An IBM Bell?

We all know that IBM made computers, keyboards, typewriters, and printers. But what about bells and dictation machines?

Today I was walking down one of the hallways in the Art building on my school’s campus when I noticed something odd. Despite walking through those halls three times a week, I never noticed the bells. But these bells are not just any type of bells.

They were made by IBM.

The particular building this bell (and another one exactly like it) was located in was constructed in the 1950s (approximately, unlike most buildings it lacks a plaque that dates it exactly to when it was constructed.) While the building has been modernized with modern-day fire alarm systems, security systems, and HVAC systems – the old, 1950s stuff remains. This includes these bells, which were probably used as fire alarm bells.

And yes, this bell was made by the same IBM that made computers and typewriters. International Business Machines, or IBM, was quite diversified back in their heydays. They produced bells (obviously), typewriters, dictation machines, clocks, and much more.

IBM’s early stuff is, as you’d imagine, hugely collectible. This goes for bells, clocks, dictation machines, typewriters, and even bigger stuff like front panels of entire mainframes or punch cards.

As for the bell: I can’t find much information on it, which is unusual. IBM clocks, however, are largely collectible, and it is known that their clock division was purchased by Simplex sometime during the 1960s.

As for unrelated matters, this post will probably be my last for a little while. I’m going to be starting a huge project that will take the next month to complete, and it’s all hands and time on deck.

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