Western Electric model 354Released in 1937, Western Electric’s model 302 was a significant evolutionary step, one that served subscribers loyally for nearly twenty years. They now enjoy a good deal of popularity among old phone enthusiasts, those who can appreciate their sound design, classic styling and historical significance. Now days the 302 is often called the “Lucy phone”, apparently named by those whose pre-1980 knowledge was obtained from TV reruns. Upon completion of the design Henry Dreyfuss and his team began work on a companion wall-mount version, the model 354. Its release was intended to follow closely on the heels of the 302’s introduction, but then World War II came into play. The shift to wartime production had the unfortunate consequence of delaying the 354’s release until 1946, only three years before Western Electric released their revolutionary new desk phone, the model 500.
The 354 used the same electrical/mechanical components as the 302 of the time, including the #6 dial, 101B induction coil, F1 handset, and B2 ringer. The first 302s had zinc alloy housings, but soon switched to thermoplastics for their construction, the material employed on all 354s. The model 554, a wall version of the 500, came out in 1956, so after roughly nine years of production the 354 rode off into the sunset. Read the rest of this entry »