Author Topic: NYC FIRE ALARM BOXES.  (Read 24758 times)

Offline 68jk09

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Re: NYC FIRE ALARM BOXES.
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2016, 06:30:41 AM »

Offline wolff

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Re: NYC FIRE ALARM BOXES.
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2016, 10:48:27 PM »
I had contacted that guy a few days ago to correct his wording, he had the usual "rare" and "1800s" in his listing, both completely false and I filled him on on the real age etc.
I can't imagine anyone needing one of these for a restoration since it's highly unlikely one would just be missing and that someone would have the entire pedestal but missing a torch. There's also some that never had a torch to begin with and were made that way, and there's no provision for one in the casting. Other than an interesting item to stick on a bookshelf I can't see the value of just the torch by itself.

A casting like this would be  easy enough to reproduce in grey iron, don't be surprised if knock-offs made in China start showing up claimed to be antiques that were sandblasted to remove the paint they never had, and wet down to add some rust to make them look more authentic.

There was even a brass Gamewell key tag that sold for an absolutely crazy amount around $475 a few days ago, and I was looking at that and thinking someone with an engraving machine could easily reproduce that, give it some chemical patina to make it look aged, and try selling them as antiques.

His $495 price was nothing compared to the  insane $975 price on one that has been sitting on a web site for years unsold and claimed to "might be from Gamewell"...
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 10:52:32 PM by wolff »

Offline 68jk09

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Re: NYC FIRE ALARM BOXES.
« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2016, 04:02:21 AM »
On this one not talking about the price but a little history ....this is a "Spade Handle No Guard" meaning that any miscreant walking by only had to reach over & "Pull The Box" transmitting an Alarm....the small version of the 1st to 5th Alarm assignment was originally used by the Member transmitting a further Special Call for more Units or an additional Alarm by using the telegraph key inside the box......on the more basic level when a "Pull Box" like this was recd the Officer back then (as opposed to the Jr FF later on) was the one to open the Box & rewind it....back then the Officer after rewinding the Box would via the Dept Radio tell the Dispatcher it was a 92 & that it was a "Spade Handle/No Guard" & the Police Precint it was located in....this info would later result in adding the additional Guard to the door so that anyone passing by would have to actually stand there & lift the guard then pull the handle down (which may or may not have stopped too many false alarms).....this is not to be confused w/a Double Action Box which has been previously discussed where there was a turn handle that would ring an audible bell sound to alert anyone nearby but would not transmit an Alarm to the Dispatcher until the door was opened & the inner hook was "Pulled Down"  these were retrofitted w/a "Spade Handle W/Guard in later years.....unfortunately the remaing workhorses of these Life Saving Boxes have not always been maintained.....   http://www.ebay.com/itm/FDNY-OBrien-Fire-Alarm-Telegraph-Box-not-Gamewell/331830147912?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D0c35f9d733f74f9e976567a69773f209%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D331830147912
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 03:41:18 PM by 68jk09 »

Offline wolff

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Re: NYC FIRE ALARM BOXES.
« Reply #33 on: April 16, 2016, 01:44:25 AM »
The whole guard thing was a half baked idea from the get-go and didn't seem to stem the flow of false alarms either

Quote
.this is not to be confused w/a Double Action Box which has been previously discussed where there was a turn handle that would ring an audible bell sound to alert anyone nearby but would not transmit an Alarm to the Dispatcher until the door was opened & the inner hook was "Pulled Down"  these were retrofitted w/a "Spade Handle W/Guard in later years.....unfortunately the remaing workhorses of these Life Saving Boxes have not always been maintained.

Most of the single action doors had a bell and windup mechanism that did the same thing, but automatically and after the inner box lever was actuated by the external spade handle, but I gather that poor adjustments and people would partially pull the spade handle down and that would sometimes activate the local door bell but not the internal telegraph mechanism before they let go, so those bells and windup mechanisms were mostly removed, so you'd see a lot of the boxes having doors where those were missing.

I think the street lamp post mounted aluminum "O'Brien" boxes always had the single action doors since they were newer- most seemed to be from the 50s and later but the aluminum shell design and the door do appear in a Faraday/Stanley & Patterson catalogue from 1928 described as "standard NYC pattern" available in cast iron or aluminum, though I've never heard of one of those in cast iron and have only seen the aluminum version which was priced $30 more at $345 each

They are illustrated in the catalogue having an unguarded spade handle door, so that dates both the box, and  the door with unguarded spade handle and local bell to at least before 1928 but probably not very much earlier than then.

