Thread Number: 72063  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Intercoms at the school
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Post# 952930   8/14/2017 at 20:13 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

The school thread reminded me of this.

What kind of intercoms did you have at school and any memories of them.

I remember the elementary school had an intercom system with rectangular speaker grilles in each classroom and the speaker was on one side and a black framed clock on the other. The cafeteria had brown square speakers and I think they were later replaced with black ones.

I also recall seeing the control panel at the front office and seeing the microphone. I don't remember much interesting about it, except one afternoon during class, the radio started playing through the intercom for a few moments. The song was Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. I also remember another time that music was playing, this time intentionally, for a fall festival. Some cheesy fall related song about slicing up the pumpkins. Could hear it playing over the speakers in the hallways as we walked out to the back playground/PE area.

The junior high system was pretty similar as I recall. I do recall that system had call buttons on the wall in each classroom that would call the office. Some students used to press the button when the teacher left the room and the office lady would get annoyed and tell them to stop.

Don't remember much else about them. The high school system was also very similar but the clocks were silver framed and said DuKane on them. Some rooms in the newer halls had black Bogen speakers and they didn't even have clocks on them, just Ingraham battery clocks mounted on the wall.

Post# 952934 , Reply# 1   8/14/2017 at 20:38 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Intercom was rarely used.  One elementary principal did on a few occasions. A new HS principal did announcements on several occasional when he first arrived but slacked off.

Post# 952939 , Reply# 2   8/14/2017 at 21:21 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

Mostly I school I remember the morning and afternoon announcements over the intercom and calling students to the office.

In elementary school would often hear an announcement in the afternoons for teachers to unplug and turn off their electronic equipment as there were thunderstorms coming.

Also messages about not to leave the room unless necessary because of bad weather outside during summer afternoons. The halls in elementary school were all open to the outside but covered.

Post# 952943 , Reply# 3   8/14/2017 at 21:39 by pulltostart (Mobile, AL)        

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The galaxy in which I attended school was sufficiently 'long ago and far, far away' that we ALWAYS had an intercom system - every elementary school I attended, every junior high I attended, and the high school.  There were always morning announcements.  The only time in my whole 12 years that I remember being called to the principal's office was in the 11th grade, during a chemistry class.  Surprised the everything out of me, I did not know what to expect.  Turns out that it must have been my 16th birthday and my father had come to school to take me to take the test for my drivers license.  It was a surprise and I was totally unprepared, so it was put off until a later date and I returned to class.



Post# 952950 , Reply# 4   8/14/2017 at 23:05 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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I recall the one in my elementary school. It was a Kellogg. The main unit was in the principals office and there was a mic on the desk beside it.. lots of switches on the front and seemed at the time to be about as big as a fridge, rounded corners to boot.   Never saw the one they used in h.s. ,, just the speakers in each classroom and I can't recollect the name or if there was one on them. 

Post# 952957 , Reply# 5   8/15/2017 at 00:24 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

The ones I remember were made by DuKane-another by Newcomb.In one school it was Bogen.

Post# 952999 , Reply# 6   8/15/2017 at 10:23 by johnb300m (Chicago)        

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We always had these brownish silver electric clocks on a rectangular speaker in all our schools. And an "electric bell" tone.
The clocks and call button plates all said Simplex on them, from what remember.

Post# 953004 , Reply# 7   8/15/2017 at 11:19 by foraloysius (Groningen, the Netherlands)        

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We had an intercom system, IIRC it was from Philips. The speakers were medium brown metallic, the speaker front was slanted downward. Besides the intercom system, that was only used for general announcements (very rare), there was also a phone system. IIRC that was from Ericcson. The phones were black, no buttons or dials on them.

Post# 953006 , Reply# 8   8/15/2017 at 11:40 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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We had no intercoms or public address systems.

Secondary school had telephones in some classrooms (GPO style), linked to an internal network. I presume the phones were capable of external calls, but don't actually know.

God knows what it's like now!

