Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Talk => Collector's Corner => Topic started by: Dennis Markham on March 30, 2010, 08:39:36 PM

Title: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on March 30, 2010, 08:39:36 PM
Someone wants to send me a B1 body and a ringer box to get cleaned up and working.  I'm not familiar with this ringer box.  Are they compatible?  I'm guessing side-tone?  What's the little switch box with it??

Thanks in advance for anything you can tell me.


Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Phonesrfun on March 30, 2010, 08:54:59 PM
Looks like a 334A, which is a Bell System sidetone subset.  It is likely that many B mounts were hooked to these subsets, although the 334 really predates the B mount by a few years.  I have one hooked to a B1 and it works just fine.
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on March 30, 2010, 08:57:30 PM
Thank you Bill.  I thought it may predate the B1 body.  What' the little box with the switch on top??
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Phonesrfun on March 30, 2010, 09:07:26 PM
Quote from: Dennis Markham on March 30, 2010, 08:57:30 PM
What' the little box with the switch on top??

Its a switch.  :)  Probably was once used to switch between two lines or a line and an intercom, or to switch the ringer on and off.  Many different possible applications.  Certainly not needed for any "normal" purpose.
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Wallphone on March 30, 2010, 09:07:53 PM
Dennis,  Once you get it you will have a better idea on how it is wired. The switch probably just tuned the ringer off. Since Bell owned the phone and the ringer box you weren't allowed to drill a hole for a switch.
Actually, you weren't supposed to use this attachment either. Let us know what you find.
Dougpav
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on March 30, 2010, 09:19:27 PM
Thanks guys.  The owner said it belonged to his Grandmother.  She had it since day one and leased the phone until she died in 1985.  Her grandson purchased the phone from AT&T so that is probably all original equipment---at least to her.  So the little switch box is not needed.  It ought to be fun project.  I'll post some photos when the refurbishing takes place.

Thanks again for the information.

~Dennis
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on May 13, 2010, 06:34:37 PM
It's taken a while, but I'm nearly finished with this project.  I thought I'd share a few photos.  I may be asking for some wiring assistance before I'm finished.

I stripped the paint on the 334A subscriber set with the intention of repainting it black.  Beneath the layer of beige and the original black paint was a nice copper subset.  I spent a LOT of time removing nearly all of the paint EXCEPT from the inside of the box.  Inside the cover was an original schematic drawing of a desk stand.  I did not want to disturb this so I just protected it and left it intact.

Here are a few photos of the "after" product.  I intend to put together a complete album soon.  This is a great box...too bad it's not mine.  The owner said it was his grandmother's from day one.  She left him the phone and the box.
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dan/Panther on May 13, 2010, 06:38:16 PM
Dennis;
That's a nice set.

D/P
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: JorgeAmely on May 13, 2010, 07:11:51 PM
Dennis:

You really went to town on this one. Hats off to your sir. It looks very nice.
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Doug Rose on May 13, 2010, 07:53:40 PM
Dennis...you did a wonderful job on this restoration. The B1 look great, but the work on the Ringer Box is first rate. You did a wonderful job removing the paint and keeping the copper intact. How many hours of work went into this refurb? It must be really hard to give this back....Doug
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Phonesrfun on May 13, 2010, 09:21:44 PM
Wiring should be a piece o cake.
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on May 13, 2010, 10:25:31 PM
Thanks Guys.  I am toying with the idea of taking the box apart again and spraying a coat of clear lacquer on the copper to slow the oxidation process.  I've read some articles that say for interior use it should last for years.  I am afraid to give it a shot though because if it messes it up I'm going to have to strip it off again.

Thanks Doug.  It took a long time.  I don't even know how many hours I invested in this project.  I tore down the dial and refurbished it and gave the phone the once-over.  The box was kind of a learning experience for me.  I've done several 634A's but never a 334A.  You are right though, I sure hate to part with it.  I'm keeping my eye on one on eBay at the moment.  I'm going to get one eventually and give it this same treatment.  I really like the gongs, that I think are nickel plated.  They contrast well with the copper color.

I took lots of pictures and plan to put together a detailed photo album.
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: rp2813 on May 13, 2010, 11:48:44 PM
Wow, Dennis!  What a transformation you accomplished--particularly on the handset! 

I'm glad the grandson appreciates that set-up as much as his grandmother did.  It's really beautiful.

