Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Talk => Collector's Corner => Topic started by: Doug Rose on June 06, 2010, 01:51:59 PM

Title: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Doug Rose on June 06, 2010, 01:51:59 PM
Thirty++ years ago I had just started in the Telephone industry. I was walking a Flea Market with my then wife and I saw a great old black phone in wonderful condition. I turned out to be a manual Western Electric 302. Cloth cords and no dial, how did this thing work? I dickered with the Lady and got the 302 for $5. I played with this thing for days. I keep trying new combinations with the wires, finally dial tone! I thought I was Alexander Graham Bell! But I couldn't get it to ring, so I had my then wife hold the bare wires from the house wiring to the bare wires of the cloth line cord and I would call in from my neighbors. I heard her from my neighbors and she didn't even pick up the phone. 90 volts ring voltage does smart, she got the shock of her life, but my phone worked! RING!! I was hooked. Every weekend yard sales and Flea Markets. LOOOOOOOOOOONG before eBay and it was and still is; a blast. Thirty ++ years later, new wife - new life; but I am still hooked on telephones. I still work in the industry and still have the same passion for telephones. I picked up a great 302 yesterday for $10, the thrill is still there. I took me a little less time to get it to work, even though it has a dial....Doug
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: bwanna on June 06, 2010, 07:18:34 PM
Quote from: Kidphone on June 06, 2010, 01:51:59 PM
90 volts ring voltage does smart, she got the shock of her life, but my phone worked! RING!!

maybe why she is the "then" wife  ??? :o ;)

i got into collecting phones about 7 years ago, after i started working for the phone company. oddly enough the first phone, i actually bought for my son. he was just in his new apt, i got him a "hotline" phone so ma could keep in touch.   ::) a red 500. 1955 chassis, with newer modular cords & housing.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Dan/Panther on June 06, 2010, 07:23:20 PM
I've always liked phones for some reason, and i was going through a box of stuff I had stored away about 3 years ago, and got the bug. At the time one of the phones was a WE 500, and the other was an A&E. I didn't even know they were different phones.
D/P
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Russ Kirk on June 06, 2010, 08:09:11 PM
For me,  tinkering with telephones has been something I have been doing ever since i was 8 or so. I remember adding long - non legal - mounting cords and set up a secret phone in my bedroom.  I "fixed" a phone so I can eaves drop on my much older sister when she was talking with be boy friends.  Yes I was an evil little brother.   

In my early 20's I started as a PBX installer with Pacific Telephone,  that was over 30 years ago. 

I started a mild and small collection when some phones occasionally fell off my phone truck now and then. My collecting slowed when I went into engineering.  Once I got bit by the eBay bug my collection began to grow.  I have been actively collecting for the last 10 years and growing more in the last 5 years. 

When will I stop collecting?  That is a tough one,  room for the collection is a growing problem,  since I do not want to have y collection sitting in boxes in a storage.  So far,  my collection is about 125 phones on display and maybe another 30 or fixer uppers or junkers in storage. So,  for the near future,  I will have to get a bigger house.

Russ.....





Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Phonesrfun on June 06, 2010, 08:20:10 PM
I started playing with phones at about 14 in about 1965 when the phone police would bust you for having an illegal phone hooked up.  I ran a line between my bedroom and my friend's bedroom who lived next door.  We got some magnetos to ring each other.

I once had my brother hold the wires while I cranked the mag.  He didn't see the same sort of fun in that as I did.

In the 1960's there were about as many 302's still in circulation as there were 500's.  The 302's, we all thought, were a piece of crap because they were old fashioned.  Candlesticks and wood wall phones were very plentiful at second hand stores and antique stores.  Because the phone company owned all the phones, and it was "illegal" to hook up your own, modern phones were impossible to find anywhere.  To get a 500, you had to have a phone installer give you one on the sly (fell off the truck) or you had to take one with you when you moved, and claim someone else must have taken it.

There were off-brand phones in the Army/Navy surplus stores (and they looked like they went through a war, which they did!), and you could order them from ads in Popular Science or Popular Mechanics magazines.  

After the break-up of Ma Bell and it became just fine to have your own phone, the phones seemed to come out of the woodwork, and suddenly everyone had a non-phone company phone or two.

I was always kind of collecting phones on the sidelines, until the last 5 or so years.  In many respects, I wish I had been actively scooping up lots and lots of phones in the 70's and 80's, but if I had, I would be very poor and I would need a barn.

So, the interest in telephones and making them work is really my passion in phones.  More so than cleaning and polishing them, although I seem to find myself doing my share of the cleaning and polishing and restoring too.

Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: JorgeAmely on June 06, 2010, 08:31:31 PM
Not what, but who ... Dennis Markham.  ;D ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Dennis Markham on June 06, 2010, 10:23:50 PM
Jorge, you can't blame me.  It was within you all the time.  Maybe I just helped bring it to the surface! :)
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: JorgeAmely on June 06, 2010, 11:03:50 PM
Dennis:

I know. But it was not until I browsed your site that I knew that phones came in many colors, other than red, black and beige. Then I wanted to have one of each, then one AE, then two, ......

Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: AE_Collector on June 07, 2010, 01:58:58 AM
Quote from: JorgeAmely on June 06, 2010, 11:03:50 PM
Then I wanted to have one of each, then one AE, then two, ......



And now you have all the AE colors that AE80's and 90's were available in.

Time to start on AE Stylelines...there are approximately 20 Styleline colors. I am only missing one or maybe two Styleline colors......

Terry
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: savageje on June 07, 2010, 02:04:28 AM
My interests are strange convergence of old-school and high-tech.   I have always been a bit of a techno-geek, but simultaneously a history buff and antique collector.  My parents got me started collecting various things as a hobby when I was a kid.  About 12 years ago, I learned the basics of low-voltage systems cabling for my work as an IT technician.  I later went to work for a company where telephone systems were part of the IT department's responsibility, so I got into more detail on the voice side.  

I work in IT management now, so I don't get my hands dirty as often, but I still tinker with the voice stuff from time to time.  The younger technicians don't like to touch telephone cabling for some reason -- but there is nothing better for stress relief than punching down a 50-pair cable.  Thanks to the rise of VoIP, there aren't many opportunities to do that anymore.  

About a year ago, I got the bug to find some old rotary phones to tinker around with and use around the house.  I got a 1948 WE302 as a gift, and picked up a couple on eBay.  I did a lot of reading on the Bell System memorial page, Dennis Markham's site, and others -- and began to acquire and work on restoring a number of other phones.

Thanks to a tolerant wife, a plentiful supply of Novus 2, some short spans of free time between work and family, and the friendly and knowledgeable folks on this forum, collecting and restoring phones has turned into a wonderful and relaxing hobby for me.  There just is no greater thrill than finding some quirky old wreck of a phone for a few bucks and bringing it back to life.    I've even started a tradition that once a week, I pick one of the working phones out of my collection and call a family member or friend that I haven't talked to in a while.  Some of them even start the conversation by saying "So which phone are we talking on now?"

Other than the disturbing fact that my 5 year-old can tell the difference between an E1, F1, G1, and G3 handset -- I'll just sum up by saying that this whole phone hobby is a heck of a lot of fun.

Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: stub on June 07, 2010, 02:49:57 AM
I started collecting phones 5 or 6 yrs ago to keep, of all things, my sanity, ain't that a hoot!! I've run out of hobbies after 32 yrs at home. Old phones are fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get Your Dial On!!!!  Yeah ,I still have a few loose screws!!!!  stub
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: paul-f on June 07, 2010, 04:44:11 AM
I started tinkering with phone equipment as a teenager, while building phone patch gear for amateur radio stations.  At the time it was a clandestine operation.  Parts were sold and traded "under the table" at hamfests and designs were generally passed along by word of mouth -- nothing formal in writing.

After years in high tech, working on projects that lasted for years and on long-term business and engineering strategies, it was a treat to spend time in the shop working on old phones. The results of an hour's tinkering and polishing produced instant gratification.   Over the years, it gradually grew, but really took off in the late 1990s when email and the internet let us get connected.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Come in Nighthawk on June 09, 2010, 04:32:08 PM
"I've always wanted one..." of those old oval-based phones with the funny-shaped (i.e. "spit cup") mouth-piece.  I'd been dragged through a few antie-que shoppies by my Frau in recent years, and kept my eyes open, but "no joy."  Closest I got was what is an ITT black plastic desk phone, stamped in black on the bottom: "500 00 LR 30M."  A "copy" of the W.E. 500, I guess?  It works anyway...

Then, I was watching _The Sting_ (1973) about a month ago, when the scene ran on the DVD where "Kid Twist" (Harold J. Gould) was in his stake-out across the street from "The Wire" shop, and he was using an oval-based old phone to receive and then pass the "tips" to Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw).  It reminded me, I always wanted one.  So, I decided to see what might be on eBay, and was amazed.  I also found this forum!!!

