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Automatic Electric Type A to Type F US Navy Phones

Started by ntophones, January 06, 2010, 02:27:56 PM

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Was it featured - with a description or story?

Here's a Type D photo for reference ...
Visit:         WE  500  Design_Line



Dunno why, but that thing reminds me of one of these "Spirit of St. Louis" phones:

Obviously the SOSL phone is probably about as rugged as an Austin Maestro, compared to the Type D shown above... :D


  paul-f: YES that was the phone that was featured. They said they were used on ships and showed a black & white picture of an air craft carrier. They showed the rates of using the telephone back then and its equivalent in today's money. I think it was around 60-80 $ in today's economy. I looked on the internet to try to find a pic. and info on them, but I found nothing. The show gave a quick description on the phone. Nice to see a picture of one. Is there any where  would show the internals of one?  

Russ Kirk

Can someone give a ballpark figure as to the going ebay/FMV cost for this phone shown on American Pickers?  I recall something in the $200-300 range.....

- Russ Kirk

Doug Rose



wow! the American pickers totally riped off the person they bought it from. I think they gave the seller $150.0 on the show. I'm not sure how much of it is scripted. I often wonder how the items that they showcase or spot light effects the market of collectors for that specific item. I don't like how they laugh in peoples face when they throw out a price of an item and then they show that they are going to ask triple what was paid. Price is usually what the market will bear though.

Doug Rose

What was the condition? The one pictured looks to be new old stock. The handset cord alone is worth at least  $75 new with the tag....Doug


The Type D pictured above is (as I recall) from an ebay auction in May 2011.  It was presented as a MIB (unused) set, complete with a rather large junction box.  The condition was exceptional and the starting price was $7,500.  Shipping across the country to me would have been another $126.

I believe the seller had at least two of them!

It closed with no bids, so you may still have a shot at one of them!   ;D

ISTR seeing several in fair to poor condition sell on ebay in the $500 - 1,000 range.  Of course, so few of them sell that there is no "market price."  Like everything else, finding one off ebay with little competition will help save your wallet contents.

I've attached some photos of one in slightly less exciting condition that's in my project queue to tidy up for display.

Anyone have a wiring diagram?   ::)  ::)  ::)
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I remember that auction also. I emailed him and if I recall correctly he had 3 of them, 2 new in box and 1 with no box. I was drooling over it!
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434

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


Doug Rose: the telephone on the t.v. show looked to be in fair condition. The cord was braided like the one above. How were these sets hooked up? Were they wired to an antenna? Can one be wired to a land one? I would guess with all the old goodies this set has inside it, one would be able to wire up a land line to it. What would be the best "key words" to use while searching eBay for this set? I would be interested in seeing a wire diagram as well. What type of junction box was used with these sets?  The pictures are great to see.


That type D looks to be way more than just a telephone.  It looks like the control head to a very sophisticated radio communication system.


TCI members will find several interesting articles on the AE Type D in the March and September 1995 issues of Singing Wires.

These were part of shipboard communication systems used on large vessels, such as battleships and aircraft carriers.  Several styles of AE phones were used, connected by a Strowger step switch.

As you can imagine, hundreds of extensions were involved.  Typical legends for Type D intercom pushbuttons include:  Captain's Cabin, Deck Officer, Flag Office, Exec. Off. Office, Exec. Off. S.R. (State Room), Ch. of Staff Cabin, etc.

One member won the "Most Educational" award at the 1995 Erlanger show with a display showcasing his set, which was from the battleship U.S.S. Missouri.  This was the ship used for the signing of the peace treaty with Japan ending WWII.
Visit:         WE  500  Design_Line



Probably equivalent to early ship to shore radio phones. Or at least tied into the ships communications center.

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


Found a group of phones on craigslist and ended up getting it all for $30.  I could see that there was a 354 and a spacesaver in the group as well as a 500 series.  When I got them I found that the 354 has a toggle switch to the side(?).  I also found that one of the other "phones"in the group was a Navy intercom labeled "Type CME-51008 Navy Department - Bureau of Ships".  It also has a metal tag stating Puget Sound Naval Shipyard 1399.  The 500 has a push button on the lower section of the phone so they are all just a bit different.  The spacesaver is a 43A but needs the hook.  Any help on these would be appreciated.  The intercom is pretty cool and looks great for it's age, no chips in the handset, slices in cords etc.  Also found a spare F1 in great condition in the box so not a bad haul.

Doug Rose

What a great haul! I really like the AE Navy phone. These are a tough find. You did really well.....Doug