By Kevin Woodhouse
Today’s cellular phones have come a long way from the original car phone that entailed installing a large receiver in the trunk while affixing the $1.50 minute per call phone into the dashboard. For many people, party lines, crank and rotary phones belong in a museum. For technology and history buffs, that is exactly what can be found at Lachine’s Pearson Electrotechnology Centre with the opening of the Telecommunications Museum.
The museum is being headed up by Ken Lyons who used to work for Nortel and has restored all of the phones in the museum back to their original working order, which took Lyons a year to complete.
Photographs noting the first ever phone created by Alexander Graham Bell is on display as well as the first ever rotary phone that came to prominence in 1925, replacing the hand crank models.
Everything from early cell phones of the 1980s and the famous black rotary phone of the post WWll era are on display and guests are invited to play with the working phones. “All of our phones are operational and some people really like to have fun with the equipment,” noted Lyons.
The phones for the museum came to be when all material was collected by retired Nortel employees but after the company declared bankruptcy “we were no longer funded so our club sort of disbanded,” Lyons explained.
Geoffrey Alleyne, a former employee at Nortel who began teaching at the centre, thought the centre would be an appropriate place to store all of the phones acquired by the club over the years, which is “how the museum came to be here,” noted Lyons.
To take a tour or to find out more about the Telecommunications Museum at the Pearson Electrotechnology Centre in Lachine offers guests a step back in time when crank and rotary phones were the height of communication’s technology.
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