Pretty much that simple!!  ;D

Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: HarrySmith on June 09, 2010, 04:48:40 PM
I had an interest as a kid in all kinds of mechanical and electrical things, I was constantly taking things apart to try and figure out how they worked and putting them back together. I guess that is why I ended up fixing cars for 30-some years! As I mentioned in another thread at 15 my dad told me I could no longer use his phone, I don't blame him now, I was on the phone nightly with my girlfriend for hours. I had my own phone installed in my bedroom and I was very interested in the whole process, I followed the installer around watching everything and asking a ton of questions. He even gave me a tool he had made for releasing the fingerwheel and showed me how to use it! Guess I was lucky and got a real nice guy, I would probably not be as patient! I must have remembered though because a year later when my dad wanted a phone installed in the basement I did the install. Recently, a year and a half or two years ago I picked up a magneto phone at auction to sell on eBay. I had no idea what it was but I just liked the way it looked. I took it apart, cleaned & polished it then when I was trying to identify it I found TCI and joined. Reading all the posts was very interesting and when Steve Hilz offered a faded Pink 500 "parts phone" for $5.00, I bought it. Again I took it apart, asked a lot of questions on the list and spent two weeks wetsanding it, it came out looking awesome and it worked! I was hooked, the sickness spread from there so now I have about a hundred or so phones! I did eventually sell the Ericcson magneto I got at auction, I paid too much for it but in the end sold it to a guy in Finland for twice what I paid! I have been going crazy looking for the tool that installer gave me way back when but cannot find it. I know I had it not long ago because I kept it in my junkbox on my dresser and remember seeing it. It also came in handy during a phase of my life for poking out pipe screens and removing resin! ;D
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: JorgeAmely on June 09, 2010, 06:59:19 PM
Harry:
What you are describing is the advanced stage of the disease. I don't even know what's ahead, or if there is a cure.  ;D ;D ;D

Terry:
I think I want to collect all colors of the AE34.  ;)  (That will put an end to the disease)
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Dan/Panther on June 09, 2010, 11:38:13 PM
Jorge;
No matter what you do, you will want to go to the next higher high of collecting.
There is no end to this sickness, no cure for this malady.
D/P
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Jim Stettler on June 10, 2010, 12:07:32 AM
Quote from: Dan/Panther on June 09, 2010, 11:38:13 PM
Jorge;
No matter what you do, you will want to go to the next higher high of collecting.
There is no end to this sickness, no cure for this malady.
D/P
Shush D/P,
You might scare him away.
Jim
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: JorgeAmely on June 10, 2010, 01:42:16 AM
D/P:
Naaah, there must be a way out.

In the same manner there is Alcoholic Anonymous and eBay Anonymous, there must be Phone-aholic Anonymous.  ;D ;D ;D

See below:

http://www.aa.org
http://groups.ebay.com/forum/Ebay-Anonymous/Cover-Page/1500052015


Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Dan/Panther on June 10, 2010, 01:45:12 AM
No Jorge, this is the HIV of Collectibles....
D/P
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: HarrySmith on June 10, 2010, 08:18:26 AM
There is no cure just progression!
After you get all colors of that model you will want all colors of another model!
We are doomed!! ;D
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: JorgeAmely on June 10, 2010, 10:55:39 AM
 ;D ;D ;D Harry, you are not honoring your motto. You either do it or not do it.  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: HarrySmith on June 10, 2010, 12:26:08 PM
I am doing it!! I have these things that get in the way sometimes, they are called bills!! Without them my collection would be much larger!!
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Dan/Panther on June 10, 2010, 12:36:56 PM
Doug;
Your title of this thread is
"What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?"

Nothing made me start collecting, I was tricked into it. Somewhere along the line, I can't remember who, Said to me; "Go ahead and take the phone it's free." The first one was free....then you're hooked.
D/P
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: JimH on June 10, 2010, 01:50:51 PM
My grandma was having a garage sale when I was about twelve and had a metal, 1941 302 she was selling for a neighbor for a dollar.  I kept looking at it, and she said I could have it for free.  That was it.  Of course it didn't work, and was trashed inside.  Not having internet or any access to parts, I bought a cheap AE telephone at Perry Drugs and proceeded to switch all the parts from the new phone to the 302.  I know, unorthodox, but I didn't have any other option in 1977.  I remember studying the dial contacts and matching each one up from the new phone to the 302. I did it all myself, got it working, and I still have it today!
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: JorgeAmely on June 10, 2010, 02:02:02 PM
Quote from: JimH on June 10, 2010, 01:50:51 PM
...I bought a cheap AE telephone at Perry Drugs and proceeded to switch all the parts from the new phone to the 302 ...

An AE phone parts transplant to a WE302! That must qualify as a first in history (somewhere ...)  :o :o :o
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: AdamAnt316 on June 10, 2010, 03:08:24 PM
For me, it stemmed from a fascination with rotary dials. Growing up around pushbutton phones, I became intrigued with what'd been used before. The one rotary dial phone we had in the house was a turquoise Trimline phone, which sat (and still sits) in our basement. Eventually, I discovered that my grandfather had several rotary phones from the '50s and '60s, and I ended up with a turquoise Trimline phone of my own, which I managed to wire so that the dial lit up. Since this phone had probably taken the side route out of the Bell System, the ringer was disconnected; thanks to some members of the TCI mailing list, I was able to get it ringing again. Ever since, I've been scouring yard sales, flea markets, and the like looking for cool vintage phones. Naturally, most of them have rotary dials, but some of them are touchtone.
-Adam
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: bwanna on June 10, 2010, 06:43:51 PM
i for one do not want to be "cured"  ;D
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Dan on June 10, 2010, 08:23:21 PM
I bought a princess at a yard sale for $2 (the guy said they were collectible) and I hooked her up after my cordless died . My mother in law had a simple white 500 with a G-6 handset and she gave it to me.  I then found Dennis' site and the rest was history.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Dan/Panther on June 10, 2010, 09:33:52 PM
Quote from: bwanna on June 10, 2010, 06:43:51 PM
i for one do not want to be "cured"  ;D

Some people can't be cured no matter what their problem is.
D/P
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: bwanna on June 11, 2010, 02:09:17 PM
 :P
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Kenny C on June 12, 2010, 03:03:31 PM
i got my first phone from my aunt an all matching dates 1959 SC 500 free i now have9 or 10 500's 2 554's an AE 90 a princess a 302 and a 202 and a SC wallphone
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Shovelhead on June 22, 2010, 11:57:30 PM
My start came with having a parent (mother) that worked for Michigan Bell from 1945 to 1975. I still remember once going with her upstairs above the business office in Farmington (23616 Farmington Road) where the switchboards were. This was sometime before the changeover to automatic dialing in 1955. I would call her when she was on shift, and would ask for my mommy. Well, the other shift operators knew who was calling.

I had a couple of 500 sets while in my teen years, but my first ultimate find was in the basement of that office, changed to a business office in 1966. A 302 stuffed in a cabinet built into a wall of the basement.  Still have it today.

That office closed in about 1974. I had occasion to go in there with my wife as it has been changed over to a mini-mall years ago. My wife was buying jeans for our daughters there, it was a "trendy" store in the late 90's, skateboards and that type clothing. As my wife was buying, I was "casing" the place. The clerk asked me what I was looking for. I pointed out the old 4 pin wall jack receptacles still on the walls to her and told her the "history" of that storefront and the upstairs converted to apartments.

She was one of the owners of the business and had heard that it was a office of some sort or another.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: bwanna on July 05, 2010, 06:57:29 AM
shovelhead, thanks for the bit of local telco history. is the building still there, part of the shopping plaza at grandriver & farmington rd?
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: AE_Collector on July 05, 2010, 12:00:28 PM
One of my hobbies the last few years has been finding out where "old" telephone offices were here in British Columbia and then checking to see if the building still exists and if it does, taking decent pictures of it since in many cases they are on borrowed time.

In most cases these are buildings that lived on after conversions from manual to automatic dial service but sometimes exchanges moved from one area to another to follow shifts in the developement of towns.

In most cases the CO's have remained in the same block they were originally located in. A new building goes up beside the old to house automatic equipment. Then the old is either sold, torn down or used for office space etc. If the Telco still owned the old original manual exchange building when it came time to convert from electromechanical switching to electronic, frequently the building was then torn down and the space used for an addition to the exchange building to house the new equipment.

All that said, I am amazed at how many of the old buildings I have located.

Terry
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Shovelhead on July 05, 2010, 07:36:59 PM
Quote from: bwanna on July 05, 2010, 06:57:29 AM
shovelhead, thanks for the bit of local telco history. is the building still there, part of the shopping plaza at grandriver & farmington rd?

23616 Farmington Road, now part of the mini-mall there. From what information I gathered here and there, the building was erected in the 1920's. Two story building, the upstairs was converted to apartments many years ago as Farmington went to automatic switching in 1955. That building is at Grand River & Power Road, about a half mile east from the old office.

The Public Office closed in late '74. Still remember the phone number, GR 4-9940, how's that for useless information?

My wife and I went in there probably in the late 90's shopping for our daughters. As my wife was looking at clothing, I was "casing" the place. I peeked around, the clerk started watching me. I then told her the story about the building, and pointed out the wiring and jacks on the baseboard molding. She said that she had heard it was some sort of office before, she and her husband were leasing the space. Once I pointed out these things, she became a little more at ease with us.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: bwanna on July 05, 2010, 08:11:28 PM
i will pay attention to that address next time i am working in that area....i had no idea. of course i know where the current CO is.  :)  many of the central offices are still located in the original buildings. grand examples of architecture. sadly much of the floor space of these buildings is now vacant. marble foyers & brass railings go unpolished. flower beds over-grown.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Shovelhead on July 05, 2010, 10:12:16 PM
Yes, how things have changed since the breakup. You never saw a Bell company vehicle dirty, rusted, or damaged. And over a certain age they were rotated out of service.
Personal appearance was important, I had a friend that was a biker, had tats before everyone did, this was back in the early 70's. When he wore short sleeve shirts, they had to cover his ink.

Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: AE_Collector on July 06, 2010, 12:45:30 AM
Here is what I am declaring to be "THE BEST USE" for an old British Columbia Telephone Company Exchange building. The first picture is the exchange in 1921 and the second is quite recent. It has become the town of Aldergrove BC's museum and archives building. It has a REAL emphasis on telephones and the BC Telephone Company.

