"The phone is a remarkably complex, simple device,
and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

Main Menu

Restoring a WECo Blue 500U

Started by, June 02, 2011, 04:32:50 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

I acquired this Western Electric blue 500U about two months ago. The color was nearly perfect. Unfortunately, the set had been field modularized. Thankfully the handset was not modularized But, it had the square hole in back for the modular plug. I decided to see how close I could come to restoring the original "mouse hole." The third picture shows: a piece from a scrap blue 500 epoxied in-place to provide a template for the mouse hole and the Blu-Tack dam for the liquid plastic application. The fourth photo shows the result. I need a better technique for the mouse hole lip.


Dennis Markham

Chuck, it looks pretty darn good!  Great job & beautiful phone.  Tell us more about Blu-Tack....

Very ingenious.

Dennis Markham

Thanks to DougPav for pointing out a previous post by Chuck about Blu-Tack.  Here is the post:

I had forgotten about this one. 


Wow! Beautiful job, Chuck! You do excellent work!

I've been thinking about your technique on the mouse hole lip, since you said you needed a better one. I haven't ever used acetone. Does painter's tape stop the acetone? You could put tape up and down the hole lip where it meets the body of the phone, and push the excess into the hole. You need something with a really straight edge that bends and it needs to stay stuck really well. They make different grades of that tape. It might be worth trying.

One small correction to the nomenclature on this phone--it's a 500U and not a 500P. Just for the record and in case anyone is confused. You were very lucky to have an unfaded phone too. It would be really hard to find a donor for a faded phone, and the melting of the ribs would yield unfaded aqua blue. You'd have to sand the entire phone or somehow bring it back to the original color.

This also brings up the question about revealing restoration work done to a phone when it's sold. Especially one as valuable as this one. On the inside, does it look as seamless as the outside? Can anyone tell it's been repaired? It may not show up now, but who knows what a good dose of UV will do? Something to ponder.


Thanks. I have thought of a number of ways to facilitate the lip, but I haven't given it focused thought. I hope not to have to restore a mouse hole again.

You are correct about a faded phone. I sand the ribs before using just to make sure they are the original color. Using original color for repair ensures that you have to sand the entire phone to maintain color match if it is faded. I am currently restoring a blue soft plastic 500 C/D. It has a couple of deep nicks that I will restore by filling with the original color. But I have to sand the entire phone anyway, to eliminate a green cast.

From the inside it is obvious that the blue 500U was repaired/restored.


Doug Rose are a magician! Utterly fantastic. Looks like it just rolled out of the WE factory. Amazing!!!....Doug


Thank you for the kind words.