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Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones

Started by Jester, February 28, 2010, 11:48:47 PM

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I just took a quick look at his ebay profile.  He has quite an appetite (and budget) for phone oddities.  Several of the phones that I had been watching apparently ended up on his front porch.


Dennis Markham

He has picked up some nice phones in the past couple of years.  I know someone that might know him....our own jflowres (Kidphone) sold him a phone not too long ago.


It looks exactly like jester's avatar!
"Imagine how weird telephones would look if our ears weren't so close to our mouths." - Steven Wright


I bought one almost identical to this red/black combo about six months ago...I think I only paid $150.  I guess I got a deal!  Only problem is...unlike's not a tax deduction.
Jim H.


Does anyone know around what year this phone was made. Very nice looking. Thanks Jiggerman.



The picture of the bottom shows a date.  It looks like 5/54.



Dennis, I came in fourth. Way down yonder, as they say here in the South. According to the eBay handles list from years ago, oldphoneguy55 is David Shtaida from Wisconsin. Member of ATCA and TCI at that time (2006). Congratulations, David! You got a nice one.

Yes, that phone is from 5-54. It's one of what I call the early black dial models, made mostly in 1954 before they were able to produce red matching dial faces. It's not a two-tone, because those had black handset, dial and cords. This one just has a black dial. The cords are dark gray.

The plug on the end is, I believe, a Cinch-Jones plug. I used to see those plugs on old audio equipment and in old Lafayette catalogs from the 1950s.

What that GTE number card, and an old one at that, is doing on this phone is truly a mystery. I have to wonder if it was put there by the previous owner.

The seller was very wise not to cave to that vulture offer.


It took several years to sort out the manufacturing issues on all the components of color sets.  Even after full color sets were available, there was a demand for two-tone sets, so they were modified in the distribution houses.  They were in the BSPs and catalogs for years.

For more details, see the May 2009 Singing Wires -- available for viewing here:
Visit:         WE  500  Design_Line


Doug Rose

Quote from: Dennis Markham on June 10, 2010, 11:01:18 PM
He has picked up some nice phones in the past couple of years.  I know someone that might know him....our own jflowres (Kidphone) sold him a phone not too long ago.
David has bought phones from me before. He is on the eBay handles list that Terry made, a member of both clubs....Doug

Jim Stettler

I have a bsp that says to order color housings and to switch them onto a black phone for 2-tone sets. 
You live, You learn,
You die, you forget it all.


So all that makes them special is the handset cord ?

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

Jim Stettler

The early 2-tones were factory sets. these would be the same vintage as early colored sets with black dials
I am talking about the later 2-tones (black dial, black handset, black cords). The only thing that is special is the colored housing.

I will try to look up the date of these bsp tonite. I am thinking early to mid 50's.
You live, You learn,
You die, you forget it all.


I mentioned my odd 5302 with the E  handset in the 5302 thread, and that I wondered if that was installed by the phone co., as opposed to a hobbyist.

Here's a black and white 500 that I found locally, many years ago, and the older woman said that she recalled it being like that when leased from the phone co., back in the day.

The base and ringer are dated 1952, and the white housing appears to be the thick soft plastic, like my older soft black ones..... (not sure what the cutoff date is for soft plastic).  I'm fairly sure it had the black bakelite plungers when I got it, and maybe I robbed them for another 500 project,  not thinking much about it at the time.... (maybe I need to swap them back).

The handset is bakelite, and the dial, microphone, and speaker are dated between '59 to '61, so I'm wondering if this was a white '52 that went in for a rebuild, or maybe an "in home" repair, and got a newer black handset and dial, just because that is what was available.

So, one question I have, was the 500 available in white soft plastic in '52, and if so, what would have been used as a handset?  I guess I'm trying to determine if the white body goes with the original '52 phone.  Are there any telltale signs inside the body?  Any ideas about this 2 tone oddity?

Josh P


Hey Josh,
Pretty cool looking phone! I like the 5300 with the E handset also. The 500 shell should have a clock like stamp inside with the date in it.
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"



The first colored 500s were two-tone like yours.  That topic has been mentioned on this forum in the past.  Look at the inside of the shell near the bottom edge of the front.  There should be a date printed there.  If it is from about mid 1959 or earlier, the shell is probably tenite (soft plastic).  Your phone should be valuable.  The handset cord on it does not look original though.