Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Talk => Decorator, Reproduction & Novelty Phones => Decorator & Design Line Phones => Topic started by: ..... on April 01, 2016, 02:53:29 PM

Title: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 01, 2016, 02:53:29 PM
I picked up this 1971 Contempra Speakerphone with dates matching at a local thrift store yesterday for $2.50. I noticed the hand written numbers 22 and 23 in orange on the phone, also the Bell - Northern Research tag. There isn't a model number printed on the bottom or inside that I can see. There is a number stamped on the handset NE H1QAX=71. Bell - Northern Research was an R & D Company formed between Bell and Northern Electric in 1971. So I was thinking that this phone could possibly be a prototype phone. Maybe a Northern Electric employee took it home to test and never returned it??? Northern Electric was a big employer here in Belleville before their Bankruptcy. The phone was set up for a wall phone with the wall mounting bracket. When I took it apart, I noticed the wall cord had been cut. The old cord can be seen right beside the ringer.  I e-mailed other members Dave Hunter and Jeff Lamb looking for information on this phone. Both Dave and Jeff had never seen one like it. Jeff send me some information that makes me believe that it could very well be a rare prototype Contempra phone.

Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 01, 2016, 03:49:13 PM
More pictures show a stock Contempra and the speakerphone. The handset cord is much thicker then the stock cord.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: jsowers on April 01, 2016, 04:09:30 PM
Doug, have you tried hooking it up? Does it work? I would think the speaker part needed a small power supply, maybe a wall wart of some kind. Does it say anything about what voltage?

It certainly does look different from any Contempra I've ever seen. Congratulations on a great find!
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 01, 2016, 04:21:04 PM
Quote from: jsowers on April 01, 2016, 04:09:30 PM
Doug, have you tried hooking it up? Does it work? I would think the speaker part needed a small power supply, maybe a wall wart of some kind. Does it say anything about what voltage?

It certainly does look different from any Contempra I've ever seen. Congratulations on a great find!

Jonathan,

I haven't tried it yet, I'm off Sunday so I will check it out better then. I'll let you know about the voltage.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: DavePEI on April 01, 2016, 06:43:45 PM
Quote from: Autonut on April 01, 2016, 04:21:04 PM
Quote from: jsowers on April 01, 2016, 04:09:30 PM
Doug, have you tried hooking it up? Does it work? I would think the speaker part needed a small power supply, maybe a wall wart of some kind. Does it say anything about what voltage?

It certainly does look different from any Contempra I've ever seen. Congratulations on a great find!

Jonathan,

I haven't tried it yet, I'm off Sunday so I will check it out better then. I'll let you know about the voltage.
I suspect that is correct  it would require an external power source - I suspect  15 volts injected through the second pair, as marked on the card. 2012B Transf.... 2012B is rated at 15-18 volts AC.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: DavePEI on April 01, 2016, 07:30:57 PM
Doug:

I took one of you photos - the comparison of the innards of this vs/ a standerd Contempra phone, and added notes. Note the extended switch-hook contacts for A lead control, smaller Princess style ringer t make room for the speaker, and amplifier board, and of course the speaker and controls.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 01, 2016, 08:32:26 PM
Thanks Dave.

I'm at work for the next couple of nights, I'm off Sunday I'll be checking it out more then.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: DavePEI on April 01, 2016, 09:27:17 PM
Doug asked me to post this.. We have had a bit of a discussion going on about this phone on the Museum Facebook page, and Robert Guth, ex-BNR and Nortel had the following comment..

BNR was created in 1971 and the tag shows the original 1971 text signature w/separate logo (referring to the BNR tag on the phone). He also says that he didn't know this version of the Contempra existed..

At first they used this text/graphic logo, then later went to a combined initials/logo version. All lending authenticity to the tag. Later logo shown below.

Robert worked with John Tyson, the designer of the Contempra, but Robert's specialty was architecture.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: RotarDad on April 01, 2016, 10:05:46 PM
CNN Doug - This is a great find!  What are the odds that a prototype would in up in a thrift store, and then be found by a phone guy!  I know it's only 4/1, but this phone will get my FOTM vote for April.  And you can't beat the price either!!
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 01, 2016, 11:52:32 PM
Quote from: RotarDad on April 01, 2016, 10:05:46 PM
CDN Doug - This is a great find!  What are the odds that a prototype would in up in a thrift store, and then be found by a phone guy!  I know it's only 4/1, but this phone will get my FOTM vote for April.  And you can't beat the price either!!

