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WE "B1" - What Do I Have Here?

Started by Slal, April 29, 2014, 02:28:43 PM

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Hi Everyone,

This will probably be last phone for a while.  No more phone jacks & rest of the ones on a 'hunting' list are out of my price range.  ; )

Have 14 days to return it.  Posting to see if have legit "old phone from 20's or 30's" or...

The dreaded beginner's mistake: "Sorry to tell you, but it's a franken-phone.  Part x is from the 1970's."   

Trying to keep file size / pixel dimensions small so if unclear from low-rez images-- brief description.

Base of "B1" part reads, "Western Electric Made in USA Pat in USA Sept 16 24 Pats App For."  Inside is "230" in red paint. 

Bottom of 2HB dial reads, "Western Electric Made in USA Aug 19 12 Aug 24 15 DES May 18 (or 13?) Sept 13 21."  In red paint, "130"

Paint = month/year codes?  Jan & Feb 1930?

Middle reads, "Trademark Western Electric Reg US Pat Off Pat in USA 8 15 22 - 11 10 25 - 9 28 26 1 3 22 Design Pat Applied For E1 Made in USA."

Trans: "395B Western Electric Made in USA"

Recvr: "Western Electric Made in USA 557B"

Dial probably needs cleaning & oil?  Approx 2 seconds to return from zero at finger-stop back to resting position.  Dials out, but takes more pressure to dial than ones that have been cleaned.   

Loud "tock" sound in receiver when dialing each number.  Normal, or result of me using 4 conductor subset to test the phone?  (Came with 3 conductor cord for subset.)

Listeners say I sound "different" or "far away."  Limitation of "bullet" transmitter or this part may need replacing by someone who has the tools?  (Assuming phone is a keeper.)




That's a nice original B1 mount.  No Frankenphone here! To operate properly it needs a subset (subscriber set) The dial is a nice original #2 with a notch-less dial plate. Sent it to Steve Hilsz whose contact info is

$6 bucks plus shipping is well worth it. Cleans up beautifully.   Get a subset and some new cords and you have a winner. Nice E1 with a "bullet" transmitter.

Look for dates on the components, but there may not be any. Usually stamped in vermillion ink like on the dial. Dial is dated first quarter of 1930. That's a nice phone


130=January, 1930. It's not "I 30" (Letter I/Roman Numeral). They didn't use quarters in the dates on dials or on the handset mounting that early. They used regular numbers starting in 1929--1928s weren't dated other than on the transmitter. Look for dates on the outside rim of the 395B transmitter, inside the receiver, and on the restraints on the cords. They did start using Roman numerals for the quarter later--possibly IV 30.
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.


Hey Dave:  Would there be a date on the back of the dial plate?


Quote from: tallguy58 on April 29, 2014, 03:54:52 PM
Hey Dave:  Would there be a date on the back of the dial plate?

Off hand, I don't recall seeing dates on any 132-type number plates--the ones with no notch and with 3 pins. Anyone else disagree?
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.



St Clair Shores, MI


Thanks for replies & link.  Fortunately some compressed air, paint brush & clock oil has dial working nicely.

Transmitter is marked "Mar. '30" in red (vermillion) paint with a five pointed star after it.  What does the star indicate if anything? 

Anyway, couldn't find any markings / imprints on handset itself or transmitter.

'Poplar1' restraint imprints very good eye for detail.  Will remember that.

The restraints *inside* phone aren't marked.  The three conductor cord that would join with subscriber set is marked "D3 5-6 IV 33" at the other end.  Don't know if handset cord is marked on other end.  Too many wires tucked in there to see.

*All* restraints should be stamped, or they only stamped one end?

All in all, safe to say phone is 1930 components will possible new restraints (and or cords) added.  In 1933 a technician may have hooked it up to a side-tone set (three cond.)




If you take the transmitter and receiver elements out of the handset, and carefully tap them on the edges on a firm surface, that may loosen up the carbon in the elements and make them response better.
If not, I hate to see someone suffer from a bad, deal, I'll give you $12.00 plus shipping to ease your pain.


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


Cords are stamped at one end only.


