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AE80 Coding - Determining the age of an Automatic Electric AE80

Started by guitar1580, January 02, 2020, 11:08:19 PM

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I think it is an AE80.  I got it today for $13.  It's pretty faded and the dial is sluggish, but I thought I may sand out the color and get it looking better.  I'd think it would have to be worth more than $13.

If anyone has an idea of the age range, please let me know.  I've not had one of these but it is interesting to see how different it is from a WE 500. 

A couple of things I noticed that are different from some others I've seen are the chrome plungers, chrome number ring, and no center hole in the transmitter cap.  Also, there is no ringer adjustment where is says "louder", and on the base where there is a hole and numbers 0 thru 5, there appears to be no adjusting screw inside the hole.


Jack Ryan

It is an AE 80 from 1960.

It has a frequency ringer and those did not have a volume control.

The other adjustment is for the line length. Later models had auto line length compensation.



Note the 4-60 on the base. this might be the date  .No ringer control because it was a feature that was not standard on all sets and if a tuned ringer not as all.


Thanks folks.  I wasn't sure if those numbers contained a date code or not, as I was thinking it was newer.  This could be close to being my birthday phone.  Very cool.

It looks like it was upgraded along the way and maybe had the feet replaced.


fiddled with these a few times... don't like them. I refurbished the AE 87A phones years ago and really liked them... but got more interested in WE equipment because its more popular. good luck with yours...


I know what ya mean John.  I prefer WE gear too.  The AE80 reminds me of a WE500 that got squashed & semi flattened from the front.  Not quite as visually appealing to me as the 500, but still an interesting piece of history.

As I mentioned, I got this because it was cheap.  I was thinking I could re-sell it for a profit, but after I put work into a phone, I usually end up keeping them anyway.

I do have a couple of older AE desk sets, a couple that were given to me, but never really tried chasing too many down. 

Jack Ryan

Quote from: rdelius on January 02, 2020, 11:21:17 PM
No ringer control because it was a feature that was not standard on all sets and if a tuned ringer not as all.

That's right,

Code SL was a straight line ringer without adjustment
Code SA was a straight line ringer with adjustment
A numeric code indicated a frequency ringer and they had no adjustment
Code VT was a superimposed ringer without adjustment
Code VA  was a superimposed ringer with adjustment
Code XX was supplied without a ringer (and without adjustment).

This phone looks to be coded XX so it was supplied without a ringer which was later added by the operating company.



Feet are not replacements  Set also appears to have the origional coiled handset cord. I think AE tried to solve shortcomings of the 500 set design . Type 80 sets are harder to hang up improperly and the installers hook switch latch was a good feature. Shortcomings on the type 80 were the manual line compensation .I guess AE did not want to pay WE a licence fee for the automatic compensation .


Thanks folks.  Good info.  Good link Paul.

I took it all apart last night and started sanding.  I got most of the faded areas back to pink, but still not done.  There are zero scratches in the plastics.  It should really shine up well when done.

I took the dial apart and am going to clean it up today.  The cord appears to be in good shape.   I have to get a line cord, may look for a pink one if everything else turns out well.

Rdelius, thanks for pointing out the hookswitch latch.  I noticed it stays down if you push it all the way, then has the hole where you can put a wire or pin through.  Pretty neat.

I noticed that the bells are a musical minor third, B & D, probably again to be different from the 500.  I believe WE went from a minor 3rd on the 300 series to a major 3rd on the 500.


The hookswitch is "magic" .It will stay down for adjusting the ringer and will pop up when the shell is put back on .I guess the smaller gongs have a higher tone.

Jim Stettler

A pink AE80 for $13.00 is a find. You should post it to the Find of the month.
You can post this thread here:

You live, You learn,
You die, you forget it all.


Thanks folks.  Thanks Jim, maybe I'll enter it in FOTM.  I've not participated in that before.

I got the phone sanded out to bring the color back, and got the dial working.  Still have to reassemble it, and waiting for some dial centers and clear discs to arrive.

Will post pics when it's done.