Tell Me About It is an occasional blog on photographs that have piqued my curiosity for some reason. I am seeking information from you, our readers, in hopes of learning more about these subjects.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that this contraption is a Speaking Tube–I had cataloged it as a gas mask. The photograph is World War I vintage (that’s my excuse!).
An early form of communication, a speaking tube pre-dates universal use of the telephone.
For maritime use, call it a Voice Pipe
Voice pipes “served to transmit reports from lookout positions aloft to the deck and from the bridge to the steering position and engine room.” [Wikipedia academic]
This photograph shows a speaking tube inside the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1917. As you see, it consists of a long length of pipe, nearly always metal, that stretches from one location to another in a place where quick communication is desired.
A horn or funnel-shaped attachment is mounted at either end, giving rise to the saying still used today, “Get on the horn.”
Returning to the first photograph, the mask and hat are still a mystery to me. Can you shed light on this?
= = = Sources
Wikipedia Academic. Accessed January 21, 2022, https://en-academic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/1387804
Christian Petersen. https://www.wise-geek.com/what-is-a-speaking-tube.htm