"The phone is a remarkably complex, simple device,
and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

Main Menu

Been here over 1 year so time for an introduction

Started by xtal_01, March 06, 2019, 11:25:36 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


OMG !!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am a history buff and have been to a fair number of museums but I have never seen sooooooo many phones in one place!!!!!!!

Phones just kind of make sense for me ... they tie a lot of my interests together.  I am 56 (born in 1962) so I grew up with rotary phones.  I am a machinist by trade so the mechanics of them are interesting.  I have a good understanding of basic electricity .. and some electronics (I keep a few old tube radios going ... an old juke box ... an old arcade game).

I only have 6 phones now .... but as my budget allows, I will keep collecting.

I do have two old magneto wall phones (late 20's ... Federal and Leich).  I got one of them a few years back and the other a few weeks ago.  I am just waiting on a receiver and some new cords ... I hooked them together the other day and I did get them to ring each other!  I still need some battery artwork (anyone have any they want to "share") so I can build a few #6 reproduction batteries.

Short version of a long story ... born and raised in Canada (near Niagara Falls) .... moved to SC in the 90's to marry a woman I met there ... became a US citizen ... my wife passed away.  I was working at Westinghouse Nuclear so I thought I would stay there (cheap to live) .... but then I met a woman in Vermont.  She was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a diving accident when she was 12.  She works up here and her health insurance is tied to the State and her job so I moved up her about 10 years ago.  She had never traveled as she needs care every 4 hours so I converted an old RV ... cut a new door, built a wheelchair lift and installed a hospital bed.  We did a bit of traveling but then started building a house ... it was almost impossible to find an accessible house and finding an open floor plan, large doors and things like a roll in shower.  We lived (froze when winter temps hit -30 .... -60 with wind chill) in the RV on site so I could build the house.  Took me 5 years. I even built the elevator ($40K to buy one ... used the mast off an old forklift ... cost me $2K).  It is "almost" done ... just a bunch of finishing but at least we are living in it and warm.  I am working out of the house ... general repair work, electrical control panels, ...this lets me earn a living and take care of my wife.  I have the pad poured for the workshop ... with some luck, I will build it this summer.

Here is a link to a small simple panel I built a while back:

I have also attached a picture of the RV lift (paid $18K for the RV ... they wanted $25 for a lift ... think I had $1K in mine).

Thanks so much again ...... Mike


Welcome to the Forum, Mike! I think you more than illustrate the old adage "necessity is the mother of invention."

Many of us are tinkerers or are descended from tinkerers. Both my grandfathers were. My father's father would invent things in his garage. You should have seen the sled he made out of stainless steel sheeting. It went over snow like a boat on the water. All his grandchildren used to take turns using it. He used wooden pieces on each side to keep the shape correct. I don't know how we didn't injure ourselves on that thing, but we didn't. I guess our hills here in Piedmont NC were not so hilly, and snows were not terribly deep, so we didn't have a dangerous place to sled or many times to use it.

You are so right about houses not being handicapped accessible. My mom and I designed my house and my dad was the local building inspector. When the same grandfather I mentioned above came for lunch in his wheelchair not long after I moved in, I found out the hard way that neither of my bathrooms could accommodate a wheelchair. And here my mom was a former Exceptional Children's teacher and supervisor and she dealt with the rights of the handicapped all the time. I guess we never thought that far in the future and we had a budget and square footage restriction from the FmHA loan I had that made it impossible.

When you get a chance, please post some pictures of your phones. We love pictures.


Welcome Mike, your a busy busy guy. God bless you for your help with your wife, and the knowledge of transforming an RV to be so adept for doing what you do with your family.
Look forward to seeing your phones in your collection.
Good job.
Edit: I just looked at the facebook post, awesome work on that panel! You do great work and neatly done as well.
I'm over in New Hampshire, so we're kind of neighbors.



Thanks guys!

My dad use to say "you are limited by your imagination and your pocket book".  Well, I never had a lot of money but I did have a vivid imagination.  If I think long enough, I can usually work through most problems and find a practical (meaning affordable) solution.

Like I said ... $18K for an old RV and they wanted $25K for a lift .... not in my book.

Same as an elevator.  Sure, I know there is all kinds of liability and insurance but who can afford $40K!  The electric forklift cost me $850 ... $200 to deliver it ... I stripped off the mast, welded up some new legs, brought it in the house myself rolling it along on pieces of pipe and raised it in place with a chainfalls.  I have a simple hydraulic pump/reservoir for now.  I have purchased a hydraulic flow valve that has a 4-20 mA input.  I will wire it up with a small PLC when I get the chance.  This way I can start slow ... accelerate .... slow down near the top.  It will get the "bump" out of the ride when starting or stopping.  A real plus is that it is rated for 3000 lbs (most home elevators can handle 500 lbs).  Even if the line breaks, I have velocity fuses to hold the car ... plus I did a test and with the small 3/8 tubing I used, it comes down "relatively" slow (well my wife says it is still fast but at least it does not "drop").

The first post was moved here (a split off) by the moderator (thanks .... good idea). 

Here was my original post:;topicseen#new

I was (am) trying to find the correct dial for an AE40 I am working on.

I will definitely put up pictures and maybe even a video.  I am getting excited about getting my two old magneto wall phones hooked together.  I have all the parts for the Federal (1920's).  The receiver for my Leich (1929) should be in soon (from Phoneco, mine was cracked).  I also found on ebay the "correct" 5 bar magnet for it (the 3 bar works but the ID # ... 105A ... says it came with a 5 bar).  I wired them together the other day and they do ring each other!!!!!!

I need to make some production batteries now (I did a search and found lots of info on them).  I found some battery labels for free (and some for sale but $28 for two seems pretty high).  I am still looking for some old ones (maybe some "blue bell" or ??? from the late 20's).   If anyone has any for a #6 battery and are willing to share, I would greatly appreciate it!

Also, still looking for parts for the AE40 and two Leich convertibles (605 and 705).

Thanks .... Mike


Welcome Mike. You have found the best forum on the net for old phones.
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"


Welcome!  Looks like you are making a good life for you and your wife.  Good luck!
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
— Arthur C. Clarke


I'm glad you're thinking about the safety of the elevator, in case of a failure that's extremely important.
Sounds like you're really thinking of all aspects of that system. Ingenious idea taking a forklift apart and using the mast to lift and lower the car. You have quite a back ground in everything you need to get the job done, congrats.