Interesting thing is, you can see inner boxes by Horni and others with instructions to pull the handle down, and others that have no instructions, since Horni was basically defunct by 1946 when the Horni brothers were indicted for fraud the inner boxes have the instructions which  since they had a contract to supply 1024  boxes to the city in 1930- indicates they were in the VF pedestals etc that had double action doors.
I wonder when the city removed those double action doors, I'm thinking it was mostly done by the late 30s since the design had that big flaw due to people not reading instructions and after hearing that local bell ringing- letting go of the handle before even opening the door.

I saw that complete box on Ebay, I bought one like it last year in better condition for the same $1200, and it has the porcelain lightning arrestor with fuses  too and came with the key but I swopped the door out for a guarded spade handle type door which I like better.

You don't find the arrestor and fuses, this is only the 2nd one I've ever seen, I would have bought it if I didn't already have 5 of the things!

Did you see this one, some guy repainted this excelsior box and he tried making it look old by spritzing flat black spray paint on it or  used an air brush and black paint LOL: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gamewell-Fire-Alarm-Company-Cast-Iron-Slant-Fist-Excelsior-Fire-Alarm-Box/252353080576?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D36213%26meid%3D34edca817d1649008730ba62227c474b%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D331830147912



« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 01:52:21 AM by wolff »


Offline wolff

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Re: NYC FIRE ALARM BOXES.
« Reply #35 on: April 16, 2016, 08:26:02 PM »
Yeah I saw that one when it was listed, if I had a spare $4 grand right now I'd buy it, though I see a couple of minor issues with it, one is it apparently has no internal guts or they would have shown them, the other is that it needs door hinges which explains why the guy has his hand on the door in the photos, the guarded door has the newer 2 holes per hinge bolt pattern but the box itself almost certainly has the 3 hole pattern and the holes don't line up at all,  so if one wanted to use the door that comes with it they'd have to dink around with trying to machine holes that line up after maybe filling the existing holes on the door with braze if it's cast-iron, and that's after trying to find a set of hinges.

Quote
Item condition:
Used
“Just need a set of hinges for door”   

Famous last words! sure, just go to the local hardware store, I'm sure they have a whole bin full of these hinges!  it's like the sellers who  write: "it's in perfect condition!!!  (except for the missing parts and the crack, or break etc the seller says is an "easy fix") "needs a crack fixed on it (or something like that they say) which means it's NOT in "perfect" condition after all :)
They don't make hinges like these today, they are extremely thick cast and machined brass, not like the junk they make today.


I ran into that kind of issue on my pedestal and I was in fact going to mill a couple of new replica brass hinges from bar stock and bought the brass bar stock to do it, but then I found a complete peek-a-boo door and it had the 3 hole pattern with hinges and it fit, but now I'm going to be taking that off and replacing it with the original double action door once I machine the rack's teeth and make a new escapement for it so the bell mechanism works.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 08:30:56 PM by wolff »


Offline wolff

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Re: NYC FIRE ALARM BOXES.
« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2016, 08:51:40 PM »
Those hinges would never fit, I see variations even on the doors from these VF posts as I have 4 doors and every one of the 4 has slightly different thicknesses and sized hinges, one has 2 screws per leaf, it's like they were custom made for every batch of boxes cast. I have a cast iron VF door with the guard on it, and the hinges on this door are the thickest I've ever seen anywhere- they are 6 mm thick, a little more than 1/4" while another is 3.5 mm thick and another is 4 mm, those thickness differences would definitely affect the way to doors on these close due to that angle of the octagon shaped box. This thickness variation is in addition to the size variations as well as the exact countersunk hole placements.

It would be easier and better to mill up a pair of brass hinges from bar stock that actually fit a specific door and pedestal combination than messing around with buying sets of hinges that might fit and discovering they don't.

