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I found this in my crawl space - had some low voltage wires coming from it (which were then cut at some point so this thing wasn’t doing anything and I couldn’t see where it had possibly been connected to something else.) It was under our primary (master) bedroom.

My guess would be some kind of old transformer or doorbell?

The base seems to be ceramic, metal cylinder top, and those pieces inside (they have the texture of magnets or lead maybe?)

House was built in 1924 in Los Angeles but obviously also don’t know when this sucker was installed!
152906
152907
 

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That’s what they used before gas discharge tubes, so it likely goes back to the earliest days of in-home telephone services.
 

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electrorick
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I found this in my crawl space - had some low voltage wires coming from it (which were then cut at some point so this thing wasn’t doing anything and I couldn’t see where it had possibly been connected to something else.) It was under our primary (master) bedroom.

My guess would be some kind of old transformer or doorbell?

The base seems to be ceramic, metal cylinder top, and those pieces inside (they have the texture of magnets or lead maybe?)

House was built in 1924 in Los Angeles but obviously also don’t know when this sucker was installed! View attachment 152906 View attachment 152907
may be I need one ,, my phone line burned in two when there was a lightning strike near my house .
I was there at the time and I heard a loud pop come from my utility room and found melted wires at the splitter junction
 
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