• Welcome to The Fedora Lounge!

Vintage Phones

Discussion in 'The Display Case' started by Nick Charles, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. I first bought a phone as decoration and then, because I didn't liked it's just decoration, I visited local O[SUB]2 [/SUB]shop and ordered service for receiving calls. Indeed my friends laughed at me, but installation was free and monthly fee is 289,- CZK as long as I don't call anywhere (outgoing call connection fee is 6,- CZK)
  2. Flicka

    Flicka One Too Many

    I think you are saying you want to switch from an IP-based phone service (usually over a cable or fibre network) to an analog, copper-based one? Nothing weird with that if you still have a copper line available. Like Lizzie said, it has the added bonus of working during a power outage (though for storms, I'd like to add the caveat that in certain rural areas, phone lines can be above ground and may be affected independently of power).

    I went all mobile last year, but I'm going back to a copper-based POTS for exactly the same reasons.
  3. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    I think Gin & Tonics and I are asking the same question ( right?) My situation is that I recently switched to Uverse, which bundles my internet, phone, and satellite. Before I got the wireless connection I was able to use my vintage phones, but apparently Uverse is the kiss of death to them.

    I pretty much need the internet to be able to do my job, so I can't get rid of that, but I'm thinking of cancelling the phone from the bundle & having a separate analog line installed. I'm so happy to know that folks on this forum are supportive of that idea. My friends & family looked as though I had lobsters crawling out of my ears when I first broached the subject.

    Gin & Tonics, I was told that the modern digital services don't work with copper-based phones. If you're only concerned about pulse vs. dialing, I recall that LizzieMaine posted something about a gizmo that allows you to do that without paying for a $200 converter. I think it may have been in this thread.

    I have one other question for Giftmacher: what is O2?
  4. Flicka

    Flicka One Too Many

    The phone itself isn't copper-based but it's made for interacting with a copper network and can't recieve info from, for example, fibre. Basically, without getting technical and discussing packet switching, exchanges and IP-layers. And O2 is an operator who is, I think, active in several European countries.

    It's no use discussing operators, because it doesn't matter which operator you use. What matters is the type of network and underlying infrastructure. In some cases, the same operator uses different types of infrastructure in different places. Like here, most operators offer services both ove copper (like ADSL broadband) as well as fibre (either FTTH or FTTB), so just saying you have, for example, Telia (biggest Swedish operator) says nothing about what type of service you have in itself.
  5. Gin&Tonics

    Gin&Tonics Practically Family

    My service runs entirely over the pre-existing (and fairly old, technologically speaking) cable TV network. Pretty sure we don't have fibre optics in our area, so we're talking traditional copper co-axial television cable infrastructure. Basically my phones are connected to a "modem" which sends and receives signals over a TV coax cable. My internet is run on the same cabling, but via a separate computer cable modem.

    It seems to me that it should work as far as the communications end of things, since we just have plain old phones plugged into the modem, but I just wonder if the modem is able to interpret rotary dial signals as it was designed and built in an age when rotary phones are basically extinct.

    What do our tech experts on the forum think?
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  6. Argee

    Argee One of the Regulars

    There is no reason a bundled modem system should prevent rotaries from calling out. That's what kind of system I have and it works fine. However, the equipment to read pulses is further upstream and if your phone company has removed it then you won't be able to call out.
  7. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    After several hours' worth of conversations with various phone customer service people, I have discovered that I can switch my phone line back to analog, because the old copper wires are still present in my house. So all is well in St. Louis. By Wednesday all my vintage phones will be ringing again.

    Really appreciate the input. I've learned a great deal from this discussion, thanks.
  8. Gin&Tonics

    Gin&Tonics Practically Family

    Very interesting. I guess I will either try to source a very cheap one to try out or maybe ask them if they work on their system. Thanks for the info!
  9. If you get your cable modem from whatever your telephone company has mutated into in these sad and sorry post-Bell System days you should still be able to get pulse dialing to work -- it would cost more to remove the infrastructure for that service than it's worth to them. If you get your cable modem from a cable or internet company that was never an actual *telephone company,* you might have issues.

    There are "pulse to tone" converters that you can attatch between your phone and whatever line you connect it into -- these turn the rotary pulses into standard DTMF tones that would work on any phone line. As long as your modem thingie puts out the required -48 volts of DC to make the phone itself functional, you should be able to get one of these to work. You'd still dial it as usual, but it would take a moment to generate the tones and send them down the line before your call actually goes thru. I don't bother with one of these, since I still have plain old copper wires that go back to New England Telephone days, but they do work.

