the first practical fire alarm system utilizing the telegraph system was developed by dr. william channing and moses farmer in 1852. two years later, they applied for a patent for their "electromagnetic fire alarm telegraph for cities". in 1855, john gamewell purchased regional rights to market the fire alarm telegraph, later obtaining full rights to the system in 1859. john f. kennard bought the patents from the government after they were seized after the civil war, returned them to gamewell, and formed a partnership, kennard and co., in 1867 to manufacture the alarm systems. the gamewell fire alarm telegraph co. was later formed in 1879. gamewell systems were installed in 250 cities by 1886 and 500 cities in 1890. early boxes used the telegraph system and were the main method of calling the fire department to a neighborhood in the days before people had telephones. when the box is triggered, a spring-loaded wheel spins and taps out a signal onto the telegraph wire, indicating the box number. the receiver at the fire station then matches the number to the box alarm. the c. 1920's cast aluminum housing on the fire box found above features the typical cottage style outer shell, with dimensions measuring 16-3/4 high, 10-1/2 wide, and 5 deep. the raised logo found near the peak or pitch above the door is the gamewell trademark of a "fist holding lightning bolts". the inscription towards the bottom reads "fire alarm station, the gamewell co. newton, mass , accompanied by a stamped painted brass box number plate and a "pull handle" lever. the lockable interior holds a thick clear glass cover housing the intricate clockwork operating mechanism. the unit is completely intact. removed from the chicago area.