THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Anunciator Box

A few weeks ago, I was working on a shoot in an amazing 100+ year-old mansion in Long Island. In the hallway leading from the dining room into the kitchen, I noticed something on the wall near the butler's pantry...

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This glass-covered box:

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Later, I was in the living room...

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...And noticed this button on the wall.

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Of course, I couldn't resist...

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Immediately, I heard a loud noise in the kitchen. Turns out, this is the original call system for servants. Press a button, and in the kitchen, a buzzer goes off and a number drops indicating which room is in need of assistance (below, I had pressed the living room button, as well as an upstairs bedroom):

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Though broken for years, the new owner recently rewired it back into working condition for fun. There's a button in each of the downstairs rooms as well as the bedrooms...But for some reason, I couldn't find one in the dining room.

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Turns out, it's a foot pedal located on the floor beneath the table (currently covered by the rug). A host or hostess could signal for servants without ever leaving the table!

The device was made by the "Knickerbocker Annunciator Co.," which is a pretty great company name for this sort of thing. A quick Google search reveals their business address at 116 West Street in Manhattan in 1921.

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To reset the numbers, you just turn the knob below...

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And they crank up into the box!

-SCOUT

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