Post# 953011 , Reply# 9   8/15/2017 at 13:15 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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The thing that I remember the most about school intercoms was what happened in Nov 1963 when I was in the 7th grade at Walter T. Helms JR High in San Pablo, Calif. On the 22nd of this month President Kennedy was assassinated and I heard about it over this school intercom during 3rd period Art class. During the days before this terrible announcment the Drama class had been coming over the intercom during this same time period, practicing a play. At first we all though that the announcement from Texas was the Drama class, but we soon realized that this was the real thing.

The country changed at this moment in time, not for the better, and has never really been the same since. At the time, I had just lost my father a little over a year before. The death of President Kennedy was almost as devastating to me. Those of us members that are in in my age group will know exactly what I'm talking about. This was a terrible day.

I apologize if this story is a "Debbie Downer" moment for some, but this day should never be forgotten.

Post# 953016 , Reply# 10   8/15/2017 at 14:10 by DaveTranter (Central England)        

As Rolls Rapide said (reply#8), we never had any sort of intercom in any of the schools I attended. I assume that, Statesside, they were associated with the 'cold war' and the '4-minute warning'. Here it was decided that it was probably better if the kids didn't know what was coming.... Probably their teachers, too! Here in the UK we have always known that we were (and are!!) considered 'expendable'.

All best

Dave T

Post# 953026 , Reply# 11   8/15/2017 at 15:05 by cadman (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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My elementary school was built in the 60's and added onto several times later, but I remember was the late 70's DuKane intercom in the main office and if you wanted, you could sign up to read the morning announcements or read aloud the bus numbers as they arrived in the afternoon for pickup as classes dismissed.

Actually, what I remember most was the red LED weather station next to the intercom. I learned later it was a Heathkit 4001 (link below).


Post# 953033 , Reply# 12   8/15/2017 at 16:51 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

The elementary school I attended (K - 3) had Stromberg-Carlson loudspeakers which had a gray finish. The console with phonograph was located in the principal's office. They were original to the schools construction in 1952.

The middle school (4 - 6) also had Stromberg-Carlson equipment, with brown wood cased speakers. I never saw the control console, as it was located in another nearby building that was the high school. That building had the same type speakers, and I think they were installed when that building was enlarged in 1939.

The junior and senior high school building was built in 1966, and all equipment was DuKane. Both sections had consoles with phonographs, and they were interconnected so that one could feed into the other. The classrooms had speaker - clock combinations that were mounted in a rectangular gray enameled frame. The gym-auditorium had a console with phonograph and tape (reel to reel), and there was a panel next to the stage with switches and jacks. Depending on what position the switches were in, it could feed either to the speakers in that area only, or connect to the office console to go into other parts of the building. One feature I remember the system having was the ability for the office to listen in to a classroom if the teacher was out of the room (or otherwise). Another feature was that the audio output from a movie projector could be fed into one of the jacks in the panel by the stage. The other jacks were for microphones, but there was a special one for sound from another amplifier.

Our church also had a sound system in the sanctuary with several speakers inside and one in the bell tower. It had microphones in the pulpits, and there was a 3-speed phonograph. It was mainly used on Sunday mornings to play hymns through the outside speaker. The person in charge would put the records back into the starting position on the changer when church was over, so they would be ready to go the next week. Me - being the bad boy I was - put another record in the bottom of the stack. So the next week when the player was turned on, people coming to church (and the whole neighborhood) heard the David Rose orchestra. Of course, the song was "The Stripper". People came in wondering what kind of church service they were having that day! Needless to say it was found out who did it, and I got in loads of trouble when we got home. I think this was when I was in 8th grade.

Post# 953212 , Reply# 13   8/17/2017 at 10:05 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

My grammar school was built in 1927. When I attended in the 1960s the original intercom system was still in use. Every classroom had one of these on the wall by the door:

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Post# 953273 , Reply# 14   8/17/2017 at 17:09 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

One of my friends in elementary school lived in a big old house (built around 1900), and it had an old phone type intercom system, including a station in the detatched garage. Unfortunately, it no longer worked.

The old department store I wrote about had a similar type intercom that used telephones without dials. Some of them were old Automatic Electric model 50 wall phones, and I bought one of these.

