Federal Sirens

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Federal STH-10 SirenFederal Signal STH-10
Here's a close-up photo of a STH-10 at the Richardson fire training facility. This siren is new and I don't believe has ever been installed. It was sold at auction in 2008.

1952 Federal Thunderbolt Siren Photos

I recently found some fantastic photos on the Seattle Washington Municipal Archives web site. They have a large number of vintage photos in their archives. Among these photos are these 2 of a mobile Thunderbolt siren mounted in the bed of a Ford pick-up truck. These photos are dated February 1952 so this must be one of the first Thunderbolt sirens. Notice in the photo of the front of the truck that the RCM control cabinet can be seen behind the truck. It looks to me like they were testing their new Thunderbolt with a temporary hook up. I can't figure from these photos where or how this siren would have been used. The horn is mounted so low above the cab I think that the vehicle would have to have been driven to a location with a high elevation and hooked up to remote power to operate it. I don't know. Maybe this is a demonstration vehicle that came from Federal to demonstrate the siren. Well I don't know about that either. I just noticed that the truck has a Washington license tag on the front. Maybe the Federal sales rep. was in Washington. Who knows... Just another unanswerable question lost in the forgotten history of civil defense. I emailed the archives and they were kind enough to take the time to scan the negatives for some high resolution photos.

I received an e-mail from Larry Price from Seattle in Feb 2005 concerning this photo. Here are Mr.Price's comments.....

"Mr. Green:
I recently came across your website by accident, and spotted the two Seattle pictures of the siren mounted on the Ford pickup truck. I am an employee of the City of Seattle, and can (if nothing else) give you the exact location that the pictures were taken at. The site is the East side of the Southern approach to the Freemont Drawbridge. It is now and has been for many years the location of our Drawbridge Operations and Maintenance Shop. This bridge is one of several drawbridges across the Ship Canal that bisects the city from East to West. From the license plate, I strongly suspect that this truck belonged to the City. I can't imagine a more unlikely place to test a siren, unless they wanted to minimize it's sound impact on the surrounding area. There is a very steep and high bluff located not far behind where the photographer would have been standing. An earth embankment as well as the concrete bridge structure are blocking sound to the West. Some of the buildings seen in the background still exist."


Just click on each photo to see the larger photo.
I have a photo of the RCM cabinet above on the controls page of my Thunderbolt Restoration.


Federal 2T22 Allen, Texas
The Federal 2T22 is probably the nicest sounding of all the dual-tone Civil Defense sirens. The 2T22 is essentially 2 sirens using one motor. The upper section of the siren has 12 ports and the lower has 10 ports resulting in 2 tones produced. I'm not sure what the production span of this siren was. I'm guessing it came out in the 1960s some time and then Federal stopped production in the late 1980s or early 1990s. There is also another version of this siren, the 3T22 which is capable of producing the fire signal. See a detailed explanation of the 3T22 here.
Click the photo to see a larger version.

Smashed 2t22Here is a 2T22 in Richardson Texas that must have fallen over. It is missing 4 horns and the other horns are bent. It is mounted on a new telephone pole but the concrete footing for the old metal pole mount was still there. The horns must have been badly flattened so they just removed them.

Fort Worth Whelen and ThunderboltI would like to thank the Assistant Emergency Management Director of Fort Worth Texas for sending this photo. Fort Worth's new siren system is installed and the old sirens were taken down in 2007.