Paul

My odds are good,

1 ) I live in the city where Northern Electric made some of the R & D phones.

2 ) The older Northern employees are down sizing or have passed away. Their belonging are being donated.
I truly believe that this is the case with this phone. It was real dirty and I think no one wanted to pick it up. I thought it was a knock off copy when I first seen it. When I picked it up and looked at the bottom, I owned it from that moment on.

3 ) I work 12 hr shifts. On my days off through the week I go on a route to all the thrift stores looking for collectibles.
I have it timed so that I start at the first one at 9:00 when it opens and move on to the next few that open at 10:00. I spent no more than 15 minutes in each place. 

I have found many Northern Electric items on my runs. Last week I picked up a framed picture of some Northern Electric employees standing along side of a large metal cabinet with Pulse written on it. It was from the late 60', early 70's for $2.00 A lady I know who had worked there knew some of the people. I gave it to her. She was happy to get it.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: paul-f on April 01, 2016, 11:56:38 PM
Wonderful find, Doug.

Photos of a blue one surfaced about ten years ago and discussions at the time were inconclusive. Hopefully more info will come to light.

   http://www.paul-f.com/Imagination.html#ContempraSpeakerphone (http://www.paul-f.com/Imagination.html#ContempraSpeakerphone)
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 02, 2016, 12:01:16 AM
Quote from: paul-f on April 01, 2016, 11:56:38 PM
Wonderful find, Doug.

Photos of a blue one surfaced about ten years ago and discussions at the time were inconclusive. Hopefully more info will come to light.

   http://www.paul-f.com/Imagination.html#ContempraSpeakerphone (http://www.paul-f.com/Imagination.html#ContempraSpeakerphone)

Thanks Paul,

I had seen that. Dave Hunter had told me about that one. This one was a mounted on a modular adapter for wall use as well.

I'm thinking that this phone is # 23 of ? because of the hand written numbers.

If you want Paul, feel free to post any of the pictures on your site if you like.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: paul-f on April 02, 2016, 12:06:40 PM
Quote from: Autonut on April 02, 2016, 12:01:16 AM
If you want Paul, feel free to post any of the pictures on your site if you like.

Thanks, Doug.

I posted a link to this topic and will add a few of the photos to the page in the future.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 02, 2016, 03:12:57 PM
Here are some pictures of what the phone looked like before I cleaned it and took it apart. Covered in nicotine and dirt, it was nasty. No wonder no one would pick it up and handle it. It also shows the price of $2.50. It was priced accordingly.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 03, 2016, 05:08:23 PM
The phone works, it's alive! I hooked it up to a Nortel wall wart. 16 Volts at 250 ma and wired it for a desk phone. Hooked it up to the land line and called myself with my Magic Jack phone. I'm going to video it with my iPod and try to post it. The switch set up isn't very good, as a matter of fact in downright cheaply made. It looks like a hack job. The toggle switch is a momentary switch. Push and hold it on and you hear whatever is coming though the handset on the speaker, let it go and it is off. The line cord brought the power into the phone, it has 6 wires just like the Princess Phone.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: HarrySmith on April 04, 2016, 08:51:01 PM
Awesome! Great find and great cleanup. These prototype sets are always so interesting. You could probably find a replacement switch to fit if you wanted to change it to work better.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 04, 2016, 09:52:54 PM
Quote from: HarrySmith on April 04, 2016, 08:51:01 PM
Awesome! Great find and great cleanup. These prototype sets are always so interesting. You could probably find a replacement switch to fit if you wanted to change it to work better.

Thanks Harry,

I think trying to find a replacement button would be rather difficult. Since this is a non-production phone. The button was trimmed to work with this phone, so that makes it one of a kind button. I think I'm going to leave it as is. Just because of what it is. I took more pictures of the modified body versus the stock body. There has been some discussions between myself and some other members as to weather this phone is a prototype or a beta phone. Some things we do know is it is a non-production phone, it has been modified to work as a speaker phone from a stock body. There is no model number stamped anywhere on the modified base only hand written numbers.

