Our Collection: Alarms

Hall of Flame

Fire Alarm Systems

On exhibit are four displays of fire alarm systems. These are:

  • A Gamewell semi – automatic alarm system dating from about 1925. It was used by the city of Glendale, California.
  • A Gamewell automatic system dating from 1906 and used by the city of Watertown, Wisconsin.
  • A custom made telephone based fire alarm system designed and built by the fire department of Phoenix, Arizona, and used between 1955 and 1975.
  • A 1925 Gamewell semi-automatic system from Glendale, California, dates from about 1925.

The operating system includes a non-interfering street box, a control panel (above, center), a circuit testing and protection board (next to red street box), a gong (above control panel), and a series of repeaters using punch tape (left of control panel).

Street box.

Together with this system is a gong and repeater of the variety found in fire houses to receive signals from a central station.

Each fire station had a gong and tape repeater in an area manned by a fireman on “house watch”. Alarms sent from the central station sounded the gong and punched out the box number.
Box 13, for example, would be punched out with one hole, a space, then three more. Both gong and tape repeater in this exhibit were made by Gamewell.

Alarms began at the street box like the one above.

This box, made by Gamewell, was used in downtown Prescott, Arizona for over 60 years.

A 1906 Gamewell automatic system from a small town in Wisconsin. It includes a sector style box, an automatic repeater that transmits box alarms to all fire houses on a system, a combination gong and indicator, a battery control panel, and a panel that allows the sending of signals from “ghost boxes” to fire stations throughout a city. The system is fully functional.

A 1950s-1970s era telephone based alarm system custom built by the Phoenix, Arizona Fire Department.

This innovative system includes a switchboard, a control panel for over 100 Gamewell boxes. two microfiche map readers, two dispatching consoles, several radios, time stamps, a tape recording system, and a large illuminated status map board that shows which stations are either on a run, out of service, or available.

The system does not operate, but has been equipped with lights to allow its interpretation by visitors.

Our Collections

For specific information on the museum’s major holdings, select a category below.

Fire Alarm Systems


Fire Extinguishers

Hand and Horse Drawn

Fire Helmets

Motorized Fire

Additional Fire Related Objects in Our Collection

Hall of Flame’s collection of graphic materials includes lithographs, prints, engravings, arm patches, paintings, and photographs.

If readers of this website have suggestions or comments, please contact us by sending an e-mail to info@hallofflame.org