    When I absolutely need a tone for whatever reason, I have a 1980s vintage Radio Shack "pocket tone dialer" that I hold up to the mouthpiece and send the tones down the line that way. It's fiddly, but it works.
  10. Weston

    Weston A-List Customer

    I have Vonage at the office and a local cable provider, Suddenlink at home. Rotaries work on both systems for me. My wife thinks I'm nuts.
  11. vitanola

    vitanola My Mail is Forwarded Here

    The old Panasonic 308 and 616 hybrid telephone systems, of which millions were sold between 1985 and 1997 are splendid for collectors or users of old telephones. They are largely obsolete as business telephone systems, but they may be set up as small branch telephone exchanges, allowing one to dial from room to room, or dial "9" for an outside line. They also may be programmed to automatically convert dial pulses to tone, allowing one to use an antique telephone even when checking one's banking information, should one so choose.

  12. Gin&Tonics

    Gin&Tonics Practically Family

    All this information sounds extremely promising! I think I'll take the plunge if I come across a sufficiently attractive vintage telephone :D My wife will REALLY think I've gone off my rocker!

    Thanks for all the info, ladies and gents!
  13. Gin&Tonics

    Gin&Tonics Practically Family

    The 21st century answer to the pocket tone dialer, at least in the UK!

    I figured somebody had to have done this, so I googled and there it is. I imagine you could use this thing to dial out on an old candlestick phone with no rotary dial, or any phone that will interface with the wiring, for that matter, provided it's near enough to your computer speakers!

    edit: Here's one that works in Canada. Confirmed by testing on my portable this afternoon :D
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  14. Thanks for a very useful link!
  15. Bingles

    Bingles A-List Customer

    Pulse to tone converters

    For those who use phone systems (digital or otherwise) that do not recognize pulse dialing, I highly recommend this pulse to tone converter: http://www.dialgizmo.com/

    It is very easy to use.. just "plug and play".

    Also.. for those who have scrapped the traditional land line (like myself) I also highly recommend this device: http://www.amazon.com/Xtreme-Techno...?ie=UTF8&qid=1345413551&sr=8-1&keywords=xlink

    It allows you to use your rotary telephone on your cell phone via bluetooth. Basically, you activate the device and sync it with your cell. Leave the cell near the router... plug in your rotary phone... use only the rotary phone. You can then make calls through the rotary and receive them as well.

    I have used this device for years and it's great. The key is that you keep the cell near the router at all times for a clear connection. For me, I have the router under my nightstand. When I'm home, the phone stays on the night stand and I use my rotary phones for all calls. -- I have three connected via phone cables discreetly run through the apartment.. and have never had a problem. Currently my WE candlestick, 202 and 302 are all run on this device. Love it!
  16. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    I new there was an earlier post on this. How far away is your farthest phone with a hard line? Just curious if you could if you could put the router in one room and then hard wire the rest of the house?
  17. Bingles

    Bingles A-List Customer

    The phone in the living room is connected via a 25 foot cord.
  18. Bingles

    Bingles A-List Customer

    If you live on two floors I suggest two routers.. one on each floor.. and simply move your cell with you... but other than that, there really shouldn't be a problem running cords from the router to other rooms.
  19. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Thanks, I really appreciate that!
  20. Gin&Tonics

    Gin&Tonics Practically Family

    Okay folks, this thread officially gave me the bug. I went out antique hunting today, hoping to somehow find a nice vintage phone somewhere after long, arduous searching, and lo and behold the first antique shop I go to in the morning, I find not one, not two, but six or seven vintage rotary phones! After checking another shop at which I found yet another lovely vintage phone, I settled on this beauty:
    As you can see, it has the original cloth handset cord and the original wall cord. It's a little bit grimy and the 1 is almost completely gone, but other than that it's really in good shape. Nothing I figure a little TLC won't fix.
    Here's the end of the wall cord:
    Obviously not usable like this, but I figure that I should be able to splice on a new modern jack plug onto the old wire and we should be away to the races. I've seen this mod done on phones offered on ebay (for nearly $200, in many cases). Perhaps someone on the Lounge has done this fix and can explain the wiring arrangement to me?

    It was listed at $55; I offered $50 and they took it. Did I do well?

    Edit: Also, if anyone has any tips on how to properly polish up one of these old bakelite phones, please let me know! :D

Share This Page