Mystery Item: Do You Know What This Is?

What is this “johnny ball” used for?  Or is it something else?

I found this on the old railroad track by a train tunnel in Arizona.  I’m curious of what this is and what it was used for and value?  Can you please contact me at  Thank you!

Iron johnny ball?
Iron johnny ball?


 Help Identify This ‘Mystery’ Enclosure!

Does anyone recognized the name and use of this large square,  silver case unit equipped with the single white porcelain bottom bushing, slung over the outer crossarm, in this photo?

The photo was taken in California by Richard and he explains about the unit: “Doug . . . I am wondering what the larger square unit is on the arm?  The unit is sealed; colored wire leads enter thru one hole.  Post to your site, if you like, [I] would really like to know?  I’m thinking my unit is a filter, [as] it was put up by Citizens Utilities, back before Frontier came along.  Thanks again for all you do!”

Help Identify This Biased Relay!

My father-in-law was an engineer who worked at Bell Labs for many decades.  He passed away in 2003, and we’re now sorting through the things his wife kept.  I attached three images from a device we found that’s stamped with Western Electric.  I did a Google image search, and came across your Electric Orphanage page that shows a couple of images of a Biased Relay that looks similar (but clearly not the same model).  I also attached a PDF of the page where I found your Biased Relay.  Could you please identify the object we have.  Please feel welcome to call me anytime. Thanks!  


Can anyone out there assist us in identifying this antique relay?  Write to and we can give you public credit (if you wish) or be anonymous, at your request.  We’ll publish your answer here.

arnold-scheinmans-western-electric-device-exterior arnold-scheinmans-western-electric-device-inerior-side-01 arnold-scheinmans-western-electric-device-interior-side-02

 –Former AT&T/NEC America, Inc. Engineer Jake writes:

“. . . The equipment it belonged to was scrapped at Lincoln Junction (AT&T-LT&T Nebraska site) in the late fifties.  I might be wrong, but I think it was part of the teletype transmission system.  Back in those days, recycling was not practiced and discarded equipment was hauled away by the local ‘junk’ dealers.

Jake Jekabson (Retired)

Gary writes:

“The relay is part of a physical telegraph repeater.  Plug-in so replacement can be easily done.  Rectangular device may be low pass filter to remove noise–or an interference drain.”

Gary’s background includes working at Alberta Government Telephones for six years; 13 years teaching telecom at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology; a decade at ROLM Telecom and 17 years at IBM Canada (Post-ROLM acquisition by IBM).

–Gary Duchak, Alberta, Canada