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Now the Story Can be Told - 1949 WECo 500 Set

Started by Dan/Panther, March 20, 2010, 11:08:11 PM

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Craig T

D/P How very "unshelfish" of you  :)

I am not sure where they threw them out in N.J. but I have heard plenty of horror stories about "The Dumpster Behind The Phone Company Office" from the folks around here. Oscar the Grouch probably ended up with them!  :-\


I'd be shaking like crazy looking at that phone.  I don't have paypal at the moment and have missed out on a lot, but of course, couldn't afford this no matter how bad I wanted it.  I'm so glad that somebody who will know how to treat it right, and cherish it is going to get their hands on it.
- Tom


Please don't turn this phone into a lamp!  ;) ;) ;)
I wonder how the dial got like that. Maybe it was shredded?


What a sleeper, and what a rollercoaster ride!

For illustrative purposes I concur with the idea of a clear body on, with an easy release, this would be ideal for its appearences on exhibition, and obviously you wouldn't be trying to claim the clear body is in any way original, or how about getting a Dremel and making a real one similar to these pics, you could cut up an un-needed half decent 500 case?

Just food for thought, and well done, glad it went to someone who appreciates it.

"now this should take five minutes, where's me screwdriver went now..?"


based on this amazing drawing from a brochure:

"now this should take five minutes, where's me screwdriver went now..?"


D/P, you folks sure know your 500's!

Imagine I had stumbled over this and just put a decent 500 body over it and it would just be sitting in my house!

Hmmm, maybe I should double check my 554 network date... ;)
"now this should take five minutes, where's me screwdriver went now..?"


Does anyone have any idea as to which handset it had originally.
My guess is it had a G1 design with F1 elements installed.
I know it had the Straight handset cord.

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

Doug Rose

D/P ...will you post the auction number so we can take a look at it....good luck with your find.....Doug


Glad you got this phone....surely important and rare.  It has me thinking about WE policy regarding what was done with these '49s once production of the 500 was off and running in 1950. This example does look to have been put in the 'Trash' pile of some kind at some point. Provokes a flashback of that huge pile of phones I came across in 1971 as a child fishing along a river in Connecticut. Yours thankfully this phone does not look to have been outside rust.

The Murray Hills Bell Labs is where the transistor was invented in 1947 or 48, earning Bell Labs the Nobel Prize! I'm going to call my Father in law regarding this......for his father, a physicist, worked briefly at Murray Hills during WWII on the development of radar !

This must be a prototype with that writing on the base......unusual to say the least. Never seen that.

As to how to proceed with it.....some of the restoration/display ideas mentioned are good ideas. In a way simply cleaned and left in it's current state and presented at shows would work since it is such a rare item - until research and location of correct parts can be done. It would be among the very few "rough condition" sets to draw a crowd at an event.

Thanks for sharing the photos & details......we've all learned something important about 500 history.




The ringer seems earlier than a C2A. Notice that it appears to have a metal strap running above the ringer coil. That would be another first in this phone. Normally there is nothing connected on the top of the ringer.

The dial seems to have a recessed space for the nut that holds the wheel in place. That is unusual also.

I don't believe it is a production model, probably a field trial unit instead.

Paul Fassbender could give you a good assessment of this phone. He has lots of Bell prototype units.  

Dennis Markham

I've been gone most of the day so I'm just getting to answering your post Dan.

I can't speak on behalf of my friend.  I don't think he realized it had the Z/O plate.  He just noticed the Bell Labs and the different look.  It wasn't something apparently that he was interested in buying.

It was in the category that I don't often look, therefore I didn't see it and would not have had I not been alerted.  I didn't notice the Z/O plate until yesterday afternoon.  I decided then I'd try and buy it.

It's kind of like what I read about people that win the lottery.  The best thing may be just to hang on to it without altering it until  you've given it some thought.

I think the eBay counter only counts each I.P. once.  You can visit a thousand times and it will only count you once, if you were logged in...I think.  I tried it yesterday.  My subsequent visits did not raise the count.


Let us know when it arrives. I am so happy to see the "Bigfoot" of model 500's. I would put a G-1 black handset on it for completeness sake with a straight cord.

I little soap and water or 409 and aThat's all you need.

Wow! I am speechless and happy for you!!!! 8)
"Imagine how weird telephones would look if our ears weren't so close to our mouths." - Steven Wright


you may be right, I went by what was posted at Pauls site, he said the earliest 500 were C2A. But if this is in fact a prototype it could well be some other ringer. Any ideas what it might be ?
I will re-post the photos tomorrow, after a few inquiries.


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


wow! what a saga! d/p i truly hope this is the holy grail it seems to be! i am going to reserve judgment on the treatment of this set until you complete your research & have more photos. i am leaning towards display in some type of clear case. maybe with an engraved plaque :)


Definitely clear case and keep everything cleaned but unrestored. That would be super cool. Waiting for more pictures!