Post# 953283 , Reply# 15   8/17/2017 at 18:19 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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My Junior High had a DuKane and we listened to the morning and before you were dismissed in the afternoon. The one time I was soooo happy is when I was picked over the intercom for Drivers-Ed. My friend that lived right behind me swapped papers and I signed his mothers name and he did mine. We went back into school, turned the permission slips in and we laughed all the way home from school that our scheme worked. My parents were not happy I did that but his said fine, but you are not driving the car. So our dreams were crushed but both parents eventually gave us their 2nd car beaters that you pay for from now on. Too bad kids today dont learn the same lesson.

Post# 953308 , Reply# 16   8/17/2017 at 21:11 by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

My elementary school was built in 1914, with later additions from 1938 and 1951. No intercoms.

Middle school was built 1941-42, with an addition in 1946. No intercom.

High school built 1925, with 1938, 1953, and 1958 additions. No intercom.

When JFK was assassinated, the principal and his secretary went room to room, pulled each teacher out of the classroom, and gave each teacher the news.

Post# 953319 , Reply# 17   8/17/2017 at 22:28 by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

My School had a system by Telex.

I never thought I'd see something like that again in my life, until the first time Darryl took me to have dinner at HomeTown Buffet ad Del Amo Mall.

I saw an intercom exactly like the one i had at school. A tiny box on the wall (almost like a light switch) with a speaker and a button.

At School, the button was useless. years later, teaching at the same school I studied, the intercoms were still there, but non operational since a new law was created in Brazil after the Columbine tragedy. Schools can not have "intercoms" to prevent a hostage situation where a school employee is forced to give orders (or false orders) on intercom and they were replaced by Motorola Talkabout walkie talkies that all teachers used and a series of codes only teachers and employees would understand.

Nowadays, in fancy schools, instead of radios, teachers use an app installed on their smartphones. The app has a panic button to activate the lockdown and the system interacts with the classroom doors and the fog machines. it also uses the phone's microphone to "hear" shootings. If two smartphones "hear" a gunshot, it starts the lockdown automatically and once it goes off, only the police has the password to turn it off.
The same app also works as a click-counter to count students after an evacuation

Post# 953378 , Reply# 18   8/18/2017 at 09:06 by gizmo (Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Au)        

At my high school the deputy principal was Mr Carter. Each afternoon he would read announcements over the PA system. (= Public Address system.)

The funny side was, he would do an earlier broadcast of: "this is Mr. Carter. This is an announcement to inform teachers that in 5 minutes I will read the announcements."

His intention was to give teachers notice to wind up their class so that we were quiet and waiting for the announcements at the end of the period. But we all thought it was hilarious. Even most of the teachers struggled to keep a straight face.

Post# 953655 , Reply# 19   8/19/2017 at 23:54 by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

Yeah, I was in elementary school back in the 1960s, when no self-respecting American primary school was without an intercom. The building was new and lacked either a bell system or clocks, so the intercom did everything. The principal read announcements in the morning. Every hour on the hour, someone announced the time. And the "fire alarm" consisted of someone blowing a police whistle through the intercom.

Post# 954420 , Reply# 20   8/25/2017 at 00:29 by MudDuck (USA)        

My elementary school had an intercom but the other two upper schools did not. They were wooden boxes that the fAce was slanted and there were 3 cut outs with a tan mesh. They would say the pledge of alligence over them in the morning and any thing we needed to know about the days activities. Once a week names were read for students recieving a weekly award for above and beyond good behavior.

Post# 954482 , Reply# 21   8/25/2017 at 16:34 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
A funny story

Lower Creek Elementary school was built in 1951, and when I was there in the early to mid 70s, the original system was in use, One day one of my classmates and friends Charlie Hinson got in trouble for something or another and was taken to the principals office, Mr Keener , who did NOT believe in sparing the rod, was going to paddle Charlie, somehow the microphone got turned on so everyone in the school heard what happened, " Now Charlie, Bend over....a pause and KERBLAM!!! And then, Damn it all to hell Charlie, Don't move...When he swung the paddle Charlie jumped and he hit the desk..Of course by this time we all were laughing and all the teachers were having fits trying to make us be quiet!!

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