Today I'm offering for sale a Bell Systems-B linesman work case from the 1930's. In over 30 years of collecting this is by far one of the most unusual item I’ve ever come across while searching for antiques and collectibles to sell in our shop. This case itself is quite interesting. However, what the case was used for is very interesting.
The case was made for Bell Systems by the Phelps Winship Corporation in the 1930's. The case measures 15 3/4" wide x 6" high x 12 1/2" deep. Inside the case are numerous compartments for different types of tools the lineman used to work on new and damaged phone lines. There are two compartments in the bottom of the case measuring about 15 1/2" long x 5 1/2" wide x 3 1/2" deep. There are 18 compartments plus one zippered compartment on the inside of the top of the case and there are 12 compartments plus one zippered compartment on the inside of the bottom of the case.
**Condition of Bell Systems Case: The outside of the case is in fair+ condition and the inside of the case is in good condition. The outside of the case is made with a very sturdy material that is reinforced with metal. *Outside: The metal on the outside of the case is pitted and rusted and two of the outside corners are missing the leather corner piece. The leather handle is in fairly good condition.
The second part this case played in the 1930's you may find very interesting.
First let me describe what is written on the outside of the case. On one side written in white paint it reads, "The 10th Precinct Insp. Dolan". On the other side in white paint it reads, "N.Y.P.D. Homicide”.
First thing I had to find out if there was an Inspector Dolan who was stationed at the 10th Precinct in New York City in the 1930's. After searching for over two days on New York City Police Department archive sites I hit pay-dirt. During the 1930's there was a Francis P. Dolan who was one of the police officers that made up the 10th Precinct.
On March 16th, 1940, while on duty he lost his life when he fill off a police car running board while going to a crime scene. He left behind a wife and two kids. His badge number is 14816. There were several items in very bad condition in this case that were thrown away by the previous owner. Those items included a small paper bags, pencils, a pocket knife, a small tape measure, gloves, and some police forms.
Found inside the compartments of the tool case are numerous sizes of live ammunition. I can only think he took them to a crime scene to match up any shells found there. Inside were different types of shotgun shells and live 45 Colt, NR 45 Auto, 38 Special and a number of other size live rounds. Let me make this very clear, "none of the ammunition is for sale". I took the ammunition to a gun shop to dispose of it safely. You can view my pictures of the ammunition which was originally found inside the case.
If you’re in law enforcement and collect vintage items this may be the neatest item you ever come across. Maybe you know someone who is currently or who has retired from the 10th Precinct in New York City. Wouldn't this be a cool surprise gift.
In playing “Sherlock Holmes” I hope I found the correct Officer Dolan that used this case.
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