There are a couple more pictures at this link.
http://www.telephonemuseum.ca/pages/museum.html

Terry
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Greg G. on July 11, 2010, 02:44:40 PM
It was an offshoot of my interest in antiques and vintage artifacts in general.  Not having a budget that affords me the luxury of high-end antiques, I learned to search for affordable vintage artifacts.  Persistence and patience eventually paid off with a few nice affordable antiques (or at least nice looking vintage if not actually antique) in my collection.

I was browsing the antique phone thread in another forum and decided I wanted to add one to my collection of antiques.  My first choice was a WE 202 w/E1 handset, but the ones in relatively good shape were all out of my price range, and I didn't have the skills or equipment necessary to bring a beat one back to life.

In January 09, persistence paid off and I got a fairly nice looking phone on CL from a guy in Portland, OR, for $30.  It wasn't a 202, but was similar looking.  I didn't know what it was, neither did he.  Turns out it was an NEC Type 3 Automatic, a Japanese phone made by Nippon Electric Co.

Once I found out that even a person untrained in electronics (such as me) could get them to function and looking nice with basic tools, I was hooked.  I just kept looking for phones, eventually found this forum which has been extremely helpful in educating me on what to look for and troubleshooting. 
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: DavePEI on October 25, 2012, 02:53:01 PM
Hi All:

I guess I never put my story on here.

I grew up in Brockville, Ontario, home of GTE/AE in Canada. About 1/3 of the town worked at the plant, and for that reason, close to 1/3 of the kids I knew had old phones in their basements.

I am not the only Bricville kid who developed an interest in phones - another notable Brockvilian with similar interests is Don Woodbury of OldPhoneWorks, who grew up a few blocks from us and who also attended the same schools I did. We knew each other as kids though Don was younger than me. It was a thrill some years ago to discover he was the Don I knew!

I got interested in them, and began picking them up whenever I could. Eventually, I made connections with people working at the plant. Some of them would pick up interesting phones for me, and a couple of them would let me know when interesting phones went into the plant dump.

In the summers, we summered here on PEI, where automatic exchanges hadn't yet come to the rural areas. As a result, I became fascinated with the magneto phones and magneto exchanges.

SO, I guess I saw the two best parts of the 50s.

My first collection of Brockville phones was lost when I went to college - Mom and Dad saw the phones as junk, and discarded them while I was away. In that lot were three 11 digit Strowgers! all kinds of AE 40s and 50s.

After school was done, I worked with a contractor installing a Strowger switch donated by Automatic Electric to the school I had graduated from some years before. This job lasted for a couple of months, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Eventually, I moved down to PEI full time, and shortly after I moved down, I picked up my first magneto phone. My collecting had begun again. From then, it never stopped, and in 2004, my parents, who had followed me down to PEI, living in the other house on the property, moved into a nursing home.

Time finally for my dream. We moved into the front, larger house, and I decided to use our old house as a museum. Finally I had room to take my collection out of storage and invite people to enjoy it. I enjoy having people to see them, and it had become a great educational experience for them. I never charge for entrance (not for exit :)) , and just love seeing their faces when they see phones they grew up with. The only problem, is I had to require that people make appointments, as at first I wasn't home all the time.

But, anyway, this is beginning to go beyond the subject of this thread, but now you know the story as it pertains to me and my collection!

Dave
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: dsk on October 25, 2012, 03:45:37 PM
I have never started, but suddenly...
Well at about 7, I got 2 magneto telephones and 200 yds of field wire.

Now its telephones all over, and I have been modern, automatic exchanges and rotaries too.

I do even have a mobile, but it doesent have either a magneto, or a rotary dial.

dsk

Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: DavePEI on October 25, 2012, 03:49:11 PM
Quote from: dsk on October 25, 2012, 03:45:37 PM
I have never started, but suddenly...
Well at about 7, I got 2 magneto telephones and 200 yds of field wire.

Now its telephones all over, and I have been modern, automatic exchanges and rotaries too.

I do even have a mobile, but it doesent have either a magneto, or a rotary dial.

dsk


Nice to see this topic reviving again. It is really interesting to see what interested people into the wonderful hobby....!

Dave
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Doug Rose on October 25, 2012, 06:10:33 PM
Great story Dave....this is what its all about....Doug
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: twocvbloke on October 25, 2012, 11:23:29 PM
For me it was the BT Viscount that started it, I grew up with this red, push button pulse dial phone that had a nice, pleasant tone ringer, and it lasted for years until the mother's ex threw it out (ex-bt "engineer" who apparently spent more time screwing up than fixing!!) as he didn't like them, so, I bought my own identical one off ebay, which is still in use too...

My first rotary dial was a GPO 746, two-tone grey, no idea where it came from, it was just one of those things that seemed to appear in a box of ours. I grew up in the era where the old bells & rotary dial phones were disappearing, and tone ringers were taking over, so the 746 was the only one I really remembered (my grandma had one for many years until it was replaced with a faux-rotary phone), so hearing that phone ring was a memory spoon for sure (you know, stirring them up!!)... :D

So, when I first got my own cable line (wanted the broadband & TV, never thought about the phone), I put that 746 into service, and it was a rough old thing, but worked perfectly, the NTL engineer didn't think so, but it wasn't his pace to say what I could use, but again, it got thrown away by a disgruntled ex-BT employee which rather annoyed me... ::)

Over the intermediate years between that 746 vanishing, I had bought another Viscount, a beige loudspeaking model, not handsfree though (press the patch button on the top, dial, listen, pick up on answer), and later a pair of grey viscounts (one was in bad shape so it's serving as spares), and finally came my purchase of a faded ivory GPO 746 in March last year, and that's where it kicked off for me... :)

Soon had my collection increase in population, and that's how it started, and probably won't end... :)
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: HowardPgh on October 26, 2012, 10:37:31 AM
THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!!!

I have been collecting phones since the 1970s.
The first seriously old phone was one that was hanging on the wall in the principal's office at school.  It was an AE21 metal wallphone that was part of a defunct intercom system.  I asked about it and they gave it to me.
I think I have over 140 phones now.
Howard
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: AE_Collector on November 07, 2012, 10:29:16 PM
Quote from: DavePEI on October 25, 2012, 02:53:01 PM
After school was done, I worked with a contractor installing a Strowger switch donated by Automatic Electric to the phone I had graduated from some years before.
Dave

Dave unwittingly revealed why he has such an interest in phones in this thread. He graduated from a PHONE!

Sorry Dave, was going to PM you but couldn't resist revealing the truth right here.

Terry
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Phonesrfun on November 08, 2012, 01:54:55 AM
I could not help myself.

I have tried 12-step programs and wearing a patch and hypnosis, and to no avail.

It all started when I was 2.  My mother says that instead of a blanket, I carried an extension cord around the house.  It's been downhill since then.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Doug Rose on November 08, 2012, 09:39:39 AM
Quote from: Phonesrfun on November 08, 2012, 01:54:55 AM
I could not help myself.

I have tried 12-step programs and wearing a patch and hypnosis, and to no avail.

It all started when I was 2.  My mother says that instead of a blanket, I carried an extension cord around the house.  It's been downhill since then.
an electric blanket   ;D
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Phonesrfun on November 08, 2012, 10:49:26 AM
The part about the extension cord is sadly true. :)

Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: deedubya3800 on July 04, 2013, 05:51:07 PM
When I was a kid, my grandmother had a black 500 in her dining room. That was always a very interesting phone to me because we always had push-button phones in the "big city". Several years later, I came across a 500 at a flea market for $4. It was in good shape, but it needed an adaptor or special jack to hook up to our home line. But I never bought any other telephones until several more years after that. I came across a Northern Telecom "Dawn" phone. I recognized the design from a TV show I liked, and so I bought it. I started reading some articles about rotary telephones and happened to find a 5302 at a flea market in Omaha in near-perfect shape. I recognized what it was right away, and for $10, I couldn't leave it behind.

I couldn't help getting deeper into my research of telephones, particularly Western Electric models from the '20s through the '50s (a time period I have a fascination with anyway), and so I became a collector at that moment and soon added a 302, an early 500, a 354, a prewar ivory 302, and a 202 (D1/E1) to my collection, along with a few other minor pieces. I haven't added any new pieces to my collection in quite a while, but a few of my telephones remain in active daily service.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: zaphod01 on July 04, 2013, 07:15:04 PM
There was an episode of COPS on TV. During a 'domestic disturbance' call, a woman had clobbered her significant other with a phone. I thought back to the heavy telephones of my youth and bought a 1955 WE500 that week. I mentioned this thought to my daughter and she bought me a nice metal 1939 WE302. Now that's some weight! If you hit someone with one of those there would be crime scene tape involved.

A little scary but that's what started this adventure...
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Tim Mc on August 22, 2013, 05:21:21 PM
June 2012:  It seemed that we never could tell if the cordless phones were ringing, and by the time we knew for sure and found a phone it was too late and the call would roll to voice mail.  Our only hard-wired phone for emergencies was a Trimline in the basement that barely survived a lightning strike and was made in China.  Not cool.  The final straw was walking into our bathroom and seeing all five cordless handsets sitting there, like a little rebellious army staring at me, most of them with little or no battery charge.  @%$#&!!

It was on.  The plan was to strike back with dependable U.S.-made phones that were both loud and hard-wired so that they could be easily heard and located when called.  A black '67 W.E. 500 like my grandparents had for the basement workshop, a black '60 554 for the garage wall started it all.  Then I got my first 302 for the office desk, then another.  There was no longer any doubt when someone called, but it was too late - I was hooked.  More 302s.  Then a few 202s, 'cause they're cool too, especially with E1s.  More 302s, fixed then sold for even more 302s.  That led to an aqua 554 for the kitchen, a pair of Snoopy phones (rotary and DTMF).  Then a weird 302 - oh, it's a 304You mean there are variations?  Then I thought that it would be cool to have a timeline of every W.E. desk set in black - 302, 5302, 500 with metal fingerwheel, 2500.  Still looking for a 1500 10-button and a B1/101, but will probably pass on an A1 since I like marriage too much.

