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A.E. desk stand as found variations

Started by Russ62, January 16, 2020, 06:18:09 PM

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In the the A.E. catalogs through 1944 the type 21 desk stands are shown as only available with a black dial finger wheel.  However I wonder if anyone has ever came across one that they believed was as removed from service with the phone company, not one that was rebuilt by a post phone company re-seller or collector with a chrome finger wheel?  I mean one that the phone company perhaps refurbished or added a dial to a blank out plate phone. On a whim I have temporarily added a chrome finger wheel to a type 21 I unconverted back from a lamp to a phone. I would have the same question about colors other than black, such as ivory, etc.            Russell           

Jack Ryan

I don't think it is possible to know when a modification was made to a telephone. If a dealer changes a dial in 1970, fifty years ago, how are we to know for sure?

Up to the turn of the last century, lots of telephones and telephone parts were nickel plated. Then the fashion changed and refurbished wooden subsets were painted black to simulate a modern metal subset and brass parts were japanned.

I suspect, but I don't know, that it was still possible to order a nickel plated finger wheel even though the standard and only listed finish was black japan from the mid 1920s (late Type 23 and Type 24 dial).

By the early 1930s, it was clearer that options were available. On the Type 21 desk stand:

Peculiar climatic or operating conditions sometimes make it necessary to provide special features in telephone equipment. Strowger telephones can be supplied with any of the following features:
3. Metal parts brass instead of steel.
4. White-nickel finish for all parts not otherwise protected.

And on ordering Dials:

These parts can be furnished in any desired combination, some of those most commonly used being listed below...
D-78543-A (NICKEL)
D-78543-B (GOLD)
D-78543-C (CHROMIUM)

D-78540-A (NICKEL)
D-78540-B (GOLD)
D-78540-C (CHROMIUM)

Of course by this time fashions had changed again – coloured Monophones were available with selectable trim.

It was generally possible to order a non-standard colour for a telephone. I don't think I have ever seen a coloured desk stand that I was confident was original except for some European specials (Ivory). It was theoretically possible to order a 20AL with a nickel finish but very few, if any, would have been ordered. People were more likely to buy a decorative cubby in which to hide the phone.

So, I can only answer the question by saying - I don't know, but probably.