EE-8 field telephones are mobile telephones intended for military use, designed to withstand wartime conditions. They can draw power from their own battery, from a telephone exchange (via a central battery know as a CB), or from an external power source. At the start of World War II, the EE-8 in a leather case with a leather strap was standard issue. However, experience in the Pacific showed right away that leather did not hold up and the EE-8 leather case was replaced by an olive drab canvas case with web strap.
A hand-generated crank on the side of the phone was turned in order to signal another phone or the operator. The signal range between these rugged, self-contained phones varied according to the type of wire used to connect them, and the conditions in which the wire was situated (wet, dry, in the air or on the ground), but generally averaged about 11-17 miles. However, a direct, point-to-point connection made with copper wire could extend the range up to an astonishing 360 miles.
After the war, some of the government’s surplus EE-8’s were sold to civilians households as a way for mom to call dad out in the garage to tell him dinner was ready.
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