Phone Uses Light Sockets (Feb, 1937)

Phone Uses Light Sockets

A NOVEL telephone which a person can plug into the nearest electric light socket to talk with another person plugging a similar telephone into a similar outlet near at hand has been developed by a New York City manufacturer. It was demonstrated at the New York Museum of Science and Industry by Dr. O. H. Caldwell, a trustee of the museum.

Communication between the two phones is accomplished over the electric light wires themselves, with no other wires than the usual cords to the attachment plugs. The phones can be moved and are so sensitive that talk in an ordinary tone of voice at five or ten feet distance can readily be heard.

7 comments
  1. Kosher Ham says: January 31, 201112:08 pm

    Broadband over power lines?

  2. JMyint says: January 31, 20112:49 pm

    If you look around a bit there are numerous audio and digital over power line adapters available. They generally work by sending a low RF signal modulated with the information on the house wiring. The receiver blocks out the voltage above the signal level and notches out the 60 cycle frequency.

  3. Toronto says: January 31, 20113:06 pm

    I saw one just the other day to allow you to set up a “pay per view” back-channel without a phone socket near your TV. It connected the conventional phone line to the power (isolated, of course) or something like that.

  4. Alex says: January 31, 20113:56 pm

    Hey! that’s just like my GE Insta jack!

  5. Richard says: January 31, 20117:38 pm

    I think it’s funny that they use the word “phone” where today, we would call that device an “intercom”. A web search for “powerline intercom” reveals that there are many such devices still made today. It looks like many of them send a relatively low frequency FM modulated signal over the house wiring.

  6. Stephen Edwards says: February 1, 20119:09 am

    Anybody know what happened to the New York City Museum of Science and Industry?

  7. Michael, N5RLR says: February 1, 20117:18 pm

    Kosher Ham: “Broadband over power lines?”

    More like, baseband over power lines. :P

    Reminds me of the FM power-line intercoms that Richard mentioned. Also, there was a construction article back in the 1970s in Popular Electronics, for a transmitter-receiver pair for “remoting” stereo speakers.

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