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and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

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Lamp Phone Atrocities!

Started by Greg G., May 06, 2009, 12:43:09 AM

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well, after archiving my AE 87 Phone collection and switching back to good 'ol Western Electric, I found this on ebay today! 3 years ago, I had about 10 86A phones that I scrapped out for parts and discarded... if I had only known I could have done this, I might of.... what a way to keep and old phone around....   John


Someone posted about that listing a day or two ago.  I have seen a number of phones mutilated in that way.  I don't know if they are all victims of the same  psychopath or not.  When he/she does this to a med blue 500, the outrage will be overwhelming.



If you wanted to do that 'properly' you'd drop the granny-style lampshade and use halogen or leds recessed into the receiver.

In fact you could probably do that with leds round the receiver capsule and keep the phone working.


I think the only light-related modification I'd do to a phone would be to put a couple of LEDs either side of the clear hookswitch buttons, and have those light up when the handset is lifted, and that's it, but I probably won't cos I'm too lazy to work it out... :D

But yeah, it's horrible the way people must insist on turning perfectly useable things into practically useless desk lamps... :(

I mean, you can't use the phone as, say, a phone, and whether or not it can be restored back to it's original state, well, who knows, cos they're most likely trashed the handset, and drilled holes into the base or case to mount the "arm" for the lamp assembly, so it'd probably need more parts than it's worth sadly... :(


To me it's like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.


When I saw the title to this post I immediately thought : "Make a tacky Lamp out of it" 

I guess it beats grinding them up and melting it down for the copper.  I posted to a different board about this, thought you might find it interesting:

When I was in High School, AT&T built a phone recycling center near me in  Gaston SC.  I worked one summer constructing concrete forms to pour footings for an expansion.

There were several acers filled with huge mounds of different kinds of telephones piled higher than my head, Wire of all sorts and any sort of PBX  and switching equipment you could name.

It all went into a sorting shed on a conveyor where the plastic was stripped out and the metal went into various smelters. They shipped out lots of copper ingots and occasionally some gold ingots. The first gold ingot they produced was a big deal in the papers with politicians all a smiling.

I remember thinking at the time "Geeze, what a shame to grind up all these neat looking old phones."

I quote:

"In 1987, four secondary copper smelters were in operation: ...and a facility located in Gaston, SC, that was owned by American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) until 1990 when it was purchased by Southwire Co. In 1987, estimated smelter capacities were... 85,000 kkg for the AT&T facility (Edelstein, 1999). "

One KiloGram  = 2.2 pounds so one kkg =  2200 pounds and  I guess 85,000 kkg  is then about  187,000,000 pounds per year or about 93,500 tons a year if I carried the noughts right in my calculations. It was a huge operation.

"By 1995, only three of these four facilities were in operation. The Southwire facility in Gaston (previously owned by AT&T) was closed in January 1995.
... Prior to 1990, when this facility was owned by AT&T, the plant processed a great deal of high-plastics-content scrap (such as whole telephones).  This scrap was fed to a pyrolysis unit prior to entering the blast furnace. In addition to a blast furnace, the facility also had an oxidizing reverberatory furnace for processing higher purity scrap. "

Even given that some of that was Central office equipment, Switchboards and PBX  and pulled out transmission wire, If you think about it, that was a hella lot of telephone Lamps that AT&T took out of circulation.


ans that was the policy! if I remember reading, during WWII the policy was to destroy any and all telecommunications equipment so the enemy couldnt use it.... wonder what they would think if they started to see things like this back in the 40's.... I guess we are our own enemy, right?????


Exactly, The Bell system was determined to keep it out of the hands of Lamp makers and other undesirables. 

thus the slogan: "We had to destroy it in order to save it"


Another one bites the dust and to add insult to injury, the seller states he/she did it  ". . . to give this old phone a new life suitable for any type of decor."

And it can be yours for only $129.99 BIN (plus shipping).

Sadly shaking my head on the seller's note "PLEASE NOTE: This is a vintage phone and has a few nicks, scratches and discolorations. Look closely at each photograph. These factors must play into your buying decision. You are buying character! :)"

Sold for $99 with one bid.


Quote from: TelePlay on July 07, 2012, 07:22:10 AMYou are buying character!

I think that character was lost when the phone was damaged by the person's attempt to give it a new life... ::)


I truly hope that this was not an actual phone that has been converted into a lamp..
Ben K...  1960 WE 500 and 1972 SC 554   Always enjoying the sound of a phone with a bell ringer ringing....


I shortened your ebaY link up by several hundred characters! I've posted the picture here as well so that a month or two from now when the ebaY link disappears, anyone reading this thread can still see what the discussion was about.

There are lots of lamps out there made from phones. There were even Junior Achievement clubs sponsored by phone companies that converted phones into lamps and sold them as an intro to business for youngsters.

My opinion is always that the particular phone in question was saved from the scrap yard by being converted into a lamp. Had it not turned into a lamp it wouldn't be with us today. It is frustrating on occasion when it happens to be a particularly rare or valuable phone that was modified.



thanks, i would of shortened it with tiny url, but wasnt sure if this forum supports tiny url, as another forum i'm on doesnt support it. I just hope it wasnt a truly valuable one.. and i agree if its made into a lamp, atleast its still getting to hang around with a new use.. I dont have a problem with doing stuff like that unless you destroy something good to do so.. even though i would much rather see it restored to working condition.. 
Ben K...  1960 WE 500 and 1972 SC 554   Always enjoying the sound of a phone with a bell ringer ringing....


Yes tinyURL works here though I never use it. I just shorten the ebaY link by chopping off everything that follows  /itm/  except for the 12 digit number. Occasionally the super lonk links casue problems on this forum by widening the page for users of some browsers so that they can no longer see the buttons on the bottom to reply.

I have 4 phone lamps that I can think of at the moment, two AE 40's, one AE 50 and an AE 1A.

Some of the candlestick lamps were done in a way that is easy to undo, and others weren't. SOme have a bracket for the lamp post and shade fastened to the phone by the bolt through the perch so it can all be easily removed. Doesn't look like this one was done that way though.



It's funny how incandescent bulbs over there look a lot whiter than incandescent bulbs over here...

Anyway, it is sad to see vintage phones modified into lamps, especially the ones where they drill holes through pretty much everything to get the lamp assembly in place, and ruining the shells and handsets (some examples I think are in the ugly phones thread), and also removing internal hardware to make room, so they're beyond repair or restoration... :(

Things like that candlestick are generally repairable though, so in the right hands it could be used again at some point... :)