Any other members care to chime in as to what you think?


Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: AE_Collector on April 05, 2016, 01:03:27 AM
CDN Doug (Autonut) doesn't know it yet but he started a NT SG1 "Pulse" PABX topic in the Switching PABX area.

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=16014.0

I thought maybe the SG1 "Pulse" talk didn't need to be cluttering up the Contempra Speakerphone topic.

CDN Doug: If you get a picture of the.....framed picture.... You can add it to the new topic at the link above.

Terry
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 05, 2016, 04:04:59 AM
Terry,

Thanks for doing that. The picture will be here this Friday. I will get a picture of it posted ASAP. The lady that has it, has taken it to one of her friends who also worked there. They are working on getting all the names of the people in the picture, then she is going to give it to her stepdaughter. My friend told me that her late husband's ex-wife was one of the lady's in the picture and that she as also passed away. Funny how small this world is, that picture will be now be going back in the hands of someone who it will have some meaning too.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: paul-f on April 05, 2016, 03:51:07 PM
Quote from: Autonut on April 03, 2016, 05:08:23 PM
The switch set up isn't very good, as a matter of fact in downright cheaply made. It looks like a hack job. The toggle switch is a momentary switch. Push and hold it on and you hear whatever is coming though the handset on the speaker, let it go and it is off.

Thanks for the great detailed switch knob photos. It's a strange construction, with the contacts on the back of a board attached to the bottom plate, while the knob is on the housing, where it can be removed.

The video suggests the switch doesn't latch in the on position and the unit drops out of speaker mode after finger pressure is released.

Is it possible that there is a missing part that would assure more positive switch action?

Or, could the switch contacts have been bent when the housing was removed and replaced? Perhaps they need mechanical adjustment.

Or, if the switch was indeed intended to be momentary, should the two contacts in the base activate a latching relay to keep the unit in speaker mode?
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 05, 2016, 04:21:30 PM
Paul,

Here are some pictures of the board opening for the switch from different angles. The body goes on and then the button, then the cover plate.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: paul-f on April 05, 2016, 05:01:25 PM
Thanks for the photos, Doug.

Can you see enough through the hole to deduce how the switch contacts are intended to work?

Perhaps some contact cleaning or mechanical adjustment will help the switch function.

An observation: This is the type of design element that occasionally popped up in the Western Electric Field Trial sets in the 1960s. Something that seemed like a good idea to the designers occasionally proved to have actual or potential reliability problems when built and put into use. Some models were scrapped or redesigned to include more robust designs from a reliability or manufacturability standpoint. The Trimline design timeline is full of examples.

Of course, this doesn't prove it was a prototype, but adds more weight to that side of the scale. It's hard to imagine a manufacturing engineer being thrilled with this feature.

Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 05, 2016, 05:58:37 PM
Quote from: paul-f on April 05, 2016, 05:01:25 PM
Thanks for the photos, Doug.
 
Of course, this doesn't prove it was a prototype, but adds more weight to that side of the scale. It's hard to imagine a manufacturing engineer being thrilled with this feature.

Paul, As the subject line says: Possible Prototype Phone and emphasis on Possible.

When I picked this phone up, I just thought it was another Contempra Phone with buttons. I have not been in the collecting of phones very long. So what to call it, I didn't know. Hence the reason for "possible prototype" after seeing the difference between a stock phone and this one. I also seen there where no indication of model numbers other then the sticker Bell - Northern Research Contempra 111 Line Cord and the hand written number 23. Far as I knew that sticker was stock for the line cord and still could be. But that sticker was not used on production phones. So is this phone number 23 of ? who knows? Is it a rare prototype, concept, trial, test, sample? I don't know. Call it what you will, what I do know is that it not a common phone. The Contempra phone has been around a few years before this phone was put together. I'm only basing my thoughts of this being an uncommon phone because of the speaker and volume controls add on. Take that away and you have just an regular stock Contempra phone that has already been around for a number of years. So with that being said. It could Possibly be a prototype of the Contempra speaker phone, not the stand alone stock Contempra.

