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Who Amongst Us Has The Oldest 500?

Started by HobieSport, November 26, 2008, 09:53:35 PM

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What's your oldest mostly original 500?

I have a '49, but don't tell anyone.
1 (0.9%)
11 (9.8%)
19 (17%)
25 (22.3%)
68 (60.7%)

Total Members Voted: 112

Dennis Markham


Those early sets were marked on the front of the base rather than up near the ringer volume wheel---as yours is marked.  My 1950 is also marked that way.  I don't recall when the move was made or why.  But that's another clue to look for when searching eBay.  If you see that marking it a sure sign of an early set. 



Quote from: Dennis Markham on November 27, 2008, 07:32:09 PM
Never say never...maybe there's one out there.  More likely a Model 302 or 354.  What month?  I'll keep my eyes open.

Attached are a couple of photos.  I actually have two black cases dated 4-22-55-3.  The third shift (I was born on the afternoon shift too).  On this one the date is a little worn but is in the best condition and was part of the original phone so I don't want to swap them out.  It is the phone that appears at the top of my web site.


October 1949.

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson

Dennis Markham


I don't know if they made Sunday phones, but I don't think so.  You'll have to just watch for one that is close.  I'll keep that in mind too as I rummage through phones....if I see one close to Jan 31, 1965 I'll grab it...whatever color.

I just got lucky on mine in that the seller had it for sale on eBay.  He displayed photos of the elements and all the parts showing dates.  How often does that happen?  I noticed it was my birthday and e-mailed him.  I had bought phones from him in the past so he derived a price and ended the auction.  A week later it was on my desk.  He's a very honest seller that goes by the name of triple7design (on eBay).  He will often have some nice phones for sale.  He recently moved from the Dallas-Ft Worth area to the Seattle, WA area.



My 500 is a Frankenstein. One element from '55, base and network 11/58, dial from '62, and shell from '63. And a G1 handset.
Like I posted earlier, I acquired it before '68, I know I never changed anything in it. I don't remember where or how I got it, time dims memory!


Mine is the one I've mentioned in other threads, a 10/50.  I replaced the handset cord on it with a NOS 1967 that has the original style reinforcement on the handset end so it looks like the correct coiled cord for the period.  Line cord is NOS 1954 rubber.  Handset has 1955 transmitter and 1950 receiver.  Caps are bakelite.  It appears this phone was never refurbished, it's all original except for probable field repairs that switched out the transmitter and the handset cord at some point.  I'm not interested in finding a correct straight handset cord for this one.  I use it daily and for practical purposes prefer the coiled cord.


My Oldest are both R 83-5 inside 9-56 and 2-57.  I'd love to find a 500 and 1500 (don't know if 1500 was made that early) from 1-63 which is when I was created.


I don't think that Kirt guy's phone is truly a 1949.  It doesn't have the Z/Operator or the U-shaped Operator lettering.  It seems that what became the final version of the Operator lettering appeared on models that were dated 1950 or later.  Just my $.02



So Jim, does your 3/50 chassis still have the separate equalizer?  I'm thinking the answer is "no" since it seems to have received the C/D conversion among other updates, but then again, that would mean the network would have had to be replaced, which I don't think happened much if at all with 500's.



Quote from: rp2813 on May 03, 2009, 02:55:51 PM
that would mean the network would have had to be replaced, which I don't think happened much if at all with 500's.

The number one rule when dealing with WE products is to assume nothing. I've posted this here before, but here's prime evidence that networks were in fact occasionally replaced

Network 10/60


There is some discussion of helping each other find "birthday phones" here, so I started a new thread to maybe facilitate that worthy cause.

JimH; Your 3-50 chassis is the oldest 500 component that I have heard of on the forum.  But I'm a bit unclear if your "chassis" includes the network, because they don't always.  BTW my girlfriend's birthday is also 1-31, so it will be easier to keep an eye out for a phone for you.  What kind of birthday phone do you want?  You can post it on the above thread if you like.



Ben, thanks for the network change-out photos.  Assume nothing is definitely the right approach to this sort of collecting.  It will be interesting to find out about the network on Jim's 3/50 chassis since the 425A was ancient history by the time his phone had its refurb.



Quote from: benhutcherson on May 03, 2009, 02:59:52 PM

The number one rule when dealing with WE products is to assume nothing. I've posted this here before, but here's prime evidence that networks were in fact occasionally replaced

And feet as well, apparently.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409


"And feet as well, apparently."

Interestingly enough, the feet on this one are screwed on(in the 302 style) as opposed to being riveted on like on every other 500 set I've ever encountered.


I am a lineman for the county and I drive the main roads. Searchin' in the sun for another overload.  I hear you singin' in the wires, I can hear you through the whine, and the Witchita Lineman is still on the line.


The 1949 date on the sticker is a flat-out lie.  It's not a mistake, it's not an accident... it's a lie intended to deceive.   Those stickers didn't even exist until the mid-1980s.

The base phone may be from the 1950s to the mid-60s, but it was refurbished in 1974, when it probably had all it's plastics replaced.