§ MR. JOHN CAMPBELL (Armagh, S.)
To ask the Postmaster-General whether he can state the sum expended on telephone instruments in connection with the new system up to date; how much of this amount has been spent on instruments manufactured in England and how much on instruments manufactured in Sweden, Antwerp, and America; and whether he can give the patent number of the instruments which he is compelled to purchase from foreign firms.
(Answered by Lord Stanley.) The sum expended on telephone instruments for the new system in London could not be given without a careful analysis extending over four years, and this would involve much labour and expense. The amount expended on stores of all kinds for the telephone system of the whole country during the four years is £1,328,966. Of this amount about £176,500 was spent on articles manufactured abroad; but most of this was on account of central battery switchboards and their equipment, which are patented, the patent numbers being as follows: No. 20,099(1890); 4,427(1892); 4,428(1892); 17,160(1892); 3,831(1893); 9,638(1893); 8,222(1895); 11,548(1895); 11,549 (1895); 18,613 (1898); 6,712 (1899); 24,718 (1899); 10,124 (1900). Telephones for the use of subscribers have had to be obtained from abroad from time to time because they could not be obtained in this country; but I am glad to say that British companies are now prepared to manufacture them, and I hope I shall be able to reduce more and more the amount spent with foreign manufacturers.