Author Topic: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success  (Read 1788 times)

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« on: November 06, 2013, 03:14:18 PM »
I've been reading old topics on the forum lately (this is what I do in my free time at school) and there was a topic about how someone couldn't use their 1956 500 anymore because the cheese smell from the soft plastic disgusted him, and everyone agreed. As a collector, I feel the exact opposite about the smell. When I open a 1957 blue 500, I breathe a sigh or relief when the phone is in my hands, and the smell hits my nose, definitely indicating that it's soft plastic (or that someone stuck a piece of cheese between the bells in 1973).
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Offline twocvbloke

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Re: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2013, 04:02:43 PM »
I don't use my red 500 (the only phone I have, well, at least the only one that I left out of a box that uses tenite), but I occasionally catch a whiff of it from across the room, and I know it's the phone, but I still check to make sure it's not my feet... :D

Out of all my (2)500s though, it has the best sounding ring, I know they're all meant to be identical, but there's something about the gongs in that one that just sounds perfect... :)

unbeldi

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Re: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2013, 06:12:57 PM »
Does anyone have a BLACK 1950s 500-type set that smells the same?

It appears there is a distinct difference in the polymers used for colored and black 500-type sets.
Yet collectors commonly refer to both as "soft plastic". That term is not only ambiguous, but appears also wrong, as the plastics of the colored 300-series sets appear even softer and do not smell the same, and clearly they are yet another variety of cellulose acetate, or Tenite by the Kodak trademark.  I try to avoid the term "soft plastic" and I think everyone should.  Let's definitively determine what these materials are in each case and call them a proper name.

There is a Bell article that discusses recycling of telephone materials, plastic housings specificially, and it mentions that the engineers had a problem with black housings that produced particles which clogged the injection nozzles. The author attributed this to being a phenolic resin, a thermoset material, not a thermoplastic.


I don't know of any use of thermosets in Western Electric apparatus housings, and know of no documented use other than insulator strips, contact mountings, plugs, wall sockets, etc. So, what is that article referring to?

I have examined and compared black housings from probably all years of the 1950s and into the 1960s and cannot detect a qualitative difference in the material. The black plastic smells distinctively different than the colored sets, almost a bit phenolic.  Recently, I compared a 1956 black 554 housing with one from a 1960 wall set and they were identical with the exception that the 56 housing was date-stamped in ink, and the 1960 housing had the molded year-dial. All other mold features/textures inside were identical, even the large mark of one letter and a digit, as if they had come from the same mold, but I don't know what those designation actually mean.

It is said that the transition to ABS plastic took till 1964, and I assume that implies the transition in the black sets, as the transition in the colored sets seemed to have been completed by 1960.

« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 04:51:40 PM by unbeldi »

Offline Brinybay

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Re: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2013, 01:36:42 AM »
It's funny that of all the phones I have from 30s - 60s, I've never encountered the objectionable "cheese" smell.  Some of the electronics have a smell that reminds me of old tobacco, but it wasn't overpowering. 
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unbeldi

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Re: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2013, 03:11:50 AM »
It's funny that of all the phones I have from 30s - 60s, I've never encountered the objectionable "cheese" smell.  Some of the electronics have a smell that reminds me of old tobacco, but it wasn't overpowering. 
AFAIK, this is only true for the colored 500-series sets from 1953-1959.

Offline xhausted110

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Re: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2013, 03:53:49 PM »
Does anyone have a BLACK 1950s 500-type set that smells the same?

It appears there is a distinct difference in the polymers used for colored and black 500-type sets.
Yet collectors commonly refer to both as "soft plastic". That term is not only ambiguous, but appears also wrong, as the plastics of the colored 300-series sets appear even softer and do not smell the same, and clearly they are yet another variety of cellulose acetate, or Tenite by the Kodak trademark.  I try to avoid the term "soft plastic" and I think everyone should.  Let's definitively determine what these materials are in each case and call them a proper name.

There is a Bell article that discusses recycling of telephone materials, plastic housings specificially, and it mentions that the engineers had a problem with black housings that produced particles which clogged the injection nozzles. The author attributed this to being a phenolic resin, a thermoset material, not a thermoplastic.

http://www.telephonecollectors.info/index.php/document-repository/doc_details/11705-75dec-blr-p427-recycling-plastic

I don't know of any use of thermosets in Western Electric apparatus housings, and know of no documented use other than insulator strips, contact mountings, plugs, wall sockets, etc. So, what is that article referring to?

I have examined and compared black housings from probably all years of the 1950s and into the 1960s and cannot detect a qualitative difference in the material. The black plastic smells distinctively different that the colored sets, almost a bit phenolic.  Recently, I compared a 1956 black 554 housing with one from a 1960 wall set and they were identical with the exception that the 56 housing was date-stamped in ink, and the 1960 housing had the molded year-dial. All other mold features/textures inside were identical, even the large mark of one letter and a digit, as if they had come from the same mold, but I don't know what those designation actually mean.

It is said that the transition to ABS plastic took till 1964, and I assume that implies the transition in the black sets, as the transition in the colored sets seemed to have been completed by 1960.



I have a 12/54 500D that smells like cheese.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2013, 10:23:47 PM by xhausted110 »
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Offline Brinybay

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Re: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2013, 04:18:44 PM »
It's funny that of all the phones I have from 30s - 60s, I've never encountered the objectionable "cheese" smell.  Some of the electronics have a smell that reminds me of old tobacco, but it wasn't overpowering. 
AFAIK, this is only true for the colored 500-series sets from 1953-1959.

I'm so glad I have an organized pictorial inventory of my phones, saved me from going through all my phones.  Apparently, I only have one true colored 500 from that era, an aqua blue, unless Mahogany counts as a color?  The other two colored sets I have both have shell dates for 72.  Neither the Aqua or the Mahogany have the cheese smell.
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unbeldi

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Re: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2013, 04:37:40 PM »
It's funny that of all the phones I have from 30s - 60s, I've never encountered the objectionable "cheese" smell.  Some of the electronics have a smell that reminds me of old tobacco, but it wasn't overpowering.  
AFAIK, this is only true for the colored 500-series sets from 1953-1959.

I'm so glad I have an organized pictorial inventory of my phones, saved me from going through all my phones.  Apparently, I only have one true colored 500 from that era, an aqua blue, unless Mahogany counts as a color?  The other two colored sets I have both have shell dates for 72.  Neither the Aqua or the Mahogany have the cheese smell.

Yes, Mahogany counts.  My 1958 Mahogany key set has the smell, but it is not as strong as others.  In fact I found great variation in the intensity of the odor.  Indeed my 1957 aqua blue is almost free of it too, I can smell it better sticking my nose into the handset cavity.   The strongest odors, I feel, have been with the ivory sets, as I remarked recently (http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=10094.msg107479#msg107479). Next are red (1955, 1956), dark blue (1955), green (1956), perhaps all about the same. Pink (1958) is less noticeable too.  I wonder whether the coloring agents had some influence or whether WeCo found ways to stabilize the plastic better in later years, before they switched to ABS altogether.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 04:43:14 PM by unbeldi »

unbeldi

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Re: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2013, 04:39:51 PM »
I have a 12/54 500C that smells like cheese.

Is it black?

Offline WesternElectricBen

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Re: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2013, 05:21:00 PM »
My med. blue smells like cheese..

Offline xhausted110

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Re: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2013, 10:23:19 PM »
- Evan

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unbeldi

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Re: Cheese, that Sweet smell of Success
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2013, 10:48:10 PM »
I have a 12/54 500C that smells like cheese.

Is it black?

yep.
I would like to smell it, that smell of black success.