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GPO ENGINEERS BUTT, 1960's
Used by engineers in telephone exchanges, and on the road for testing telephone lines.
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- I worked for Reliance straight from school in 74 until 79. Apprentices were shown how to make a Buttinsky out of a 706 Handset, A 706 plastic earpiece cover, a Dial, and an intercom micro switch. Worked very well indeed. Some built in oscillators as well.
.......... Bryan Powell Reliance 207405, Rugeley, Staffordshire, 5th of July 2020
- I remember how robust they were. As a lineman I recall dropping mine from the top of a DP. The butt survived unharmed but the roof of the parked car below not so. . .
.......... Brian, Telford, 13th of June 2019
- As stated, used by exchange maintenance and exchange construction + Circuit provision staff. Useful for aiding fault finding and call tracing in Electro Mech exchanges, Strowger TXS and Crossbar TXK. Had robust rubber construction and was in Daily use by myself in my Special fault days, working in a Strowger Exchange.
.......... Stuart Ashman, Cardiff, Wales, 23rd of March 2016
- What a lovely memory jerker!! As a fitter in the West End of London during the 70's, the 280 was part of my tool kit. Being bulky, it always seemed to want to occupy more room in my tool bag than I had space for!
The article was certainly correct about it being phased out (not in my time though) due to it disrupting data flow. I remember being reprimanded by my inspector for doing that very thing – several times and in the same building while checking pairs of wires for a test signal from the exchange.
The fitter’s Butt had crocodile clips to facilitate connecting to block terminal connections. It was all too easy for them to slip sometimes and short out a pair. Not serious for normal voice traffic but data traffic didn’t like it!! Also, the Butt's internal circuitry interfered with digital signals. All this was pretty new to us in those days of mainframe computers.
I always felt that the reprimand had been unfair as the data blocks were not marked as such. A big ‘tut tut’ to the installers of the circuits.
.......... Les Westley, Dover, Kent. UK, 7th of October 2015
- As a youth in Wolverhampton exchange in the early 60`s I always referred to the "Butt" as my monkey as it was always on my shoulder !!
.......... Rod Blunt, Wolverhampton, 5th of January 2015
- Certainly this was the 280 model. I used one in installation work in London's West End. It had a couple of croc clips which made it usable in most circumstances. The comment re. interference with data flow is correct! Twice I was hauled over the coals for messing up a data run when I was testing for an exchange test signal. It was not possible then to know what lines were streaming data as it wasn't recorded on the Distribution boards. I left Post Office Telephones (aka GPO Telephones) in 1978 and the 280 was still in use then albeit nearing the end of its life due to the rise in electronic distribution circuits. You can hear a pin drop now in the electronic exchanges. The Strowger exchanges were very noisy, especially during peak periods. Interesting days :)
.......... Les Westley, Dover Kent. UK, 15th of September 2013
- This type was used by the railways in NZ. We in the NZPO had to use the old GPO die cast metal model which sometimes gave you shocks especially if you were standing in wet grass! Later we had locally designed plastic buttinskis, also an APO designed model.
.......... Arthur Williams (ex NZPO Lineman) , Invercargill New Zealand. (Awarua Radio Communications Museum), 26th of June 2013
- More correctly described as a 'GPO Exchange Engineers telephone' hence the special plug for plugging into selectors and relay sets. A linesman out 'on the road' should have had a Tele 250 or the later Tele 704 in the 1960/70's. Or that was what engineers in our part of the world were issued with.
.......... Ian Jolly, Yr Wyddgrug, 3rd of June 2013
- Contrary to another entry, in the late 60s, when I was a PO maintenance man [on the district, as we called it] very few of us had this posh rubber 'phone, or 'tapper' we called it. All we had was a 700 type handset. You connected one side to line via a croccy clip and tapped out the number you wanted with the other spade connector, trying to keep within the range of 8 to 13 pulses per second, which was the range of tolerance.
.......... Tony, London, 14th of April 2012
- This is a Telephone No. 280 and was issued to automatic exchange staff to assist maintenance and fault finding.
The term Butt is a shortened version of Buttinski meaning that it could be used to "butt in" on telephone calls in progress through exchange selectors.
Exchange staff would move around the equipment with the telephone hooked over one shoulder in order to keep both hands free giving rise to the title of a Parrot.
They fell out of use in the late 1970s as their use would disrupt data calls that were in progress.
.......... Andy Jackson, Sanderstead, Surrey, 26th of February 2011
- All Exchange Construction or Maintenance staff had a Butt as personal issue. The plug shown had two different type of connexions for access either to exchange selectors (switches) or to connexion points on distribution frames or at external line plant. It was encased in heavy rubber to protect against general wear and tear
.......... Mike Fawdrey, Cannock, 24th of February 2011
- MY DAD TONY HARRIS USED THE EXACT BUTT PHONE WHEN HE WORKED DOWN THE MINES HE WORKED AT VARIOUS PLACES AROUND LEICESTER INCLUDING COALVILLE AND WHITICK SADLY HE PASSED AWAY 3YEARS AGO HE LOVED HIS JOB WHICH HE DID FOR 30 ODD YEARS
.......... MRS SUSAN OGDEN, LEICESTER FOREST EAST LEICESTER, 18th of July 2010