Edward Alfred Graham founded the British Company Alfred Graham & Co. Unfortunately, there exists very little information about this Company and its founder. According to some sources, Alfred Graham & Co. started its operations at the end of the 1880s, when the phone was only beginning to develop. At their factory in Halifax (Canada), they began to produce characteristic wall-mounted telephones for ships. There is not much information about these telephones either, most information coming from the archives on ship history or specialized catalogs.
The so-called marine telephones were significantly different from the usual models, as they were applied in a very specific environment. The constant vibration of the engines, as well as atmospheric corrosion (from salt in the air or from the ash or coal dust in the boiler) are obviously not conducive to good communication. Therefore it was necessary to improve these devices. Alfred Graham & Co. undertook this task.
Phones for vehicles were made of heavy brass, which has high corrosion resistance. Parts of the casing had very close fitting that blocked salty air from infiltrating into the electrical parts. Phones used large diaphragms to ensure the highest possible level of sound. In noisy environments telephone receivers were equipped with special tubes to further enhance the sound. Alarm buzzers were also preferred.
To overcome the unreliability of a ship's power supply, Graham returned to the original Bell's sensor (electrodynamic model). For the Bell phone, with such a structure, the transmission range of sound was too limited, although the strength of the signal over short distances seemed quite adequate
In contrast, for marine communications systems this type of sensor, given the limited distance on the ship, was well suited. These sensors were reliable and were therefore an acceptable option on warships, where the battery might suffer damage during the combat. In 1898 most of the British fleet was equipped with Graham telephones.
The Company prospered most during the period 1900-20, when there was an increase in the construction of large ships and warships. On many famous ships, not only the UK ones, Graham machines were used. The new plant, built in Brackley in 1911, helped to meet increased demand. And by 1919, the Graham Company could proudly claim that it produced devices that were installed on 12,000 ships.
By the end of the First World War, the Company was in a great financial position, but the decline in orders was inevitable. The number of contracts with warships dropped: those who remained in the service did not require re-equipment for many years. The Company needed a change of direction. In 1924 the head office moved to London.
The new firm Graham Amplion, established in 1920, began producing loudspeakers, phonographs, and later, its own wireless receivers. Branches were opened in the U.S. and Canada.
However, they continued to manufacture ship's communications systems.
With the end of World War II, during which business was not very successful, the story ended for Graham Amplion.