My last purchase was a manual 51-AL to go with a lonely 2AB dial I had on hand.  I've since learned to deal with my condition and have set some limits, such as that it must have a dial and be made by Western Electric. 

Note:  My uncle retired from Southwestern Bell.  I took apart phones when I was a kid, was a radioman in the 82nd Airborne Signal Battalion, got my degree in telecom and have been working in business for 20 years, so I just HAD to acquire these phones.  Right?  Right.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: WEBellSystemChristian on August 22, 2013, 11:27:56 PM
About a month or so ago, my dad and I were in my grandma's basement. My dad had to sand the edges of her basement door down, so I had some time to look around at the cool old stuff she has held on to for decades. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed, on an old metal file cabinet that had seen better days, was a 1955 Western Electric 500 (Of course, I knew next to nothing about rotary phones then). I picked it up, walked straight over to the basement stairs, sat down and just stared at it until we left. A few days later, the phone was looking better than I ever thought possible. After cleaning, compounding, polishing, waxing, and powder coating, it looked beautiful. :D Since then, I have acquired 11 more phones, and far more to come :P
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Kenton K on August 24, 2013, 02:13:34 AM
I've been collecting telephones since I was 14. I got my first one after exchanging some bricks with someone, it was a snoopy phone. I was fascinated on how the rotary dial worked and how mechanical and simple everything was. I love that no matter how tattered they are, there is always a way to get them working again.

Ever since, I've loved telephones and have gotten many more. Then again, I've only been collecting for 2 years.  :D All my classmates think I'm crazy!

Ken
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Tim Mc on September 18, 2013, 09:03:50 PM
Quote from: Tim Mc on August 22, 2013, 05:21:21 PM
June 2012:  Still looking for a 1500 10-button

I found a 10-button 1500.  It's a 1554, but it counts.  At first I had dial tone and no DTMF out, so I reversed tip & ring (polarity) and the tone pad works just fine now, although the receive may be a little on the soft side.  The handset cord will probably need to be replaced.  The cord is soaking in a mad mixture of cleansers now.  I think this one will wind up in the workroom after I wire up another extension.  My local telco is going to love another ringer on the line.  One more model to check off the list, but then maybe I still need a 1500 desk set? 
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: poplar1 on September 18, 2013, 09:46:04 PM
You may have a dirty dial contact (y-z) that is muting the receiver, or a defective receiver.

25A3 dial (7-conductor): temporarily move white receiver lead from 10 to R

25W3 dial (8-conductor): temporarily move white receiver lead from 10 to GN.

http://www.telephonecollectors.info/index.php/document-repository/doc_details/2836-502-510-440-i7-telephone-sets-1554b-connections-tl




Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Tim Mc on September 18, 2013, 10:07:59 PM
Thanks...I'll definitely use that advice.  I probably won't dive into it until after I track down a replacement handset cord and run some wire from the 66-block over to the wall where I plan to mount it.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Tim Mc on September 23, 2013, 10:57:24 PM
Just to follow up on the 1554 low receive problem, tonight I temporarily moved the receiver lead from 10 to R and the sidetone and receive volume jumped up to normal, so I ruled out a possible defective receiver element.  I took the 25A3 dial pad off and cleaned the all of the visible contacts on the dial, but there was no change in receive level.  The switch hook contacts looked dirty ('Line Switch Assembly' per the BSP in the link above), so I removed the left support bracket to access them and gave them a good cleaning.  All better now.  It also has a new aqua blue handset cord and is in service in the workroom.  Thanks for the pointers!
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: poplar1 on September 24, 2013, 11:11:19 AM
Tim, I forgot all about the hookswitch contacts! In both rotary and Touch-Tone 500-series WE phones, the red and black contact springs mute the receiver when hanging up, and are the last to open when going off-hook. That way you don't hear the loud click resulting from the DC voltage spike.

So if you run into a low-volume receiver, perhaps the *easiest* first step would be to remove either the red or black hookswitch wire from the network. If you get loud dial tone, then you know to clean the hookswitch contacts. If you don't, then the problem is probably the dial contacts (rotary and Touch-Tone) or the receiver itself.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Tim Mc on September 24, 2013, 04:57:46 PM
No worries!  Your tips got me motivated to fix it, otherwise I would have left it as-is.  Hopefully someone with a similar '1554 low receive' problem will stumble on these notes in the future.  While our last few posts are more suited for the Troubleshooting Section, fixing phones is one reason I continue to collect.  It wouldn't be as much fun if they all worked out of the box.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Rescuemo on October 19, 2013, 06:11:31 PM
In 1986 I was on my honeymoon and we stopped at an antique shop. There was a nice old candlestick phone for $50.00. My wife said we couldn't afford it but I was determined to get one at some point. Little did I know, she said she had to use the bathroom so she went back into the shop while I got the AC running in the car. On my first anniversary, she surprised me with the phone! Though our marriage didn't survive we remain good friends, and I still have the phone.  I've been collecting ever since. The phone turned out to be a nice AE dial-blank candlestick from the late 20's.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: c64man on October 30, 2013, 11:52:38 AM
My town has a telephone museum,  and after going inside and seeing what cool phones there was,  I decided I had to get one of my own,  well that snowballed and now I got alot of my own.  Couple of princesses,  WE500s,  Trimlines,  stuff like that.    I like the 70s and 80s phones,  but also stuff from the 20s to the 50s really interests me.    I have a full panasonic 308 setup in the house with 8 extensions ran to where I want the phones.  along with my CNET connection and 2 landlines interconnected into the works.    When im home I forward the calls from my cell phone to the  landline and I use the landine for calls when im at home

Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Matilo Telephones on November 17, 2013, 08:01:15 AM
I haven´t been collecting for very long. 6 years or something. My first Phone was a Heemaf 55 wich I rescued from a building that was due to be demolished. I took it apart and cleaned it. Then I hooked it up to my telephone line and it worked. Only dialing out wasn´t possible, since pulse dialing wasn´t supported by my provider.

Then we bought a house built in 1934 with many original features. I seemed a good idea to get a wall Phone for our hallway.

Then I bought some more phones. I thought it  would be nice to have a small exchange in the house and hook up a handfull of vintage phones around the house.

After I acquired some phones I already had, I started to restore those and sell them on the internet. I started to restore more, because I thought it was a great way to learn restoring, before I restored my own telephones, a great way to meet people and because I like buying and selling stuff. And I love restoring old stuff.

Now I own over 100 telephones. There is no ging back. I´doomed.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: WesternElectricBen on February 04, 2014, 09:11:10 PM
Well, I've been on this forum for over a year, and I have never really explored this thread, so I thought I would be late to the party, and give my background.

In April 2010 or so, I started to watch the old Get Smart television show, and I really started to like all of the old objects. For example, before I saw the show, I loved old cars, but then I started to like the decor, old electronics, etc., and most importantly, the phones.

I then tripped over Dennis McDonald's telephone repair videos, which I then watched almost every video. I then knew, I needed to start collecting phones, this is unusual, but I said, "I need to collect phones." For some reason, I was embarrassed to tell my mom I thought they were cool, and then my friends, and family. But I did, so I got an eBay account, and bought my first telephone.

A 1965 Western Electric Aqua telephone, when I got it, it had the 4 prong cord, which I needed a converter, and bought one. The phones ringer did not work, but I learned from lots of reading that people unhooked the ringer, so it was invincible to the phone company, so people wouldn't have to pay for an extension. I then found a loose wire, and was just so lucky to connect it to the correct terminal, and it then worked.

After that I was given a 1956 5302, which I liked too. After that, it just kept going, going, and going...

Almost 4 years later, I love the hobby as much as when I started it, having over 130 telephones, or so.

Sorry about boring you with my life story,
Ben
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Doug Rose on February 05, 2014, 05:47:15 PM
Great story Ben...thanks for sharing with us....Doug
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: WesternElectricBen on February 05, 2014, 05:50:27 PM
Quote from: Doug Rose on February 05, 2014, 05:47:15 PM
Great story Ben...thanks for sharing with us....Doug

Thanks Doug,

I'm glad you read it, I thought it was too long!

Ben
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: WEBellSystemChristian on February 06, 2014, 10:16:39 AM
Wow Ben, you've been collecting for 4 years? No wonder you have such a wonderful collection :D.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: WesternElectricBen on February 06, 2014, 04:50:47 PM
Thanks, Christian, I appreciate that!

And yes, it will be 4 years, this May..

Ben
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: mentalstampede on March 13, 2014, 12:11:34 AM
I got into telephones due to a general love of all things electro-mechanical and old, but the main genesis was because my love of Art Deco brought the name Henry Dreyfuss to my attention, and I started looking for a nice WE302.  Once I had a 302, I needed to fix it up, and then I needed a 354, and a Kellogg Redbar, and on and on, and you know how that goes.

