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Vintage Phones

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

  1. That's a nice 302. I think $50 is a pretty fair retail price on one.
  2. Gin&Tonics

    Gin&Tonics Practically Family

    Kilroy, I just realized I own an identical marble top table to the one you have there. Huh, small world!
  3. Gin&Tonics

    Gin&Tonics Practically Family

    Okay, bump and a more specific question.

    Upon closer examination, the cord on my 302 has four wires inside. Black, Red, Yellow and Green. The modular jacks I currently have are all of the four slot variety. Here are my questions:

    1. Are these the correct modular connectors?

    2. What is the colour sequence I need to use? I know that the slots are numbered 1-4 when you hold the connector with the contacts facing up and pointed away from you.

    I found an article on Wikipedia which seems to suggest that the correct sequence would be Black, Red, Green, Yellow, but I want to confirm with someone who's actually done it.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I just want to make sure I wire this bad boy properly so I don't fry something!

    EDIT: Success!!

    Unfortunately the adaptation of the old phone cable was not as quick and easy as I had hoped; the old gauge of wire used in the original cable was too fat to fit into a modern modular plug. The wires simply wouldn't fit. Upon close examination, I could see that the old wires are about 2/3 bigger than the new ones used in telephone cabling. I thought about this problem for a while and I decided that rather than opening up the phone and replacing the old cable from the unit, I would instead keep the original cable and splice on a short section of new cable with a modular plug attached.

    Fortunately, I had a modern telephone cable that actually uses the old color scheme, confirming that indeed the sequence is Black, Red, Green, Yellow. I spliced the old cable to the new one by wrapping the strands together and then wrapping each of those in electrical tape, then finally wrapping the whole kludge job in electrical tape. It's ugly, but it works!

    I was also pleasantly surprised to find that my cable phone provider does indeed support pulse dialing, so the good old rotary dial is back in action :D W0000t!

    I made several calls already, but nobody is answering! >.< ah well.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012
  4. bill82

    bill82 New in Town

    picked up an old(er) Stromberg Carlson for a song. Its wired for modular plug in, but my cable company doesnt support pulse dialing - very bummed! I did check it on my buddies line and it worked fanastic (incoming and outgoing). it will take up a nice decorative place on my desk for now.
  5. they make converters for just such a problem.


  6. Gin&Tonics

    Gin&Tonics Practically Family

    If there happens to be a computer with speakers on that desk, you can use the phone in the interim by having the computer do the dialing for you! Use one of the tone generators listed in my post: http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?5720-Vintage-Phones/page76

    I bet Canada and the USA are the same, so try the Canadian one and see if it works. All you have to do is hold the mouthpiece up to the speaker and have the generator create the tones. It's pretty nifty in itself; I was tickled the first time I tried it and it worked :D
  7. Bingles

    Bingles A-List Customer

    I highly recommend the dialgizmo: http://www.dialgizmo.com/

    I use it on my AE40 to connect it to my bluetooth router so my phone will operate through my cell phone's network. For some reason, Western Electric dials go through just fine whereas Automatic Electric dials need the pule to tone converter. Just plug the phone into it, plug the converter into the phone jack and you're ready to go.

    I always hate to see classic phones just sitting on the shelf.. they were made to be used :)
  8. rjb1

    rjb1 Practically Family

    I have looked at all 77 pages of this thread and have not found a picture of an old phone of the type I just bought. It's a Western Electric 329 with a last patent date of 1915. It's unique(?) feature is that the candlestick is mounted on a scissors-mount that has a formed socket for an ~ 3/8 inch diameter pin mounting at the wall (or phone booth). (the mount would be able to rotate around the pin.)
    The scissors retract to about 6 inches from the mount to as much as (almost) 2 1/2 feet at the maximum.
    I am trying to remember if I have seen anything like this in a Laurel &Hardy movie or something from that time, but so far can't think of anything.
    Were these used in phone booths, on a pedestal mount for use on a desk, or ?
    Any information would be appreciated.
  9. I just saw one at an online auction. It was a scissors phone. Can't give you any info but just saw one.
  10. That was an early iteration of the "space saver" phone idea, intended to be used in a busy, crowded environment like a railroad ticket office or a dispatch desk, where having a phone that sat on a desk was inconvenient. They were often used with a headphone receiver, and the transmitter mount would be swung in and out of use as needed. You likely wouldn't find one in a private home.
  11. Brasso brand brass polish worked wonders on my old black WE 302, although I doubt that it, and your old phone, are truly Bakelite. It's some other kind of plastic, I believe, although I would gladly defer to others who are much better versed in such things.

