorite McKinley-era trade publication, Telephone Magazine, the Chicago Telephone Supply Company is referred to as “one of the oldest of independent factories, manufacturing everything that enters into the production of Chicago telephones,

Western Electric Co., est. 1869

Museum Artifact: Western Electric Model 500 Phone, 1960

Made By: Western Electric Co., Hawthorne Works, 22nd St. and Cicero Ave, Cicero, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.