Is this technology obsolete? I suspect so, but I don’t really know what it is. Some kind of teletype? Actually, there seem to be several different things going on here and I don’t understand any of them. Also, I can only guess where they were, although I have to assume it was in the Army ROTC building. So basically what I’m saying is that I know nothing about this.
I do love the Rice Institute patches on their jackets, though.
The right-hand machine appears to be the same as the left-hand machine, just opened up. They appear to be very similar to Model 19 Teletypes (see http://www.railroad-signaling.com/tty/tty.html). Although it would not be surprising if they were a special military version costing a lot more than the commercial version.
Those are great patches. I’d love to have one.
Thanks to a partial label on the back machine and great detail in the scan, that is a Teletype TT-55/MGC. It weighed 60 pounds.
The racks above their heads appear to be shortwave radios. At the back, we see a Collins 51J (military ID is R-388) receiver, a classic. The military
Above the receiver, the rack is labeled as a cabinet in a AN/GRC-26A system. After a quick search, that was a shelter mounted HF RTTY (shortwave radio teletype) communications system. I think “shelter-mounted” means it was on the back of a truck. I bet it got really hot in there with all that vacuum tube equipment. The 400W transmitter is out of sight, down by their feet. Wool uniforms, too.
Here is some info about the AN/GRC-26. You can see that the radio mounting is considerably improved in the “A” version. It appears that the “A” version was first produced in 1953.
There is a diagram of the system on the wall.
Finally, there is an amateur radio QSL card from W5VT. In 1954, that call sign was held by William J. Wilkinson Jr. That might be an anti-aircraft gun on the card, perhaps W5VT participated in MARS, the amateur radio auxiliary for the US military.