    In any case, the Brasso took off the residue of some old sticker or something that had been on the phone, just below the dial, before I bought it, more than 30 years ago now. I thought that stuff would never come off without damaging the surface, but the Brasso did wonders.
  12. Young fogey

    Young fogey One of the Regulars


    Plugged in at home.
  13. Oof. Seeing a phone from my own youth posted here in Vintage Phones makes me feel old.
  14. Very nice WE 500!

    Don't let it make you feel old, that design made its debut in 1949, and probably first started going into homes in 1950.

  15. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

  16. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

    Not sure about the Pall Mall's next to it, maybe Virginia Slims! Still, a cool old phone. It's a shame that modern cordless phones can't have a little style like your old phone.
  17. Gin&Tonics

    Gin&Tonics Practically Family

    It really depends whether your provider supports pulse dialing. I have cable home phone provided by Shaw Cable Systems, and for some peculiar reason, their modem is designed to accept pulse signals as well as tone. I have a Western Electric Model 302, probably 1940's vintage, sitting on my desk. All functions working just fine. All I did was kludge a modern modular plug onto the old cable and voila!

    Even if your provider doesn't support pulse dialing, you can still receive calls on an old rotary unit, AND you can dial out if you have a computer with speakers near the phone. You can use an online tone generator to produce the desired tone sequence and just hold the phone receiver up to the speakers. I've done it and it works like a charm!
  18. For best and most dependable results, use rotary phones with a POTS telelphone line -- Plain Old Telephone Service, with ordinary copper wiring -- preferably from a company that was once part of the Bell System. Anything that comes bundled with Cable TV and internet service, or that has the words "digital!" or "VOIP" in its description, or comes from a company with no established infrastructure aside from a room full of servers, may or may not work, or may require adapters or converters.

    The computer-speaker trick works -- it's the same principle as the "Pocket Tone Dialers" that were sold in the '80s which you held up to your phone transmitter to use touch-tone answering systems. You can still find these gadgets cheap on eBay and such places, and they work fine. However, they still require analog phone service -- if your line is truly *digital* you need a digital-to-analog converter before you can use any conventional phone on it.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  19. Fastuni

    Fastuni Call Me a Cab

    My vintage phone has yet to be brought back to it's former shine - but it is rare enough - especially finding it by chance on German ebay. :)

    A Siemens W48 for the Iranian Market with Persian numbers and placard denoting: Sherkat-e Saham-i Telefon Iran ("Telephone stock corporation Iran")... revealing the age of the phone: prior to the privatization wave of the 60's phones were the responsibility of the Ministry of Post and Telegraphs.
    This particular phone can be dated by the stamps to around 1964.
    But as we all know the appearance of the W48 was virtually unchanged from the 1930's W38.

    (The Ad is for the W38 and dates from 1940, praising the increasing international sales.)

    Lots of polishing sessions awaiting me... the damaged finger-disk already has a replacement. I also will let go of the thick cord for a more classy one. ;)

    Best Regards
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  20. rjb1

    rjb1 Practically Family

    I was watching the 1931 version of "The Front Page" with Pat O'Brien and Adolphe Menjou and noticed something about the phones that raised a question in my mind.
    The main part of the movie occurs in a press room at a prison and the reporters are constantly using a bunch of phones there.
    What struck me as odd was that most of the phones had the mouthpiece missing. The first one I saw made me think that they just had a negligent prop man, but after watching carefully, the majority of the phones didn't have them.
    I was wondering if it was the technique of the time to take those off to make the microphones less directional. The reporters in many cases tended to hold the phones down at chest level.
    My feeling was/is that if something necessary was missing, the audiences of the time would have noticed and if they were using the phones in an unrealistic way, they would have noticed that, also.

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