<EDIT> The title of this subject did initially include the phrase "Possible Prototype found" but was later changed awhennit was merged with a second topic about the phone. Terry (AE_Collector)
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 09, 2016, 09:48:01 AM
The Contempra Speaker Phone that I picked up, has now been confirmed that it is indeed a Prototype. I contacted the designer John Tyson by snail mail this week.

He replied to me by e-mail. In his email, he says that it indeed was "a unique one-of-kind prototype that I designed and had built in Ottawa", He goes on to say. "Clearly ahead of its time, Bell Canada probably thought it wouldn´t sell in the residential market, preferring a speaker phone for business" - the end result is, it never went into production.

I replied to him and thanked him for his great information.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: paul-f on April 09, 2016, 01:31:46 PM
Quote from: Autonut on April 09, 2016, 09:48:01 AM
The Contempra Speaker Phone that I picked up, has now been confirmed that it is indeed a Prototype. I contacted the designer John Tyson by snail mail this week.

He replied to me by e-mail. In his email, he says that it indeed was "a unique one-of-kind prototype that I designed and had built in Ottawa", He goes on to say. "Clearly ahead of its time, Bell Canada probably thought it wouldn´t sell in the residential market, preferring a speaker phone for business" - the end result is, it never went into production.

I replied to him and thanked him for his great information.

This is exciting news, Doug!

I'm sure there is more to be learned.

Obviously it's not literally "one-of-a-kind," as two different sets have been photographed. It would be natural to have produced several with serial improvements and possibly a batch of them for evaluation and testing.

It would be interesting to also learn anything about the development process, how many versions were made and whether there were any interesting pro or con lessons learned.

Interacting with John is an outstanding opportunity to learn more about this and other NE research projects. Perhaps he has some records or recollections he would consider sharing so they can be archived in the collector community.

Several years ago, we learned a lot about the WE/Bell Labs process through discussions with Don Genaro of the Dreyfuss organization. This could be a similar opportunity. Wow!

Note that after so many years it's possible that John may not remember details about one specific product. Don Genaro made that point when we questioned him about nuances of the Trimline development. I know I don't remember much about products I worked on in the 1960s and 70s.

It would help to document your conversations for future collectors and researchers. There are examples of documenting the Don Genaro conversations in these issues of TCI's Singing Wires:

SW May 1991 - Designworks (reprint)

SW Oct 2004 - A Conversation with Donald Genaro
                 by Jonathan Finder

SW Jan 2009 - THE EARLY DAYS OF THE WESTERN ELECTRIC 500
                  by Russ Cowell and Paul Fassbender

SW Mar 2009 - Update on 1950/51 WECo Dial Number Rings
                (SW Editorial Advisory Board)

SW Jul 2009 - Singing Wires Talks to Donald Genaro
                by Jonathan Finder

SW Aug 2010 - Designing the Touchtone Dial
              by Jonathan Finder

Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 09, 2016, 03:24:55 PM
I received another e-mail from John Tyson this morning. Here is what he said:

Hi Doug,

First of all I must correct a typo. BNR was founded in '71 (I should know I designed the corporate identity). :)

It's likely that the BNR sticker was required (with a serial number) for carrying a prototype across the border and through US customs. That might account for the blue one. The hand written numbers probably don't mean anything relative to number made. They were all custom built. My best guess is just a few.

Most of the BNR prototypes went to Bell Canada's History Museum in Montreal. After they closed, a lot of the collection went to the National Museum of  Technology in Ottawa.

Thanks for the link to Imagination Series.  Very successful, we designed them all in Ottawa. My favourite, and most valuable collector, is AGP (Alexander Graham Plane).

The real leather Contempra was shipped from Nashville to Italy for fabrication, and was mostly used as corporate  gifts by Northern. I have one. The America Club Sets are awful and probably asian rip-offs, (junk).

Congratulations on your collection. I love the thought of your grandchildren having so much fun.

All the best.