I'm guessing that if the phone had been in continuous use, the handset probably received the F1 transmitter upgrade at some point.  If it still has a properly functioning bullet type of assembly, it has far outlasted the vast majority of its contemporaries.
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Kenny C on May 14, 2010, 12:00:23 AM
wow that is a complete transformation.
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Phonesrfun on May 14, 2010, 12:00:53 AM
Beautiful Job!
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dan/Panther on May 14, 2010, 12:13:30 AM
Quote from: Dennis Markham on May 13, 2010, 10:25:31 PM
Thanks Guys.  I am toying with the idea of taking the box apart again and spraying a coat of clear lacquer on the copper to slow the oxidation process.  I've read some articles that say for interior use it should last for years.  I am afraid to give it a shot though because if it messes it up I'm going to have to strip it off again.



Dennis;
Spray it with clear lacquer, and put it in the oven at 220 for about 30 minutes. The finish will come out smooth as glass.
D/P
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: AtomicEraTom on May 14, 2010, 01:45:48 AM
Great job!  Somehow I just got green eyes.  I wonder......
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on May 14, 2010, 09:19:28 AM
Ralph you are very observant---with regard to the handset.  The handset "handle" was in very rough shape.  It had raised bumps and it was going to be impossible to remove them.  I had a spare handle with nothing to do so I offered it up to the owner.  He was concerned with leaving it original but agreed that for appearance a replacement would be nice.  So I replaced it.  I'll ship him back the original.  There could be more improvement to the phone, such as the dial card retainer ring which is in very rough condition.  But that's the way it will stay. 

I don't think the phone was used all of these years.  He said he bought it in 1985 to free Grandma from the lease but I don't think it's been in use all this time.  It had a refurbishment somewhere along the way as the dial is a #5.  I think an older dial would really add to the phone---at least a #4.  The transmitter is an F1 transmitter---not a bullet.

Dennis Hallworth recovered the bottom for me and looks great.  The cords are original and in very good condition.  They are dated some time later---I think late 40's, probably when the dial was replaced.  Once I get them connected I will be able to find out if they are in working condition.  The wires do not seem dry-rotted so they should be OK.

It lives in the San Francisco area.
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: HarrySmith on May 15, 2010, 12:12:02 AM
darn Dennis, that is one gorgeous phone!

Harry
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: rp2813 on May 15, 2010, 02:57:40 AM
OK Dennis, even if you changed out the handset, you're still a miracle worker in my book! 

One more question then.  What type of receiver element did this phone have?  I don't know off hand the model number of the element originally designed for the E1, but am wondering if like the F1 transmitter, there was ever a retrofit for a HA1 receiver element on E1's.  My E1 has the original receiver element and it's really kind of squawky.  I'd replace it with a HA1 if there's a kit for doing so.

Ralph
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Craig T on May 16, 2010, 10:54:49 AM
You should start setting up a camera in those boxes to take a picture of the customer's face when they get these phones back from you! You just made it a family heirloom with that restoration, great job Dennis  8)
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: AE_Collector on May 16, 2010, 08:21:41 PM
Beautiful restoration Dennis.

I'm torn as the whether I prefered the original beige paint job on the subset or the exposed copper though  :-\

Terry
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on May 16, 2010, 10:22:55 PM
Thank you Craig and thank you Terry.  Terry, it was a tough choice to make.  There's something about old lead-based paint that makes one want to keep it around.

The project isn't finished yet.  I"m having some difficulty now with the ringer in that I'm not getting full movement of the clapper.  Adjusting the bias tension spring hasn't seemed to help.  Bill (Phonesrfun) has given me some pointers on a possible adjustment and if that fails I'm going to try replacing a capacitor, or adding one.  The saga continues............

I did make a web album on what I've done so far is anyone is interested:

http://tinyurl.com/2de59gd

~Dennis
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Doug Rose on May 17, 2010, 08:29:46 AM
Dennis.....Below are two WE Copper boxes. These do not appear to be plated and a magnet does not stick to them. The wall phone reminds me so much of the ringerbox you just brought back from the dead......Doug
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on May 17, 2010, 09:27:00 AM
Doug, did you coat them with Lacquer or anything else?  Has the color darkened much since you stripped them?  How long have the been Au naturel??
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Doug Rose on May 17, 2010, 10:14:25 AM
Dennis.....I like the natural patina they get. I did not coat them at all. The ringer box is about six months with really no change at all. The wall phone is about 5 years since stripping, it has lost the overly shined look and now looks deeper and darker, but not cloudy. You can still see reflections in it. Once I clean up copper or brass, I let them go natural after. With a good clean with Brasso and fine steel wool, they get a nice uniform patina....Doug
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on May 17, 2010, 10:21:34 AM
Thanks Doug, I thought they might darken quicker than that.  So that's a good thing really.  Kind of a gradual aging....like all of us....:)