I had fallen out of the old phones habit for a few years, and until recently had been focusing my collecting on vinyl records when my brother bought a three slot payphone on ebay. fast forward a few weeks, and I've completely relapsed! I'v got my own payphone project, and new 500, and a North TP-6-A within the last few weeks. It's a disease, but it sure is an enjoyable one.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Scotophor on March 15, 2014, 03:47:05 AM
Quote from: mentalstampede on March 13, 2014, 12:11:34 AMI got into telephones due to a general love of all things electro-mechanical and old...
Ditto, including non-"electro" mechanical things as well. I had been thinking about getting a rotary phone, when I happened upon a Northern Electric NE-500 in a thrift shop for $10. Now I'm doomed. ;D
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: mentalstampede on March 15, 2014, 01:07:33 PM
Quote from: Scotophor on March 15, 2014, 03:47:05 AM
I had been thinking about getting a rotary phone, when I happened upon a Northern Electric NE-500 in a thrift shop for $10. Now I'm doomed. ;D

It only gets worse! Or better, depending on your perspective.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Fabius on March 29, 2014, 11:27:02 AM
In 1979 I was working for Continental Telephone (CONTEL) in Cazadero California as a switchman (Stromberg Carlson XY step equipment). I was at a outdoor flea market and bought a plain front and top single box. It had Swedish American parts. I hooked it up to the Pacific T&T line at home in Santa Rosa. It worked fine but got a call from the phone police telling me I had a extra phone on the line. I denied it and they said they were sending someone over to check the house. At that time Pacific Telephone owned the inside wire and the phone. I took the single box. The guy came over and was there only a few minutes. I told him that the extra capacitance they read on the line was wet cable from all the rain. They would detect the capacitance or the ringer/s and could tell how many phones where on a line.

I found out about Village Telephone Supply in the Bay area and drove there to check it out. They told me about antique telephone shows and the ATCA and the rest is history. VTS and Steve Hilsz are now in Salome.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: twocvbloke on March 29, 2014, 11:48:49 AM
Quote from: Fabius on March 29, 2014, 11:27:02 AMThey would detect the capacitance or the ringer/s and could tell how many phones where on a line.

Usually it was the additional ringers that made it obvious, as a 2nd ringer would add extra load onto the line so your line when it was ringing was drawing more power, which they noticed and then sent in the heavies to find the "illegal phone"... :)
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Doug Rose on March 29, 2014, 02:45:56 PM
Hey Tom ...Welcome to the Forum. You willl find a lot of familiar names here. Glad to have you aboard....Doug
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Fabius on March 29, 2014, 09:24:06 PM
Thanks Doug. Hope to see of them at the upcoming Michigan show.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: c64man on April 27, 2014, 08:47:59 PM
Just curious to know what got all of you into telephones.     I was working for an e-waste plant,  and stumbled acrossed a nice 554,  brought it home and for the longest time it just hung on the wall unused.  Then a buddy of mine put me on C*Net so i could join in the voice conferences.  After that it all went downhill.  In my old town there is a telephone museum and I was up there once a week buying phones.  My son saw his first rotary and said dad lets make this work.    Fast forward to now.  My son is tearing phones apart and repairing them.  Calling out on them,  all that fun stuff.     I've always been interested in electromechanical stuff too.  I've been a vintage computer collector for years.  The cool part is now I can use my modems to dial into the internet on one of my servers.  Its pretty darn awesome.   

So far we have a huge tub of phones.  A Payphone,  the beginnings of a step switch.   A Digital Hybrid PBX system.  Hoping to get a 1A2 system going in the house as well.  And have it tied all together someday.    We also want a switchboard.

My son loves the hands on aspect of it,  using tools,  crimping wires and cable connections all of it. 

So whats your story??
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: DavePEI on April 27, 2014, 09:02:41 PM
Growing up in Brockville, Ontario, Canadian Hme of Automatic electric, I was surrounded with friends whose parents worked either there, or at the Phillips Cable plant (was Phillips Electical Works until AE built its new plant on Strowger Blvd.)

I was a bit of a geek, and interested in Electronics, and therefore was drawn towards the telephone. One of our close neighbours knew of my interests. He was the then vice president of Phillips Cables, and in addition to acting as my "elmer", he gave me my first pin guided screwdriver.

I developed contacts at both plants, and by the time I went to college, I had a fairly large collection of phones. While at college, that collection disappeared - Mom and Dad, scared of the "phone" police and not seeing its value threw it away. This included early Phillips Electrical Works phones, and several 10 digit Strowgers.

Then before moving to PEI, I worked with a contractor installing a Strowger PBX in the high school I had graduated from years before. After this, I got away from working directly int he telephone industry, but never lost my interest in phones.

When I married and settled down on the Island, my collecting began again.

Dave
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: BDM on May 17, 2014, 02:39:05 PM
Don't laugh, Green Acres, The Untouchables and Andy Griffith as a kid, sort of got me interested in that old equipment. By the time I watched those shows they were re-runs in the late 60s early/mid 70s
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: DavePEI on May 17, 2014, 04:25:49 PM
Insanity!

At least, that is what my wife says!
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: andre_janew on November 29, 2014, 08:05:57 PM
I've always been interested in mechanical and electrical things.  I think that it may have been the result of growing up on a farm.  Dad would, from time to time, dismantle something like a washing machine someone threw away and maybe salvage the motor and some wiring from it and perhaps some small bolts and screws.

I don't live on a farm anymore.  I live in town in an apartment.  Whatever I tinker with now can't be very big.   Telephones seem to be the ideal thing for me.  Also, I must keep my collection small.  This is because I have limited space, of course, because I live in an apartment. 
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Fabius on November 29, 2014, 09:07:40 PM
They call it an apartment because you can take phones apart in it. What state are you in?
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: andre_janew on November 30, 2014, 05:34:47 PM
I live in Kansas.  However, some people accuse me of living in the state of Insanity.  Is that supposed to be our 51st state?
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Fabius on November 30, 2014, 07:04:59 PM
Quote from: andre_janew on November 30, 2014, 05:34:47 PM
I live in Kansas.  However, some people accuse me of living in the state of Insanity.  Is that supposed to be our 51st state?

Yes and this forum is the state capital.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: twocvbloke on November 30, 2014, 07:06:45 PM
Quote from: Fabius on November 30, 2014, 07:04:59 PMYes and this forum is the state capital.

With a few international ambassadors... ;D
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: VintageTR on February 17, 2015, 11:31:05 AM
 I love quality and the feel of things built to last, i have a few  60's, 70's stereo receivers.  i love them  i touch them and marvel at the workmanship.  then a few years back my cell phone was ringing and for the umpteenth time i said  what is that, is it the phone? i griped and then went and found a S-C 500 in brown and when i heard it ring, i smiled. so i have enjoyed watching movies from the 30's and 40's, i found myself looking in each scene to see the phones. I had given up my land line over cost and  then disliking progress  i decided to make an intercom system using vintage phones just to hear them ring. now i have a Panasonic 308,  phones in every room and even my grand kids love calling me from all over the house to "chat" I'm not a collector per se just someone who loves rotary phones that are built like tanks. Even Mr IPhone (my son) begged to have a phone in his old room. go figure.  btw the bug struck me way too late, my mom worked for 30 years for Ma Bell and the stuff I could have had darn lol
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: andre_janew on February 17, 2015, 05:52:56 PM
Did you know that it is possible to download the ringtone of a rotary phone as a ringtone for your cell phone?  I haven't done it myself, but I know some people who have done it.  I mentioned it because I think you should consider it.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Greg G. on February 19, 2015, 12:51:37 AM
Quote from: andre_janew on February 17, 2015, 05:52:56 PM
Did you know that it is possible to download the ringtone of a rotary phone as a ringtone for your cell phone?  I haven't done it myself, but I know some people who have done it.  I mentioned it because I think you should consider it.


Yes, I have:  http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=11023.msg117941#msg117941 (http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=11023.msg117941#msg117941)
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: VintageTR on February 20, 2015, 11:02:41 AM
Quote from: andre_janew on February 17, 2015, 05:52:56 PM
Did you know that it is possible to download the ringtone of a rotary phone as a ringtone for your cell phone?  I haven't done it myself, but I know some people who have done it.  I mentioned it because I think you should consider it.

laughs i really hate cell phones but ty
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Charles Davis on September 08, 2015, 08:38:04 AM
I started collecting phones almost by accident.

I was living in WA and one winter we had a bad storm that took the power out for several days.  Temps dropped to freezing INSIDE the house.  None of the phones in the house (including the cell phones) worked.  I happened to have an old princess phone laying around, so I plugged it into the phone jack, and it worked.  I made a few calls, mainly to let family know we are okay and what was going on. 

Anyway, once the crisis passed it occurred to me that having an older phone that didn't require separate power to operate was a cool thing.  So I started buying various phones.  The were dirt cheap, and I got hooked when I started noticing some REALLY cool phones from the 40s and 50s.  As usually happens with me, I then started moving backwards in time and looked for even older phones.  I scored my first candlestick on a trip to TN, as we were driving east from Memphis to Knoxville.

Anyway, I'm all over the map now, with a collection that spans the history of phones from about 1900 forward.  I still have every cell phone I ever owned, most of them with original boxes and papers (and chargers).
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: podor on September 08, 2015, 10:29:53 PM
My story has 2 chapters.  I originally started collecting as a kid. I remember a phone repair man coming by the house to work on my parent's 2500 in their bedroom. For some reason that interested me. I think I was like 3 or 4 at the time. My dad fixed TVs for a living, so it was something a bit more simple we could tinker with together. I also remember a 2851 on the wall at the local K-Mart auto center. There was something about those blinking line buttons. My parents were huge into estate sales, which was a great way to grab phones cheap.

Fast forward 30+ years. My daughter asked me one night, "Were there phones when you were a kid?" So, after looking up some phones on Google, I pulled the only 3 I had here at the house, a WE 2500DM, WE 2851 and an ITT 2564. (the rest of my early collection is buried in my parent's basement). Then I thought it would be cool to get them working. So I rigged up a few batteries to get things going. Then I thought it would be cool to make them ring, so I bought a Viking ring down box. Then I thought it would be cool to use it for an intercom, so I needed more phones. Then I thought it would be neet to get the lines to work on the the 1A2 stuff. So, I bought a WE 551B, which of course required more phones. Most recently, I bought a Panasonic KX-T61610 so each room in the house could have a separate extension. All this in the last year. The family enjoys it. Every one of my kid's friends that comes over loves using the phones. So now it has become something I can share, and teach the next generation.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: N7LTH on September 09, 2015, 08:13:42 PM
I'm not rightly sure what exactly started me collecting telephones, but I do know I had a definite interest in them since I was a half-pint.

