Mystery Devices in Old Apartments

Mystery Devices in Old Apartments

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Regina Yunghans
Jul 14, 2008

All kinds of mysterious remnants can be found in old apartments. In a friend's apartment over the weekend, we noticed this obsolete old panel that's been painted over so many times that it's become a part of the wall. It looks like a cross between an intercom, a wall-mounted doorstop, and a manual doorbell...

The "hook" is on a spring and doesn't actually ring a bell. The panel is mounted to a wall between his entry and a closet. We've run into old fuse boxes with those glass fuses in them, a groove in the floor inside the front door where a rod was used to barricade the door, and those funny tub drain stops that are on posts in the bathroom floor (pic below). But we haven't seen a panel quite like this one. Does anyone know what its function may have been? Anyone have similar head-scratchers in their apartment?

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