The Lorimer system was developed in the USA and Canada by three brothers, George, Holt and Egbert Lorimer.  They patented the system in 1900 and their system was manufactured by the Canadian Machine Telephone Company of Toronto and the American machine Telephone Co. Ltd.  They were installed in Europe and North America.

In the UK there was only one Lorimer Telephone Exchange ever installed in the UK.  This was a 500 line exchange installed in Hereford in 1914.  This was an experimental exchange which was in use for a number of years.

The use a phone, you first select the number by use of the levers, turn the handle one revolution and then lift the receiver.  The handle wound a spring, which rotated disks, that were positioned by the levers and these in turn dialled the number.  The levers could remain where they were after dialling and reused, so it could be said that this phone system had the first last number redial facility.

The exchange equipment was driven by a constantly moving shaft, which operated rotary selectors.

Description - complete description of the how the system operates
US Patent - 1912
US Patent - 1919


Advert from mid 1920's



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Last revised: November 08, 2022