Back in the 70's when I was a young teenager, I had somehow acquired three or four AE phones and hooked them up at home after disconnecting the ringers. I had also sped the dials up considerably, which is very easy to do because of AE's governor design. I lived in what is now Shoreline, Washington on the EMerson exchange which was a 1XB at that time if I recall correctly; no issue with fast dial speed. One VERY funny incident happened about 1976 or so. My mother was talking long-distance to my aunt(?) in South Dakota and I was listening in. She mentioned that she was talking from her bedroom and I had hooked up some illegal phones; I promptly told my mother that she shouldn't say anything about them as there might be an operator tapped in. At that point the operator(!) busted up laughing... so the illegal phone hook-up was probably the genesis of my collecting.

Back in '82 or so, GTE had a HUGE surplus sale out here and I obtained a GTE three-slot pay phone- chrome- for $25, with nary a scratch on it. Wish I had bought more of them... hindsight is always 20/20...

I bought a couple of other dial phones back in the late 90's or so, but mainly for utilitarian purposes. Only around 2010 did I take an interest in actual collecting of phones, and it is still sporadic at best.

But phones ARE fun.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: novarlynx on December 04, 2015, 11:09:48 PM
For me telephone collecting was a rather recent thing. I'd always had an interest in telephones but never really had much time to collect them much or do much with them.

Over 10 years ago I once rigged up a 9V battery to a pair of trimline phones and a few RadioShack buzzers to make a rudimentary 2 way intercom thing. It worked pretty well.

A couple years ago I set up an Asterisk PBX in my basement and rigged it up with an ATA to two trimlines and a Cisco 7940 IP Phone (aka the phones known for their poorly designed hook switches -- should have used the machine at WE which pounded them for a while lol)... anyway I didn't do much, that PBX is wired to a VOIP line so that I can call it. I sometimes make calls with it now.

More recently though I started looking at how the Bell System worked and got real interested in the analog switching systems and how a crapload of relays, crossbars, step switches, etc formed such a network. In August I got the chance to go visit The Telephone Museum in Ellsworth, ME, one of very few museums to have a functioning crossbar switch, among other switching equipment. That visit was amazing. I didn't want to leave. Stayed at the museum from opening to closing (it was only 4 hours). I want to go there again...

Recently I modified my PBX to produce City Dial Tone and City Ring instead of the modern tones, to give it that bit of retro-ness. It sounds awesome on the old phones. I found an analog phone adapter that accepts dial pulse as well, which is pretty cool.

As for my phone collecting, my first rotary phone was a Western Electric "Celebrity" that belonged to my mother. I eventually found a few rotary phones (two 500 and one 554) in my cousin's father's house as well. Then after that I just started looking for phones and I have a pretty small collection so far but it's a start nonetheless.

Listening to Evan Doorbell's recordings of his phone exploring, I really wish I could have had the chance to play with the Bell System stuff when it was still in service. The modern digital PSTN is so boring now!


Here's the list of what I have, as of the date of this post, and in the order I got them

WE Celebrity
WE 554 yellow
WE 500 black with 9A dial
WE 500 black with 7D dial
WE 302 black, plastic housing
WE wall trimline 220, green
AT&T 702 Princess tan (broken!)
WE 2500 black
AE 80 black
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Pourme on March 19, 2016, 09:05:04 PM
The stories a phone could tell. That is what draws me to collect phones. Until I found this phone, the only collection I had were some very cool novelty phones. (NASCAR oriented, M&M's, Pac Man) When I saw this 500 in the local collectibles mall my mind immediately began to wonder what conversations it had facilitated. How many family members checking in with loved ones, reporting on the days travels, calling in a pizza order? Lovers whispering sweet nothings, pillow talk? Harsh marks on the cradle tell the story of angry hang ups. One can only wonder what stories this phone could tell.

All I have done to it is a basic clean up. Nothing extensive. If it didn't smell of cigarette smoke one would question it's authenticity. The paint on the line cord documenting the passage of time & the repainting of the room, seem to belong.

The phone appears to be just as it was when placed into service in 1962 with no obvious upgrades.

Makes me wonder, what ignited your passion?

Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Pourme on March 19, 2016, 09:09:55 PM
I had more pictures, but they wouldn't upload no matter what I tried...
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: rbouch on March 19, 2016, 09:24:06 PM
Try resizing your images, nice phone, the one that got me was a 202
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: JimH on March 19, 2016, 09:59:39 PM
I really like it when a number card adds to the history of a telephone.  I found this ad on a 1989 newspaper page online, and also a post card.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Pourme on March 19, 2016, 11:31:05 PM
I did several searches and didn't find that....very cool!...& the phone # matches....

Thanks for posting!
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: ..... on March 20, 2016, 06:00:53 AM
Quote from: JimH on March 19, 2016, 09:59:39 PM
I really like it when a number card adds to the history of a telephone.  I found this ad on a 1989 newspaper page online, and also a post card.

A phone that comes with a history, now that's neat.

I have one with a little history as well. I have a multi-line that came that came out of a bank in a village not far from here. It was in the bank when it was robbed back in the early 80's.

Doug
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: zaphod01 on March 20, 2016, 06:38:04 AM
I reconnected with my ex-wife after not seeing her for 34 years. We remarried on our original anniversary so I wouldn't have to remember two different dates. The two ceremonies were 37 years apart. We call the 34 year gap our 'failed divorce'. I moved into her home and she had a land line for her fax machine and a Vonage router for the rest of the house. Plus AT&T for cell service. She was paying three different phone bills per month. I convinced her we could ditch Vonage and put phones in every room. She was cool with that so I started looking for candidates. The first was a black 1955 Model 500. Next was a 1951 302. Then there was a black 1962 500. a 1940 302 followed and then...well, I had 60 phones in the house for a while.

I have it under control now, with only eight candlesticks, a 202, and two 302's in the permanent collection. The 1951 302 is still in the bedroom. There's a 51AL in the kitchen, and a Princess in her home office.

There's a bunch of 500's from the barn hoard on the floor in the den but they are just passing through. They are in what the wife calls the 'phone hospital'. May just have to keep the 2/51 501B ...and maybe the 3/51 500T...and, who am I kidding. I'll end up with 60 phones again.

Binge, purge, repeat...
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: DavePEI on March 20, 2016, 07:32:48 AM
A match.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Pourme on March 20, 2016, 08:42:34 AM
Interesting stories...I know there are many more out there.... :)

PS  "Phone Hospital"...I like that!
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: NorthernElectric on March 20, 2016, 10:50:07 AM
My passion for old phones probably took about 30 years or so to develop.  At some point in the 1980s I bought a Stromberg-Carlson manual desk phone, probably a 1243, for a few bucks at a yard sale.  I managed to get it working without the aid of the internet and used it for a while, amazing my friends by 'dialing' it with the hookswitch.  The transmitter had poor sound quality though.  As one of my friends put it: 'What's wrong with your phone?  You sound like Darth Vader.'  After a while, and maybe as a result of comments like that, I unplugged it and put it away and later got rid of it while downsizing for a move.

I liked old stuff back then but didn't really have any sort of collecting mentality.  For me, that started years later with telephone and telegraph insulators.  I had found one one fall out in the bush and taken it home.  Over the winter I researched it a bit and got interested.  When spring came I spotted a couple of more insulators at an early yard sale and bought them.   I had also decided I wasn't getting enough exercise so I put the 2 together and started hunting for insulators.  I would walk for miles on rail lines and found lots; first common ones that you could see on the ground, then older ones that you had to dig for.  I got fitter and a collector was born.  I read about fellow insulator collectors using metal detectors to locate tie wires (short pieces of wire used to tie the telegraph wire to the insulator) so I got one and started using that.  Soon I branched out into hunting for old coins and relics.

Between the insulators, and relics, I carted tons of stuff home and it was really piling up to the point where it was becoming a problem.  I pretty much stopped both activities except for the occasional outing and began trying to downsize the collections, which I am still working on.  I find it difficult to part with stuff that I put a lot of effort into getting and to decide what is truly good stuff that I should keep and what is junk that I should get rid of.  But things were getting out of hand and I began to feel that I was hoarding useless junk.  I have whittled this down a fair bit but still have a way to go.

At some point during this period, I had bought a 302 at a yard sale.  It didn't ring but I remembered from the SC phone years earlier that I could probably fix it if I had a wiring diagram.  I set the phone aside meaning to do that but forgot about it until I found a D1 missing dial, transmitter, and cap in a junk shop for 3 bucks.  I guess this was the phone that really got me going.  I found another handset to get a transmitter and cap from.  I remembered that I had a 2500 in storage that used to be my home phone, so I dug that out to rewire as a subset (thanks to wiring diagrams found on this forum before I joined), retaining the touch tone pad for when I needed it.  I bought a #6 dial for it but then remembered about the 302 I had so used the 5H from it and put the 6 in the 302 which I got working after the D1 was up and running.  I originally intended to only have a few vintage phones that I would use.  Somewhere around that time I joined the forum and my interest grew.  I have gone beyond what I originally intended but at some point I decided that maybe it was OK to collect things that I could actually use as long as I didn't get too carried away.    At around 30 phones +/- I think my collection is still relatively small.

I hope this didn't sound too much like an introduction at a hoarders anonymous meeting.   :D
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: DavePEI on March 20, 2016, 11:26:54 AM
Aside from my smart-Alec comment below about a match, I came by my interest, I think in a pretty good way - I know of at least one other who cme by his interest in exactly the same way, Don Woodbury.