The date for the H3B handset cord is probably imprinted on the C-hook restraint inside the handset, and there's no date on the set end. Very early cords had paper bands with the part number and date.

Notice the old E-1 logo on the handset. This indicates a handle older than May '31, though the latest I have found is Feb. '31. This is the correct handle for a 102/202 with B1 handset mounting.

Receivers are usually dated but you have to remove the diaphragm to see the date. The handles made before 1934 are not dated so far as I know, but you can get an idea based on all original sets:

Ungrooved handsets--at least 4 variations of logo:
E-1 handle--logo similar to D-80370-----1928
The one you found here-----1928- Feb. 1931
Most common logo found on  grooveless ( May 1931-11-17-36)
      No writing behind receiver
      Orange ink
      White ink

Grooved handsets: Most have same logo as found on mid-'31- late '36 ungrooved handles
Always dated (1-35--3 27 39)
Some found with simplified logo......c. 1938

[Dates are based on found sets as well as those reported by others. Updated list of date ranges here:  ]
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.


Thanks for tip about tapping to loosen carbon & kind offer to sell replacements.  Tried it & couldn't tell any difference. 

Am stumped at removing those parts from bakelite.  Not possible to safely attempt with tools I have.

Anyway, for better or worse, restraint imprints are consistent.  The "C" hook on handset cord stamped, "H3B 4-0 IV 33"


In late 1933 both cords on the phone were replaced-- perhaps when it was installed in a new residence or subscriber ran into problems?  No answer to that one.

Some final questions as wrap it up.

1.) What does the red star mean after a painted month/year date?  Can't imagine WE arbitrarily putting symbols on some components & not others.  Quality control?  Star = complete handset or entire phone tested OK?

2.) When was f-1 transmitter retrofitted?  If cords replaced late 1933/early 1934-- tech would've installed better transmit, or this would've been done at large WE or ATT facility?

3.) Nothing to do with phone, but for future reference.

How much storage space do we get for attachments?  Cannot find any "Manage Attachments" menu to edit them or find out how much space I have left.  e.g. "You are using 50% of X MB allotment."




The F1 transmitter unit was developed for the 302 telephone set; no F1 units have been reported older than IV 34.  So that would explain why in 1933 your phone would have been reissued or repaired without any changes to the handset.

This F1 unit--as part of the 625A transmitter assembly--was standard on new E1E handsets starting sometime in 1935. Phones remanufactured at the Western Electric repair shops after 1935 almost always got retrofitted with the newer style 625A transmitters.

The date ranges found so far for 202 parts are on the same chart mentioned in the link above:

                                        Est. Dates           Earliest Found: Latest Found: Latest Reported:
     E-Type (Dates are on transmitter and receiver only until 1934)

         E1B (has 395B xmtr)..1928-1935:
              395B transmitter..........................228 .............11/35
         E1E (has 625A xmtr) ..1935-1939...............................3 04 39.......3-22-39
                  625A xmtr:
                      [date on 129A condenser].........II 35...............I 38
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.


Guess that will do it then. 

Regards the 'star' on transmitter.  Safe to assume no replies means, "We don't know.  Yet."

Every once in a while will come across an imprint or something on an old Waterman fountain pen.  Will post a question at fountain pen board & even a gentleman who has spent a *lifetime* researching the company will reply back, "We don't know.  Yet."  ; )

Anyway, thanks everyone for support & replies.  CRPF seems a vey nice place with a wealth of information.  Half of my searches about phone wind up back here.



In checking dates on 395B transmitters, I found only one with a star. It is dated "MAY '29" followed by "APR '30" with a star after the '30. 11 others did not have a star.

While the APR '30 is close to your MAR '30, still on mine it is a refurb date where on yours it is the only date, correct?

MAR 1928--MAR '29   
MAY '29---APR '30 *
NOV '30
DEC '30
FEB '31
AUG '31---MAY '32
MAR '32
JUNE '32
SEP '32---6/36 M
12/32----F 11/36
2/33 H
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.


Devil to remove but need to for polishing.  Tool in Meyers' book worked.  Next step to make one for receiver. ; )

Anyway, no other date on transmitter that I can find.