"Shots from the top of the tower. The little porch areas where I used to go every 4th of July to watch the fireworks. No seniority then and always had to work the holidays. They pics show the east yard, the steam plant building, paderewski dr. and, the neighborhood, looking south and showing the belt line crossing over broadway.. Also the main postoffice was being built at that time. God what a sickening smell on the days when the wind was wrong. That happened way too often. The postoffice was built over the old stockyards. I used to pity the construction workers; who didn't need the wind to bring it to them."
"BO" Telegraph Office was the communications center for the Buffalo Divn. These bays, about six of various types, were used to send the teletype signals, the telephone, the dispatchers circuits, the signal circuits, etc. I remember "40AC1" bays and the "H" Carrier but the rest escape me. There was a CD radio in the racks. It was there to monitor conalrad alerts but we used it for more immediate needs. A few of the racks seemed to be 'left over', even back in '59.
"The main wire chief board where all the lines and circuits were available.
Testing and patches were made from this point. You can see all the patch cables
hanging below the counter top. There were mouthpieces hanging down at each
position with plugs on the counter that could be plugged into any talk circuit
like the dispatcher lines."
"The technology was pretty impressive for what they had to work with. They used
telegraph and teletype circuits that consisted of a single wire and the ground
connection at each end. They could send in *both* directions at once on this
single wire. Fairly easy to understand when you know how but it always
impressed me anyway. There was *talk* circuit that was called the 'phantom'.
It used two other *real* talk circuits as its conductors. Neither of the real
circuits would ever know it existed."
"There were test items on the counter that were used to measure these cable and
open-wire circuits when they had problems. The wires might be knocked down by
ice or wind. Rubbing trees were common. Telegraph pole insulators were a
favorite target for shooters. Copper was also pretty valuable and it was
constantly being stripped from the poles. We used to set alarm circuits for
that kind of thing. The lines could be open or down and grounded. They might
be shorted together or they may have a mixture of all the above. The test
meters and bridges were used to measure current flow as the means to determine
the location of the damage. This current was put out on the line by the wire
chief during testing. Measurements called "loops" and "varleys" were made and
along with other information such as the temperature, the size of the wire in
the circuit, the number of drops, etc., the location of these trouble spots
would be calculated and very often would come within yards of the actual spot.
That is, looking out for a distance of perhaps 20 miles or so. Pretty neat, but
it was a knack one developed after many years of "experience". You didn't want
to wake up too many rough and tumble linemen, in the middle of the night, during
a storm, and send them to the middle of no-where without having something for
them to do when they arrived."
"The most ultra-modern item at that time was an oscilloscope which showed line
conditions across it's screen. The line length represented most or all the
distance of the circuit and with "overlays" taken at particular temperatures and
with known markers, one could determine relative locations of trouble. It
actually didn't work at well as the loop and varley method.
"The large bulbs on the top of the board were used as loads for various lines.
When they lit, it generally meant a crossed power-line or some such."
Al Tuscher, the boss, filling in for the wire chief. That desk and others in the room were still equipped with a manual telegraph keys. The wire chief had the "talk wire" to NYC. I knew International morse at that time, being a radio amateur, and RR morse was similar. I did use it a bit but never had a "real" conversation. I thought it would be easy to get use to but not so... Hams heard tones when they talked but the railroad had "sounders". Sounders just made loud "clacking sounds. One when it went down and another lighter clack on when it hit coming back up. Never got the time to get used to it. There were guys that they called "boomers" in the old days. There were still some around when I first came in. I met just one, who came to the office for a short time. They were when telegraph was king. More or less wanderers who could travel around anytime they needed a job, in any city they were in, they just walked into the local telegraph office and they were put to work. Sounders made so much noise that each boomer would try and make his louder, to hear it better. They also tried to "pitch" the sound. They would attach things to the sounder arm, wrap it with half a coffee can for a sound reflector, and other means.
"These shots were taken from the window of the office looking out on the west side of the terminal yard. The west end yard masters office is in the building in these two shots. The "power" shot it nice. I remember seeing engine 999 coming along these same tracks on it's way to a museum, I believe. Also the Speno ballast cleaner and other things were constantly going by. These tracks lead to the beltline and were used quite a bit."
This is Bob but it's another case of lost last name. I am sure it will come back. This is a terrific picture because of it showing the equipment.
What we did here was type the messages. The keyboard operated solenoids which punched a paper tape with combinations of up to five holes as it was fed through. These holes represented the baudot code. A vertical line of holes represented each letter or number. Letters were all in the upper case. You could get to read the tape as if they were actual letters. The equipment is, the tape transmitter on the left and the keyboard on the right. You can see the tape punch on the left side of the keyboard.. The tape hanging from the transmitter crosses over a set of pins that push upwards on que, to sense either paper or hole. The signals generated are then sent down the line to other cities.
Fran Ball is here cranking a knob which woke up the other end. This printer was the teletype version of the NYC "talk" wire. It was this machine I was working on when the massive, state wide and more, power outrage struck the north east. The power in our office started acting up; one feed failed and the other one feed kicked in. I was talking to NYC at the time and even the machine connection was getting hits. "Running open" in fits and starts. NY was telling me that they were having power problems too. I had an unbelievably creepy feeling, thinking that they were somehow connected. I couldn't comprehend how nor immediately believe it, but it was happening right in front of me.
Ted Frytag clowning with his cigar. Good guy; lived off Harlem near Walden.
Another shot of Jim Timmons, the printer maintainer. hanging on the cable support, apparently talking to the wire chief.
Another of Hal Schup having lunch in the back room. This room was behind the wire chief's board. The radio maintainers took it over for a shop, in 1963, and stayed there for a long time... I guess they stayed until everyone left the building. I visited Norm Strohmeir, one of the radiomen, in about '78. Everything in the old BO office was pretty much stripped out by then. The wire chiefs board was just a relic.
"Yours truly; doin my thing. Believe it or not; we were able to type
at speeds up to 80 wpm on these machines. The "touch" and the reaction time of
the machine was very important but because there was only the upper case
characters and very little punctuation, we could really tear along. Those
keyboards sounded like a machine guns when we got going."
Mike Panaro. Relative of Panaro's restaurant on Elmwood.
"The three guys here are Bob ?, Mike Panaro and Paul ?. Totally
surprised I cannot remember Paul's name. He is one that I should. He and I
both ended up with Western Union a few years later and I worked with him there
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