I/we both grew up in Brockville, Ontario, the home of GTE/Automatic Electric and its precursor Phillips Electrical Works which  was run in conjunction with Phillips Wire and Cable untii the new plant was built in 1954 for AE.

They were major employers in the town, and approximately 1/3 of its families had at least one member working at one or the other.

I was hit by the bug at a very early age, and encouraged by a number of AE employees...
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Matilo Telephones on March 24, 2016, 05:49:02 AM
Very interesting to read how others got infected. :-)

What really sparked me off was when I bought my third or fourth telephone off the internet for 10 e (plus 6,25 shipping) and when I got it it turned out to be from the early thirties. Something so old, in good condition and it still worked! And for 10 e too!
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: AL_as_needed on April 10, 2016, 03:55:00 PM
I blame my childhood for all this. My grandparents had a hardware store which was served by the same two phones since they opened. At the front desk/counter was a 500, all black of course, with the metal finger wheel and a big soft-talk shoulder rest (not sure when that was added). In the back was a similar 554 wall set. These two phone worked without fault until sometime around 2002-03, when a credit card machine prompted an upgrade......to a 2500 with new dangled tone dial...

Anyway, the 500 vanished once they got out of the business, but and I'm almost willing to put money on this, the 554 may still be in the back in the now walled in area that had a slop sink.

Saw a 500 C/D at a flea market buried with old radios and such, instantly took me back to those days. Little did I know it would touch off something that's becoming a serious hobby.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Slal on December 09, 2016, 03:33:29 PM
Hadn't seen this topic before.

Wanted a companion piece for some office antiques: an old GE fan from early 1900's, and a Royal #10 typewriter from 1923 to name a couple. 

Bought a brassed out candlestick phone & homemade subset for (what I later learned) was way too much money.  Turns out most of it was legit, just overpriced.

Since I like learning about most anything-- especially antiques-- the candlestick led to a second, more 'collectable' phone... And a third... And...  ; )

Now I'm up to my ears in telephones, typewriters, adding machines, fountain pens, clocks, barometers, mantle lamps...  You name it, and pack rat that I am-- probably have one, or something similar lying around. 
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: markosjal on December 12, 2016, 12:03:52 PM
I always had an interest in ELctronic items.

When I was a wee child in the late 60s we moved to a new house. It was a new house that was prewired for phone but I remember following the phone guy (Pacific Northwest Bell as it was then) around as he installed a phone in the kitchen, and one upstairs. I remeber I was so impressed that he could pull the wires out of the wall and know what color to connect where . He put these really cool modern looking round wall plates on the wall with the hard wired cords sticking out the hole.

I also remeber this is when I learned to dial 1191 and hand up to make the phone ring

I remember my mother correcting the installer that the trimline phone had to be 'baby poo yellow" and it was so cool to the the external transformer illuminate the dial pad.

Several months later it was just before christmas I remember that a neighbor kid had an AE desk set (Model 80??) with plastic case with metal base, probably the current model at the time. It was missing a fingerwheel but other than that it worked. I thought it was so weird , so different from the (Western Electric) phones I had seen. It was a day after christmas and do not recall what the christmas gift I received that year was but it was soon traded for the AE 80. I had been able to get enough information out of the installer guy to know how to actually wire it up and it worked.

It seems the adults decided I was taken advantage of by the neighbor kid and demanded that I give him the phone back to get whatever that christmas gift was back. I refused and kept the phone.

I remember studying how the dial worked and taking it apart further and further . Later I acquired more telephones , and more electronics in general, mostly broken non- working phones that most would have considered garbage.

I was really good at taking them apart and re-assembly was only a dream.

I went on acquiring these items over all other electronic items , sometimes I got only a mic element or a handset

One day I was at school and my mother came into my bedroom and threw away all of my phone parts. I was broken hearted to find them all gone

At about 10 years old I remember my mother always had a clock radio next to her bed, and as I took out the trash I saw it there , removed it from the trash and took it to my room for further exploration. I found an exploded electrolytic capacitor and when I showed it to a family friend, he helped me to relpace it, then to re-string the radio dial (which I would have never been able to figure out).

My mother returned home one day to find that clock radio at her bedside a few days after tossing it out and asked me why it was back. After telliing her I fixed it she never threw away another electronic component froom my bedroom again! My phone collection grew and was sacred no matter the condition or level it was disassembled. I guess she had realized the value in what I was learning.

I remember a few yeas later a building in the neighborhood that had buned down some neighbor kids tore the boards off and got into . One told me there was an old payphone in there . I was willing to do anything for it so I went into the old burned up building and there it was in all its glory. The wall had burned and the payphone , a 3 sloter laid there on the burned  floor in all its metalic glory mostly undamaged from the fire, just as it had fallen in the fire. It was so heavy i could have never got it home alone and only ended up taking the dialing instructions card which incredibly was not burned. The phone eventually came my way after some of the bigger kids got it out and sold or traded me something for it, but by that time it had been disassembled , broken into, etc. It was 70% of a WE 3 slot payphone, and a tremendous piece to add to my collection.

later I remeber I also acquired one of The Dutch PTT phones (Ericsson??) from radio shack. I left it premanently connected to the line then came the call from the phone company about "unauthorized phone on the line". I quickly learned to disconnect the bell. YES YOU CAN CHEAT THE PHONE COMPANY , and then phreaking began.

I was always seen as the weird kid.  Why would he want old phones?

Over time I had 3 telephone collections completely lost 
1 to my mother as a child in her cleaning rage. (mostly fragments and parts)

2 when I did military service and left some at my uncle's home and were stolen form there when someone got into his basement.

3 My ex wife claimed in a divorce they were "donated"  to the Goodwill but would never say which goodwill. She knew the value of them.

Each loss was never a deterrent rather a motivation to continue. I currently sit here surround by a disassebled french novelty phone , 2  Rotary Ericssons circa 1980, working, ATC Snoopy just reassmbled after a clening and resurfacing of snoopy who had yellowed, Beige WE princess rotary disassembled, Rotary WE green trimline and some simulated brass Japanese phone.




Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: RotarDad on December 13, 2016, 01:01:17 AM
Great story, Markosjal!  Thanks for sharing your journey of perseverance.  I have no story, really.  When I was a kid, we had one yellow 554 in the kitchen, but I always liked the 500s I saw in other people houses.  Several years back I decided I needed something to work on for fun that could easily fit into small available chunks of time.  I wanted something electro-mechanical from the 50s/60s, inexpensive, good quality.....  Then I remembered those 500s that I'd admired as a kid.  I found a nice black one on EBay to start.  Then to learn more about it, I started searching and found this forum.  What a great group of people, always willing to help! 
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Vern P on January 19, 2017, 06:43:24 PM
Some fun stores. As for me nothing  that exciting.  As a kid in the '60s, I wanted a phone in my room. We only had the 1 phone in the kitchen.  I found a 2500 in the trash, hook it up next to my Dad's chair.  We were on a party line, (we were #2 on the line) Dad would make long distint call on that phone, the call were billed to the other party.  After the phone co. came out, to see way,  we changed to a Private line. That was around '75.  It was some time before I got one put in my room. Now I have a room just for the phones, all 200+.  I have 13 phones on line (not all ring), there are only 2 TT, one is in the bathroom, due to size (2554).

Vern
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Lee David Day on February 16, 2017, 09:10:41 AM
Shortly after the touch tone phones came out I saw a TV news
feature showing hundreds of dial telephones being crushed. The idea
was they were now obsolete and useless. I have always been a coin collector
so I knew, as those old phones became scarce, their value would go
up. I started buying them for a dollar or two at yard sales and flea
markets and socking them away. As time went on I also fell in love with
with them. I now have over 80, all sizes shapes and models. I have also
since retired and now have the time to clean them up and get them all
working. I also intend to trade or sell duplicates if anyone is interested
DDay
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: HarrySmith on February 16, 2017, 10:18:22 AM
"if anyone is interested"
Of course we would be interested!
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Butch Harlow on July 15, 2017, 09:50:43 AM
I think what made me start the collection was my lament in not being able to slam down the receiver when angry. Cell phones are expensive when you angrily throw them at a wall, and the effect is just not the same. As a kid we always had WE 500 and 2500 phones, they were amazingly durable. The bug of collecting the phones came from my technical background and need for a more interesting hobby. I am an HVAC tech and maintenance man, I needed something to tinker with that wasn't an air conditioner or toilet. Ebay provides the gambler in me some satisfaction, so buying phones there, researching them, and repairing them satisfies everything. Then making calls and angrily hanging up on people is a real bonus. I don't actually have anger issues, I just love the effect of slamming the receiver down. I am currently stuck on only WE and NE phones, but I am sure I will expand that eventually. That is, if I don't drive the wife away first.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: AL_as_needed on July 16, 2017, 09:02:29 PM
Quote from: Butch Harlow on July 15, 2017, 09:50:43 AM
I think what made me start the collection was my lament in not being able to slam down the receiver when angry. Cell phones are expensive when you angrily throw them at a wall, and the effect is just not the same.

There is an unmistakable sound when your on the other end of the "slam down". A great way to round out a heated phone conversation, something lost in the era of touch screen.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: shadow67 on November 12, 2018, 10:26:59 AM
I saw a D1/202 phone at an antique store about 25 yrs ago. I took it home and hooked it up and thought it was defective as it did not ring when called. I opened it up only to discover...it had no bells! Someone had put a mini network in the base to make it work without a subset. That was my first old phone, which has led to many more. Then I got a job with the phone company which really got my interest going. I am proud to say that both my 9 and 11 yr old kids know how to use a rotary telephone as well as magneto phones. I have an asterisk system that I have set up extensions for many of the old phones. One manual phone even is set up to auto dial a number when taken off the hook. Such fun. Sometimes I find myself going out to the shed and turning cranks on magneto phones just to hear them ring. Possibly something is wrong with me.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Jim Stettler on November 12, 2018, 10:29:55 AM
Quote from: shadow67 on November 12, 2018, 10:26:59 AM
Sometimes I find myself going out to the shed and turning cranks on magneto phones just to hear them ring. Possibly something is wrong with me.

