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Pack Mule Arrived - Silver Imperiall - 1955

Started by Dennis Markham, February 26, 2009, 02:23:28 PM

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Dennis Markham

Finally!  (It's awful being impatient).  The pack mule arrived at my door today and dropped this on the front porch:

(Ebay Link Removed)

I am very pleased with this purchase.  I have about $50 invested in a very nice silver Imperial.  I took some photos to share.  The handset cord is extra nice.  It is a silver weave that may be silk.  Bingster knows more about those than I do.  What say ye Bingster (from my photos)??  The handset is marked Bell System - Western Electric and only the letter "F" with no 1 after it.  I've never seen that before.  It is a painted handset.  The Bakelite ear cap is dated June of 1938.  It has modern elements----(modern, 1955 :) )....The receiver element is dated 9-1-55 and the T1 Transmitter with adapter ring is dated 8-55.  The handset cord is marked III-55, 55 on the line cord.  The dial is a 6D dated 10-55.  (I was hoping for a 5J - but I'll take it.  The dial plate is dated 55.  But the real bonus for me is the "bonus dial card" that was hidden beneath the one with the area code.  The hidden card (see photo) has only 4 digits and they are the same as the later card which was on top.  That adhesive card was affixed to the outer side of the celluloid.  One of those later attached Area Code stickers was also stuck there.

These pictures are as it came out of the box.  After the photo session I did use a little Novus2 on the surface of the silver and it got a mirror like shine.  It ain't perfect but I'm real happy with this purchase.

The seller charge me $13.42 for Parcel Post shipping which took 8 Post Office days, I didn't count the day of purchase, Sundays or the President's Day holiday.  They used a small flat rate Priority box turned inside out (A Postal No-No).  For $10.35 they could have left the box the way it was and sent it Priority and still made $3 profit.  The only packing material was newspaper so it wasn't like they spent a fortune on bubble wrap.  Return address is from Carmel Valley, California.


Zounds, that's a beaut, Dennis.  The cords do look like silk to me.   The fibers in the threads appear awfully fine--particularly in the "line cord date" image, where they can be seen in the frayed section beyond the restraint.  In your photos, they don't look like grey silk, as they did in the seller's photos, but instead appear to be ivory silk.  A bit of a soak in woolite would probably clean them up nicely.  I wouldn't rub much when cleaning them, though.  It would probably make a dramatic improvement, removing some of the brown, and causing them to glisten much more than they do now.

What are the cords marked?  The handset cord appears to be "H3P?" 

All in all, I think you got one of the great 202 bargains so far this year.  Very nice!

Dennis Markham

Thanks Bingster.  I didn't realize that the seller posted many of the pictures that I did here.  I was surprised when I unscrewed the caps.  It was more fun that way.  I look at so many phones and talk about so many different ones in the course of a day that sometimes one runs into another.  I will recheck the cord designation and report back.  I think I'll try the Woolite suggestion.  Do I just submerge the entire cord?

As you can see by that one photo the internal wires on the line cord are very dry rotted.  I just got a new 685A sub-set a while ago.  Perhaps I'll connect this phone to that just because it's gray.  I'll have to review those old postings about how to connect it though.  It was offered for sale by someone from the ATCA.  New in the box...never been used. 

By the way, have you seen just an "F" handset before?  I'm sure Paul F must have one listed there.


That's the difference between us amateurs an Dennis the real Pro here. I saw that phone, didn't know the history, and thought it was just a repro, or commemorative, with no REAL value, Now I wish I had it !
This is how we learn.

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


I submerge mine, Dennis.  I might not try that on the mounting cord, though, since the conductors are brittle.  I don't think the woolite or water would do any damage, but in general, any extra handling should probably avoided.  Otherwise, yes, I just coil mine up so the cord will fit completely inside a drinking glass filled with woolite and water, and let it soak for a half hour or so.  Rinse thoroughly, let dry, and you're good to go.

On my ivory 354, I even resorted to soaking it in bleach, because the woolite wouldn't get the brown out of the ivory cloth jacket.  It turned out beautiful, but I don't think I'd recommend such harsh treatment for silk. 

I've never seen a plain "F" on a handset, myself.  I wonder if it might be the designation for handsets destined to be painted?  No idea.  Paul F. would probably know, though.


Very nice, Dennis-that's a sharp telephone.

I've never seen a U1 receiver installed in an F-1 handset. I guess that the U1 is the same size as an FA-1, but it's a combination that I never new legitimately existed.

I guess that it just goes to show you that anything is possible with these things.



St Clair Shores, MI

Dennis Markham

Thanks guys.  I don't know about the "Pro" stuff, but every now and then we get lucky.

Bingster, the cord info is as follows.  The "mounting cord" (I continue to refer the mounting cord as the line cord, which is not right) is marked D4U and stamped IV 55.  The handset cord strain relief reads:

                                               III 55

Dennis Markham

Dennis Markham

Bingster, it's funny that we should talk about the number stamped on the cord crimp.  Tonight on the TCI list a member asked the very question.  Steph Kerman revealed that the number stated above 4-0, H3P, III 55 is translated as:

4-0 = the length.  4 foot 0 inches
H3P = Handset, 3 conductor and P is just an alpha production sequence number
III 55 = Obviously the 3rd quarter of '55.

So a mounting cord that is six feet long would be 6-0, D4whatever.  (The "D" designates Desk Stand Cord)

I learned something today.


Hmmm... I wonder who that could have been? (check the e-mail address) ;)

I had no idea the digits following the type and conductor number were randomly assigned, so I learned something, too.

I've always found the extra letters in the cord code interesting, but the thing that really got me wondering is a NOS 9 foot handset cord I recently bought for my 354.  It's a straight rubber cord marked "H3A3."  I've never seen an second number in the designation, so it piqued my curiosity.

Added later......

I forgot to mention that you'll see cords coded with a "D" and an "M" on 202s.  Properly, a "D" cord goes on a desk stand (candlestick), while a handset mounting (B- or D-mount) should have an "M" cord.  The differences between the two types are minimal, so they were used interchangeably.  The only difference is the lengths of the exposed conductors inside the phone. 

Dennis Markham

Bingster, does your new cord have the 9-0 designation above the other numbers to indicate a 9 foot cord?

I spent a decent amount of time cleaning the set yesterday evening.  The handset paint is in very nice condition and cleaned up nicely.  I looked at the handset markings again under magnification.  I thought too that perhaps paint had hidden the "1".  I still see no sign of it but I have yet to ask Paul F about that.


Quote from: Dennis Markham on February 27, 2009, 08:46:17 AM
Bingster, does your new cord have the 9-0 designation above the other numbers to indicate a 9 foot cord?
Ooops... I just checked the restraint, and I got the code wrong.  That's what happens when you go by memory.  It's an H3AH cord.  But yes,  the front of the restraint is marked:


The date follows the later practice of placing just the year on the back of the restraint, bridging the gap:

)(  6


Dennis Markham

Bingster, I did review the question you posed about the cord designations.  I'm a little confused between "D" (Desk stand cord) and "M" (Mounting Cord).  Aren't these the same?  In the case of the 4 conductor cord (for anti side-tone) cord that connects the telephone to the subset, I've referred to that cord as the desk stand cord.  When I ordered replacement cords from Odis LeVrier that is the designation he used.  Then the cord from the subset to the wall jack is what I normally refer to as the "line cord".  I modified my previous posting to read "D" (Desk Stand).  Which is correct?