Telephone Identification, Repair & Restoration > Technical "Stuff"

Automatic Electric Dial Identification

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One thing that I have never really paid a lot of attention to is the various models of AE Dials.

I know that the earliest AE dial would be the large Strowger 10 digit dial that was then turned into the more familiar large Strowger 11 digit dial. These are the large dials found on Strowger Wooden wall phones and Strowger Pot Belly Sticks. By the way these were dials for 3 wire phones where 3 leads were needed back to the CO to put through a call.

Then they came out with the smaller dials and I believe that the Sunburst would have been the first one lasting only about 1 year until it was upgraded to what we now call the Mercedes Dial. These dials were all slightly smaller than the modern 3” dials, I think they were 2 7/8” inches or so in diameter. Some or maybe all of the Sunburst Dials were made for the 3 wire system as well. Either the Sunburst or the Mercedes variants were available for both 2 or 3 wire Exchange systems as CO's were converting to a 2 wire dialling system at the time.

There was a type 23 that was still smaller than 3” but it looked very much like the type 24 and up in the way it’s number card holder was designed.

After that came the Type 24 Dial presumably developed in about 1924 consistent with AE's model numbering scheme of the era where models began with the year.

Then in 1936 the type 24 was upgraded to a 24A36 which had what was called "Pawl Quieting" so that it didn't click while being wound up (not while it was returning to normal like the WECO dials that clicked).

Then on to type 51 and after that the type 52.

I have started this thread because even though I call myself AE_collector that doesn't mean that I know a whole lot about this stuff. I'm hoping that those who know anything about any particular model of AE dial will tell us what they know and maybe even post pictures of the front and the back and this can become a resource for information on AE's dials.


Here is a PDF that gives lots of great info on most of the AE dials from the Type 24 on up. I'll use this to build a shorter comparison chart and then hopefully add pictures. There is a comparison chart on page 8 of the 30 page document. G-Man pointed this document out to me.

A few basics of AE dials from the document to get started:

Type 24 Dials (1924) clicked on wind up. Type 24A36 (1936) Dials had "Pawl Quieting" which quieted but didn't completely eliminate the clicking on wind up. You can still faintly hear he clicks.

Type 24 and 24A36 Dials had Stamped brass bodies with a silvery color to them as though they were tin plated. The next dial, the Type 51 (1951) and all later dials had the die cast aluminum/zinc bodies.

The Type 24, 24A36 & 51 Dials all had single contacts for pulse and shunt. Beginning with the Type 51A (1954) all contacts became Bifurcated (double contacts). The 51A also had tapped bosses on the back for mounting a rear dust cover.

The Type 52, 52F, 53A, 53AF, 53B, & 53BF Dials are the ones that allowed for the larger plastic number plates used on AE 80's & 90's. The "F" indicates wire wrap and soldered lead connections where the ones without the "F" are screw terminals like all of the predecesors. The "A" and "AF" are SATT Dials and the "B" and "BF" are SATT B Dials.

Type 54, 54AF & 54BF (1960) are all for use with AE 182 Desk Starlite Phones and later 192 Wall Starlite Phones. They have the Electroluminescent Disk in them and a square Numberplate. All are wirewrap/solder connections and the A & B versions are for SATT use as described with Type 53 Dials above.

I January 1974 all Dials from Type 52 through Type 54 were redesigned changing a lot of parts to plastic. The Shunt Cam was changed to Aluminum (from Brass I believe).

Type 154A Dial (1968) is the smaller Dial with moving Fingerstop for AE Styleline Phones. There were sigificant changes to this dial over the years as well.


I am going to reserve a few spots right at the top here so down the road I can sumarise all the information and pictures of various dial types and bring it to the top of this discussion.


Okay, that should do it . I haven't seen anyone do THIS before so thought I would give it a try since only 6 pictures can be included in one single post.

Let the replies begin!


I've been fascinated by the AE dials, especially the early ones.  I've been taking notes every time I find information about these dials, and here's a brief summary of my notes:

1909 - type 9 dial, Sunburst
1911 - type 11, Mercedes dial card holder, cardboard number plate and glass cover.
1911 - type 11, mercedes dial card holder 2 3/4 " fingerwheel, ceramic number plate
1918 - type 18, mercedes dial card holder,  2 3/4" fingerwheel
1923 - type 23, came with the round number card holder.   2 7/8" fingerwheel, and larger finger holes.
1924 - type 24.  3" fingerwheel.

That's all I have, and it may not be correct.   The type 11 have little nubs on the back two mounting brackets, and a screw hole only on the front tab.  Later all three brackets had screw holes and no nubs.  I don't know yet what defines the type 18 dial other than the extra contacts.


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