Offline wolff

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Re: NYC FIRE ALARM BOXES.
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2016, 12:33:14 AM »
The double-action door is now fitted and closes, the internal bell mechanism restoration is the next project


Offline 68jk09

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Re: NYC FIRE ALARM BOXES.
« Reply #39 on: October 08, 2018, 05:56:45 PM »
I do not know who posted this on Firewire but that is not the truth that our NYC Fire Alarm Boxes are still reliable.....they are NOT....what happened in Bullshead can certainly happen here....it is a CRIME since a Judge has previiously ordered the FDNY to maintain the Boxes in working order.....this is NOT the case !..... they are seriously OOS.....Boxes all around my neighborhood remain dormant with handles pulled down...how long before a serious occurrence ? ..... When Boxes are out & 9-11 lines are down the suggestion of "walking to the nearest FH" is not only ludicrous but CRIMINAL ! www.facebook.com/nycfirewire/?hc_ref=ART_FhDJpzRfuojLRXxLLTetu5CXnK1M3Dmifzrh8Ibw1ALH0-V0SMdGrD3T3dbYohU&__xts__[0]=68.ARBX98qPDbVF0zYe_ibfk4hkEgxBC1tY45pHKPsjRhgodG5AYvSaBXrnot5RfUWoiL_JvJ_MnPyJujjSLWQHX1n6khUoByQVORB664_QX1LsjLsWCvj2RPG23mza9Eo59RN9NGpqbCNcumgLXyqBInmp58uKZKIzofNxMTOh3JCzWjiKmylI-A&__tn__=kC-R

Offline manhattan

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Re: NYC FIRE ALARM BOXES.
« Reply #40 on: October 14, 2018, 02:45:47 AM »
I couldn't agree more, Chief, especially about use of the word "criminal".  If we can all see the out of service boxes when we walk through our neighborhoods I think it's pretty safe to assume that the politicians who are supposed to keep up on these things can see them also.  Pretty obvious question: why aren't the electeds doing something about this?  Second pretty obvious question: how long did it take for the land line and cell phone systems to completely fold on September 11 and during Sandy?

We live with our heads secured very firmly you-know-where but we never learn.

Offline 68jk09

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Re: NYC FIRE ALARM BOXES.
« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2018, 04:09:08 AM »
I couldn't agree more, Chief, especially about use of the word "criminal".  If we can all see the out of service boxes when we walk through our neighborhoods I think it's pretty safe to assume that the politicians who are supposed to keep up on these things can see them also.  Pretty obvious question: why aren't the electeds doing something about this?  Second pretty obvious question: how long did it take for the land line and cell phone systems to completely fold on September 11 and during Sandy?

We live with our heads secured very firmly you-know-where but we never learn.
The politicians do know....back as far as the Guliani administration the City was ordered by the Court to maintain all FDNY Alarm Boxes in working order (at that time they all worked but Guliani attempted to remove them but was denied & the order to maintain them still stands).....during the Bloomberg administration they began to fall into dispepair & i had personally hand delivered request's to the then Chair of the City Council's "Fire & Life Safety Committee" outlining the problem & the continuing need for them to be maintained even with the proliferation of cell phones .....on further visits to the Chair she had stated she was working on it ....finally she told me "Bloomberg does not want to do anything" & that i felt was the end of her being involved ......other politicians also had a deaf ear & when some did contact the FDNY the answer HQ gave them was "we dont need Boxes , everybody has a cell phone"... well that is total BS since on numerous occasions the cell systems have crashed not only on 9-11 or during the 2 NYC tornadoes on 9-16-10 (which did major still unrepaired damage to NYC Alarm Boxes).....several large gatherings such as NYPD LODD Funerals have had so much phone usage that cell sites crashed.....about 3 yrs ago one afternoon there was an earthquake on the West Coast (not even felt in Queens) but after the news started reporting it so many people started calling Relatives & friends that the NYC cell system crashed..... the current mayor is so busy "working out" & making bike lanes & giving out freebee's i doubt he even realizes what is really important ....as i have stated before "what happens when a young child escapes their burning house in pajamas at 0400 hrs & the corner Alarm Box does not work ?"....i have numerous pictures of Alarm Boxes around Queens with handles down that were pulled but not received in the Communications Office.... it is only a matter of time until something serious happens..... another fact is that working ERS boxes are Two Way meaning a Dispatcher can relay possible Life Saving instructions to an individual or group at an ERS Box during an Emergency.....& a crazy thing is that many North Queens non operational boxes have been given a fresh coat of paint in the last 2 years ?

 

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