By the way, awesome wall phone.  Do you have any idea how late they made them out of copper?  Is the ringer box a 634A?
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Doug Rose on July 19, 2010, 05:38:38 PM
Dennis....what ever happened to this? Did they love the job that you did? I know I did. What was the final verdict on all your hard work.....Doug
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on July 19, 2010, 05:42:05 PM
Doug, the guy was very pleased.  I'm planning on making a post about it on my blog along with his comments.  I'll post a link here when it's finished.  Thanks for asking.  I really enjoyed that project and have been watching for one of those ringer boxes ever since.  I'd like to have one.
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on July 19, 2010, 10:33:23 PM
I did end up spraying the 334A box with a clear lacquer.  I gave it a good single coat and baked it at 200 degrees for about a half hour.  It turned out pretty nice.  I thought I had made a sound byte of the ringer but can't seem to locate it so I must have just dreamed that I did.  (I wish I had).

Attached is from my blog where the owner posted his comments.  I did make a posting on my blog about the phone.  There are links there to the finished album if people are interested.

Here is the blog entry:

http://tinyurl.com/3oh4yzf
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Doug Rose on July 20, 2010, 02:31:50 PM
Dennis...you should be very proud....Doug
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: HarrySmith on July 20, 2010, 02:46:04 PM
Agreed. Awesome job :D
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on July 20, 2010, 03:14:51 PM
Thank you Doug & Harry.  I am.  I couldn't never have finished this project without Bill's help either (phonesrfun).
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dan/Panther on July 20, 2010, 03:52:49 PM
Dennis;
The compliments are worth more to me than the payment for the work done.
D/P
Excellent work...
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: djtownsend on April 11, 2011, 12:10:56 PM
Dennis,

I am renewing this thread because I just bought on ebay a WE D1 202 Deskset w/ Subset Ringer Box.  It works but needs restoring the finishing of it and may have to replace some minor items on it but want to keep it authentic.  If I may, I'd like to ask you a few questions:

What did you use to strip all of the paint off of the subset box?
The deskset will obviously need polishing if it is not in too bad of condition.  I bought some past wax and a buffer wheel.  Do you have a preference in how to buff the deskset?

I just bought the set yesterday and am very anxious to get it.  It will need some pieces replaced because for example, I see a curly handset cord on it.  I know there are old parts on ebay but if necessary, I can always go to Oldphoneworks for parts.

My goal is to produce as good of a job as you did.  You did a great job.  I'm sure I'll have questions when I dig into the project and you'll see posts from me.

Dan
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Jim Stettler on April 11, 2011, 12:43:47 PM
You can always post a wanted ad for parts. Many of us have spare parts.

Jim S.
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on April 11, 2011, 12:53:28 PM
Dan, thank you for the compliment on this project.  It was a lot of fun.

I just went to the the hardware store looking for a paint remover and bought a product called Zip Strip, paint and finish remover.  It worked very well.

http://tinyurl.com/3httgqq


As far as polishing the B1 body I just used Novus2, doing most of it by hand.  Where possible on the base of the phone I used my hand held Ryobi buffer with a terry cloth cover and Novus2.

The photo album I put together about this project can be seen here:

http://tinyurl.com/3lton86


There may be something there that will help you out with your project.  

Have fun!
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Bill on April 11, 2011, 08:58:14 PM
Dennis -

How did you clean up the cloth interior electrical parts of the phone? Wires, ringer coils, etc? Some old radio guys put 'em in the dishwasher, and get good results ...

And perhaps this is a newbie question, but on the original subset, was the copper ever left exposed? I was under the impression that they were all painted black.

Bill
Title: Re: Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on April 11, 2011, 10:25:40 PM
Bill, I don't think originally the copper was exposed.  I have seen others that collectors had stripped and left the copper exposed.  I believe Doug Rose has one or more wall phones or ringer boxes like that and suggested to me that I leave it copper once I had stripped it of the layers of paint.  I liked the look and so did the owner of the box.

As far as cleaning the inside, no dishwasher was used.  I just carefully take it all apart and clean each piece that I can.  I do not disassemble the ringer itself but was able to remove it from the frame of the box.  I use the Dremmel wire wheel and Simichrome polish to clean the metal parts bringing the brass shine back.  I use 0000 steel wool on some items, even the bias spring.  Each piece was cleaned individually.

When I clean the screw heads I use the wire wheel, using a thin worn wheel to get inside the slot of the screw.  Afterward I spread a dollop of Simichrome polish on a towel.  Holding the screw by the threads I run the screw head over the polish and then buff it on a dry spot on the towel.  It makes them look new again in most cases.