Can anyone identify this?

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I've just removed this from our hallway, prior to replastering, but what it is, remains a mystery. Before I took the lid off, I assumed it was an old doorbell, but it seems a bit over complicated. It's surprisingly heavy and the holes in the base seem to be sealed with something soft, as if there's something embedded in there.

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2020-07-30-203847.jpg
Any clues?
Barry
 
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Yep exactly that. I know of one property near me where it is still in service!

If memory serves me the two fuses are removable for replacement.
 
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In theory it is not your property to remove, but I doubt if BT want it now.
 
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The only things embedded in the bottom are nuts for the various screws.

These were regularly fitted on phone lines in the days of long pole routes of open wire, so not in any sort of quantity after 50's/early 60's.

They would contain a pair of lightning arresters consisting of 2 blocks of carbon separated by a piece of very thin silk cloth, 2 of those would have been fitted in the 3 brass fittings in the centre. During a strike the fuses on the right would blow and the silk would disintegrate leaving the carbon blocks shorted.
The green things on the left are heat coils, designed to open circuit with prolonged over current.

The grey dropwire will have been fitted later, I'll estimate introduced around early 70's.

If you wish to clean it up as a museum display feel free, otherwise chuck it in the bin as BT will most certainly not be interested.
 
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Thanks all, that's both informative and interesting. It's clearly been redundant for a long time, but I guess no one knew what it was so didn't want to remove it.

Barry
 

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