I doubt if anyone here thinks that. Your actions help the rest of us appear normal.
JMO,
Jim S.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: FABphones on November 12, 2018, 01:08:40 PM
What made me start collecting phones...

As a teenager I visited a house where the owner had a small collection of Bakelite phones. They were in another room and I could just see them through the open door. I wanted to take a closer look but the owner was out. I never went there again. But I never forgot those phones, I thought they looked smart.

Years later I moved into a new flat (apartment) and on the floor of one of the rooms was an Ivory GPO 300 series phone. In a cupboard was a GPO 150 Candlestick. Both undamaged, unwanted and with the original dialcard for my 'new' telephone number. They had been installed in that property when new.

My own collection began that day. And I still have them.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: UglySteve on November 14, 2018, 04:43:56 PM
I jump around with hobbies. I collect old German radios, antique books, old clocks, old watches, old guns, test equipment, old optics, and whatever else I'm interested in. So when my wife told me she wanted a phole like Lucy has on "I love Lucy", I bought a Western Electric 302.  She wanted a phone like the old lady on the Twilight zone "Night caller", then I bought a WE D1. My collection is small, 5 phones.
Steve
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Key2871 on November 14, 2018, 07:23:40 PM
Well I started with a phone my dad removed from an old house when he was looking for property to buy. We just moved to New Hampshire and he and his brother were looking to make a new start and wanted property on which to build a new house. Well this old black WE 500 with metal dial hadn't been used in years, he didn't know how to connect it up, so I took one that the phone company put in the house, removed the cover and looked at the connections and copied them down and made the old phone connections the same. Connected the base cord and whala it worked.

My dad was impressed, he knew I liked fiddling with electronic and electrical things. After a while he had his business line connected to the house, had only one extension but wanted another in the master bedroom. So he asked me if I could use that old black phone and connect it to his business line in the bedroom. I said yea, but to run a wire from one end of the house to the other would be difficult because the house was built on solid bed rock, and crawling under the house in some areas was impossible. So I looked at the wire in the wall outlet and saw four wires, only two were used. So, I jumped the yellow and black wires to the CP (circuit protector) for his office line, connected the phone to the other end in the bedroom, and it worked!

My dad said I should work for the phone company, and I told him I'd love to. Well one day my dad was sick, (cancer) and wanted to know if I could connect the two lines into one phone, and some how switch between the lines. I said let me think about that, well after much thought I made a box up that used a relay and switch to operate the relay, and connected the two lines up to the one phone, and it worked.

This was before I knew about key sets, because that would have made life real easy. But my invention worked and he was very happy. After time I drifted away from phone stuff, and went for old pinball machines and vending machines.

I got an old candy machine on the side of the road, a building was being torn down, and in it was that machine, then I had a chance to buy a coke machine for cheap. It was in excellent condition, then I was looking at a magazine that was advertising as removed payphones. Then I thought that would be cool to have. All the time I was converting my dads work shop to a man cave, before man caves were a thought.

I had a pin, I had a coke/beer machine and a candy machine.

Now I wanted a payphone. So using parts from an old heathkit my dad gave me, an old tackle box, black spray paint and, and a G handset I found some where. I made a payphone. Using clear Plexiglas for the face plate, I back painted silver.

Drilled the hole for the dial, and the handset cord. Made a hanger from a F handset hanger (I don't remember the number) my uncle gave me from his days with ma bell. He said it was used on switch boards to hang a handset, fashioned a hook switch leaver. Put it all together and wired it up and it worked. Much to mine and my family's amazement. At some point I got a set from somewhere, it was in a fire, the housing was melted, I took parts out of for the network, and ringer, I added that and the network connected the new parts up and now I had a working payphone look almost alike. The clicking in the receiver was the only drawback. The simple dial in the kit had no contacts to short the receiver. So when dialing you wanted to keep the handset away from your ear.

Then a few years later I was given a NOS Beige WE 2565-HK wow that was real cool (to me). It took me a couple days sorting through all those wires to figure out how to connect it up to a single phone line. Well that was the start, the phone bug bit me, and I couldn't stop. I later came across a huge box of business phones, most NIB 2565, sets and other stuff. I was in heaven. I set out to build my own KSU to operate those phone's. Using a box that was used for well pump control equipment. It took many attempts to get the right set up. But I got it, and kept improving it over the years.

Then after the break up. I bought my first real unit with a bunch of 830 desk sets rotary multibutton sets. But still lacked female connectors. So I set out to source those, and find the tool to connect the wires.

After several hours working on the abandoned unit, I got it fully working. It had a 207A I believe that is the correct number dial intercom signaling unit. That in its self was a challenge. Then found the ATCA and joined, found key system manuals, so now I had it made. So that was the start of my collection, at one point had 102(looked brand new) with a #2 dial. 202s, 302s, 500/2500. 702s 2702s. In just about every color. Those were the days of yard sales and cheap phones.

But had to move, and down size big time. Also had payphones, mostly single slots, a couple 10-A and 11-A credit card sets. And a barn full of assorted single line and key telephone sets. Ahh those were the days... I still miss em, though next summer I'm going to build a payphone look a like much like that I made when I was 16, but I'm going to help my 10 year old boy do that. We're both looking forward to that.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Fennec on November 28, 2018, 08:24:25 PM
Wouldn't call it "collecting" per se - at least not compared to the majority of the members here  :). As a matter of fact, my interests in "dinosaurs" are rather eclectic - I like antique or vintage fans, radios, TV, lamps, typewriters... And of course telephones. And reasons are primarily two - first one is a protest sentiment against an "everything disposable" society we live in, the concept of "planned obsolescence", and in general a desire not to follow the crowd. The second one is a simple fascination with technology of yesteryear, when (most) everything was built to last, was simple, functional, repairable, and had a certain degree of industrial design beauty, that I, as an engineer, learned to appreciate  ;)

So, I have decided to surround myself with a few objects, that are a pleasure to look at, are fully functional, integrated into my everyday life, and also serve as conversation pieces. Since I like learning new stuff, I basically made a decision to get those forgotten and discarded objects, that no one wants, and attempt to bring them back to life. I am pretty sure that I will never become a true collector, but there are a few phones that appeal to me aesthetically, and I have narrowed them down to the following list:

Western Electric B1/202 (1931) w/ 634BA subset
Western Electric 304, wired as 302 (1938)
Automatic Electric 40 (year unknown)
British GPO232 Grand Pyramid (1948)

And waiting for its turn to be restored is the last one - Automatic Electric 34 (1937)

Two other Western Electric D1/202's, WE 302 and an AE40 that I have restored in the mean time have all sailed to the new happy owners.

That's it in a nutshell.
Dmitri
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: 19and41 on November 29, 2018, 02:09:50 PM
As a child I was fascinated by all things electrical and technical.  I wanted to have such things of my own.  I used to buy as many of the popular magazines as my folks would allow and just as important as the articles and news stories were the myriad of advertisements and classifieds in the back of them.  One that always caught my eye were the ads from Burden Sales in Nebraska.  they put out a catalog that had fantastic stuff that the government saw fit to get rid of.  Two items I wanted more than anything were the AE40 and AE50 phones they had for sale.  Thanks to a birthday windfall, I found I could afford one.  Since my folks would kill me if I disfigured their walls, it had to be the 40.  I got it.  And after messing around with it. i finally decided to try to hook it up.  Our house had tie points in each room.  I worked with it, and a bit of trial and error, I got it to work.  A couple of days later, the friendly Indiana lineman came by to inform my parents there were too many telephones in our house.  I silently flew up to my room and disconnected and hid my phone.  After a couple of days, I set it back up and we got another visit.  After that my folks found my phone and that was all she wrote.  That got me started with phones and kept my interest up, and while in the Army, trained in microwave communications and frequency division multiplex systems.  I now work in UHF FM portables and mobiles and trunking communications systems, but still love the old familiar phones, starting my current collection with a good old AE40.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: Doug Rose on November 29, 2018, 02:52:12 PM
Great stories! 

This is just an amazing thread that I strarted over 29.6K views ago in June of 2010! It's still going.

You can feel the passion in these posts!....Doug
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: caltx01 on January 09, 2021, 09:31:32 PM
I just rejoined this forum after several years away and so I am going to rejuvenate this thread.  I am by no means a big time collector but I have been interested in all things electrical since I was a kid.  I developed a deep interest in communications equipment in high school.  I obtained an amateur radio license (WB5CYS) in 1979 and began developing an interest in telephony.  I was lucky enough to be able to obtain this WE 202 that was my grandparents' phone for many years.  It was eventually replaced by somehow my grandfather was able to keep the phone.  I found it in a closet in his house in the mid-80s and subsequently stored it in a closet in my house until recently. 

I have just finished rewiring it.  I built a small external enclosure which contains a modern switchable ringer, a mini network and a Dialgizmo pulse converter.  The phone works great and I am very much enjoying using it as my desk telephone.  I still have some cosmetic work to do on the case - especially the handset cradle, but I have already had so much fun with it.

My next project is restoration of a WE 302.  I have learned so much from the information on this forum.  Thanks to all who take the time to post this information and to help newbies like me.

Best regards to all from Cal in Tyler, Texas.

Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: oldguy on January 09, 2021, 10:34:38 PM
Welcome back Cal. Nice phone, they are much more fun when you can use them.
Title: Re: What Made You Start Collecting Telephones?
Post by: ..... on January 09, 2021, 10:40:14 PM
Welcome back, this forum needs the old members returning!