Cabinets, Cross Connection No's 1, 2 and 3

The Cabinet is the next cross connection point from the exchange.  In the 1950's they may have also fed Pillars which in turn would have fed the distribution Points.

As telephone penetration rose, Pillars were not normally installed and the Cabinets feed the Distribution Points directly.

Pillars were painted dark green and made of cast iron.

Cables from the exchange are terminated on the 'E Side' of the terminating strip whilst the outgoing distribution cables were terminated on the 'D Side' of the strip.

The Cabinets and Pillars afforded flexibility in the network as any incoming wire could be connected to any outgoing wire.  The connection made by a piece of two wire called a "jumper wire".  Before the 1970's Cabinet terminations were actually screws which clamped the jumper wire or in the case of a through connection (i.e. wire 10 to wire 10) then two metal pins were used (See picture further down page).

Later on the screw style terminal blocks were replaced with plastic formers and the cable wires just pushed through numbered holes and left hanging.  Connection was made with grease filled crimps (See picture below).

Pillar with crimped connections

Pillar showing screwed connections

Close up of screw type blocks in a Cabinet
The white dots are the through connection pins

Cabinet, Cross Connection No.2 with local footway joint box open to show cable joints.  The cabinet is immaculate
and has probably just been installed.
The oblong units on the door are metal cases with desiccant in them.  There is a small window in
the middle of the box to see when to change them, as the desiccant goes pink when saturated
with water (they would then be dried out in an oven).  They were used to stop the cabinets
from getting damp inside.


Midland Region style layout in a Cabinet, Cross Connection No. 1 (single door).
The strips were parallel. These were superseded by the upright strips.
Note the white crimps - these were replaced by grease filled crimps, coloured blue.
The dial at the bottom of the picture is a pressure gauge.
Main cables between the cabinet and exchange were pressured to prevent ingress by water.
An alarm went off in the exchange if the pressure dropped beyond a pre-defined reading.



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Last revised: January 16, 2019