The SEEANDBEE Telephone at the JKL Museum

The SEEANDBEE Telephone at the JKL Museum

While working on the cataloging project at the JKL Museum, we discovered a small ships telephone made by Kellogg. The telephone is located in the telephone museum’s section for telephones made for use outside and or in hazardous locations or for the use on ships.

This little black telephone is made from sheet metal and fitted with a transmitter marked “STEAMER SEEANDBEE” and “KELLOGG” on the faceplate.  The receiver is secured with a nickel plated clamp to prevent it from falling.

The SEEANDBEE Telephone at the JKL Museum
The Seeandbee telephone

Intrigued by this little telephone, we went online and found the following information through Google:

“The SEEANDBEE, once the largest and most costly inland side-wheel  steamer, began its career on the Great Lakes on 6 Nov. 1912. This 500′, 6,381 gross tons all-steel ship could hold 1,500 passengers on its 4 decks. One of its features was an elegant ballroom. It was built for, and originally operated by, the CLEVELAND & BUFFALO TRANSIT CO., a steamship and trucking firm.

seeandbee1
Seeandbee

On its maiden voyage it carried members of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce to Buffalo. Regular trips began in 1913 from the E. 9th St. pier. The Seeandbee operated on a Cleveland-Buffalo route, with special cruises to additional ports such as Detroit and Chicago. It was the pride of the Cleveland and Buffalo Transit Co., and a consistent moneymaker on its summer cruises. In 1939, the liquidation of the Transit Co. began due to the firm’s heavy losses in 1938. That year the Seeandbee was sold to the C&B Transit Co. of Chicago. The Seeandbee operated on a regular schedule through 1941. In 1942 the Seeandbee was acquired by the navy and converted into the USS Wolverine.

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USS Wolverine

The Wolverine served as an aircraft carrier training ship in Lake Michigan during World War II, and shortly thereafter was scrapped.”

The “Seeandbee” telephone at the JKL Museum was probably salvaged from the ship during the conversion to an  aircraft carrier training ship. We found another example of a “Seeandbee” telephone on eBay so there may be more of them around.

We hope you enjoyed this little story about a piece of American history that you are welcome to have a look at yourself at the JKL Museum along with hundreds of other telephones on display.

Simply contact the JKL Museum through the contact form to make an appointment for your own private tour.

You can read more about the Seeandbee at:
http://ech.case.edu/cgi/article.pl?id=S8 (source for this article)
http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/46/46064.htm
http://cruiselinehistory.com/cruising-the-great-lakes-in-the-1930s-aboard-the-steamer-seeandbee/

 

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