PAGE No. 16

Hotel Telephone and Staff Signalling System
July 1932

A branch of telephone communication which involves specialized treatment, and which has not received until recently the attention it deserved is a telephone system combined with staff signalling and time distribution, also with facilities, if desired, of communication with the public telephone service.

This subject, however, has received the serious attention of the Ericsson Company, the outcome of which is a system particularly adaptable to establishments such as, hotels, hospitals, ships and large business houses.

The system is flexible and can be arranged to meet the specialized requirements of the establishment, with either purely internal communication, or so that a limited number or all of the stations can be allowed to communicate over the public telephone system. One, two, three or more staff services can be given and in its simplest form the system can be adapted to small establishments at reasonable cost.

The facilities afforded are as follows:-
1. Telephone communication with any other room in the building or any subscriber on the outside public system.
2. Telephone communication with the staffs quarters direct.
3. Coloured light signalling to summons the various servants direct to the room calling.
4. Time distribution by means of silent electric clocks.

An interesting and typical example of an hotel system, supplied by the Ericsson Company, is the Dorchester, which comprises nine floors of fifty rooms per floor. The floors are divided into a number of groups of rooms or sections to each of which is allocated a maid, a waiter, and a valet having centralized quarters which simplify the grouping together of the sections during slack periods. The electric clock system is conveniently divided into floor groups of fifty clocks, each group being controlled by a relay set which is operated from the central master clock.

The system operates as follows:-
Lamps of different colours are used for signalling the staff, the colours being blue for the waiter, green for the maid and red for the valet. The buttons on the instrument are also coloured correspondingly.

To call, say, the waiter, the blue button is pressed. This lights a blue lamp in the room lamp set situated over the door, the necessary corridor pilots and also one on the staff call panel in the servants quarters.

To answer the call the waiter proceeds along the various corridors as denoted by the lighted pilots, and so to the room as indicated by the room lamp. On entering the room he inserts a plug into the blue coloured jack on the reset panel, thereby cancelling the call.

The telephone is used in the usual way, i.e. the micro-telephone is removed to answer or originate a call on the private exchange in the building. To speak to the servants quarters direct, the white button on the telephone is depressed and the micro-telephone removed.

At the servants quarters a lamp lights corresponding to the number of the room calling, and remains lit until the caller replaces the micro-telephone.

A brief description of the various essential parts of the system will make the foregoing operations more clear.

The Telephone is complete with push buttons and an electric clock which is fitted in the dial aperture. Each push button is differently coloured to indicate the services, and in order to cater for all nationalities there is a symbolic figure of the service, under each button.

To allow the complete instrument to be removed for maintenance purposes a plug and jack is used.

The Reset Panel provides the means for a servant to cancel a call after the room calling has been entered to attend the call.

Inside the panel are three relays and a buzzer. The relays are associated with the various services, one for each. By operating a push button on the instrument the appropriate relay is actuated and held mechanically, the contacts completing the circuits for lighting the various signal lamps. The introduction of a plug into the appropriate jack mechanically releases the relay armature and so cancels the call. The buzzer is used to notify a servant, engaged for some length of time in a room, that another room is calling.

The Room Lamps are for indicating the room calling and the particular service required. They are comprised of different lamps to match the push buttons on the telephone and are mounted in the corridors in a prominent position over each door. Alternative mountings are available, one having a circular base and a dome shaped cover of frosted glass, the other being of unit construction, having each lamp in a separate compartment so that the light of one lamp cannot interfere with that of the adjacent one.

Pilot Lamps are fitted in corridors which are long or branching in order to guide the servants to the room calling.

The Service Call Panel is mounted in or near the servants' quarters and when a call is made from a room a coloured lamp corresponding to the service required is lit on the panel and an audible alarm operated. It may be arranged to indicate calls from any desired number of groups of rooms and if convenient the various services can be incorporated in one common panel. It should be understood that a number of rooms are grouped together, and one lamp allocated per group per service.

Service Call Panel Service Supervision panel

The Service Supervision Panel
It is sometimes desirable to supervise the services in order to investigate complaints concerning the answering of calls. For this purpose the supervision panel is situated at some convenient point, and by the operation of the appropriate key any service can readily be supervised. To do this it is arranged that when a call is made from any group or floor a correspondingly coloured lamp is illuminated on the panel. By watching this lamp the delay in answering the call is easily noted.

An alternative scheme may be employed whereby the lamp is only lit after a predetermined time subsequent to the call being made, for instance it could be easily arranged to light the lamp, say, one minute after the call originates. This method will then only indicate calls which are not answered after a reasonable lapse of time.

The Night Service Panel is similar to the supervision panel and is used to concentrate the services for night attendance. It indicates the floor from which a call emanates and also the service required. On proceeding to the floor indicated, the pilot lights will direct the servant to the room calling.

The Service Telephone Panel is located near to the service call panel at the servants' quarters and provides facilities whereby direct communication can be made from a room to give instructions when a servant is not actually required to go to a room or to save time by preventing a double journey having to be made by a servant. The white button on the telephone is depressed while the micro-telephone is being removed, thus causing a lamp on the service telephone panel to light and show the number of the room requiring attention. The call is answered in the usual manner and the lamp is not extinguished until the micro-telephone in the room calling is replaced.

Buzzer Re-call Service
It is often necessary for a servant to be engaged for a period in one of the rooms, e.g., the maid or valet.
In such cases a plug is inserted into the buzzer jack on the reset panel so that if a call be made from another room in that group the buzzer operates and thus notifies the servant.

Grouped Services
During slack periods similar services can be grouped together so that a servant may attend to more than one group.

Suite of Rooms
By a suitable arrangement of room lamps it is clearly indicated which room of a suite is calling.

Bath Room Calls
Push buttons or pull switches are fitted in bath rooms and if desired special coloured lamps may be used to deal exclusively with this service.

Electric Clock System
The secondary clocks fitted in the instruments are silent in operation. They are connected in parallel and those on each floor are grouped and operated by a relay set which receives the impulses from a central master clock. The number of clocks per relay set should not exceed fifty.


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Last revised: October 13, 2019


PAGE No. 16

Last revised: October 13, 2019