The Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Company

The Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Company was founded in 1879 by John Gamewell and John F. Kennard. By 1886 their fire alarm system was installed in 500 cities across the United States. The system was composed of fire alarm boxes located at various points that could be activated by pulling a lever which in turn, would send out an electrical signal that corresponded to the alarm box number. The signal was transmitted to a fire telegraph repeater, which automatically transmitted the signal from a central station to the local firehouse. A telegraph recorder at the fire house would transcribe the signal on to paper, indicating the location of the fire.