John
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: AE_Collector on April 09, 2016, 04:26:51 PM
All pretty cool stuff! I find it amazing how many different telephone set models NE and NT must have made over the years. Even on relatively boring analog sets say for use behind PBX's there seemed to be endless variations made by NT. I would have two or three almost identical in the same case but a different button or two for some feature and then I would run into yet another version at another installation. Then add in all the sets marketed for residential and all the Norstar, M1 (SL1) Meridain, and NT Centrex sets, then into VOIP and all the other specialty sets not covered in these categories. It boggles the imagination.

I was going to merge the two topics on this phone back together with a title similar to the title on this topic. I think most find it preferable to keep all the talk about a specific phone together in one location. Many times a discussion starts in the Yard Sale or Auction Talk categories but eventually progresses to where it should rightfully be in a different category as it no longer really matters where it came from such as this phone.

But, I cant decide for certain....would Contempras rightfully be a Decorator / Design Line phone? I suspect that Contempra somewhat bridges the divide between more advanced regular Telco property telephones and Customer Owned Decorator type phones.

If no one has any other opinions on where Contempra's should really be here on CRPF or any objection to merging the two topics, I will do that later today. Meanwhile, keep the great info coming!

I knew that I had a few new spare Contempra cords here so I dug them out. All I have is dark green, red, gold, yellow and Beige. Some are 3 and some 4 conductor, some are 5.5 feet long and some are 13 feet long. Nothing 6 conductor. Somewhere I have a 2 line Contempra in either white or Ivory which I bet would have had a 6 conductor cord but no idea if it does now or not.

Terry
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on April 09, 2016, 04:54:43 PM
Terry,

Do what you think best for the thread. I only started a new thread because I wanted the members to know for sure what it is that I had come across. Paul F. has been a little iffy on whether it is what it is because of the picture of the one on his site. Saying it still isn't a one of a kind as the designer / creator says it is. To quote John Tyson:

" How in the world the blue one ended up in the US will remain a mystery to me. That said, be assured that it is one of Very Few and all prototypes were made in Canada."

If there was one made in every colour, that would make each and every one of them one of a kind. I'm just hoping that more information on this line of prototypes comes in the near future. 

A 4 wire would work as it would only be for L1, L2 and power for the speaker.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: paul-f on April 09, 2016, 05:45:10 PM
Quote from: AE_Collector on April 09, 2016, 04:26:51 PM
All pretty cool stuff! I find it amazing how many different telephone set models NE and NT must have made iver the years. Even on relatively boring analog sets say for use behind PBX's there seemed to be endless variations made by NT. I would have two or three almost identical in the same case but a different button or two for some feature and then I would run into yet another version at another installation. Then add in all the sets marketed for residential and all the Norstar, M1 (SL1) Meridain, and NT Centrex sets, then into VOIP and all the other specialty sets not covered in these categories. It boggles the imagination.

Terry, This is exactly the kind of thinking that got us started on the WE 500-series chart on my site. Someone really needs do do the same for NE/NT sets so we can understand them all and keep them straight.

Quote from: AE_Collector on April 09, 2016, 04:26:51 PM
I was going to merge the two topics on this phone back together with a title similar to the title on this topic. I think most find it preferable to keep all the talk about a specific phone together in one location. Many times a discussion starts in the Yard Sale or Auction Talk categories but eventually progresses to where it should rightfully be in a different category as it no longer really matters where it came from such as this phone.

But, I cant decide for certain....would Contempras rightfully be a Decorator / Design Line phone? I suspect that Contempra somewhat bridges the divide between more advanced regular Telco property telephones and Customer Owned Decorator type phones.

If no one has any other opinions on where Contempra's should really be here on CRPF or any objection to merging the two topics, I will do that later today. Meanwhile, keep the great info coming!

I agree that the topics should be merged to make the info easier to find.

The Contempra was in use long before the "Imagination Series" was formed, and was added once it was created.  When my page went live, there was a lot of discussion about the Imagination line being primarily (or exclusively) used in the US by Northern's operation in Nashville, TN.

Therefore, while there are Imagination branded boxes for some Contempras, it is probably better to have a Contempra section that is outside the Decorator/Design Line area. The problem is where?

Maybe there should be major categories for the major phone models, including at least the Contempra, WE 300-series, WE 500-series, WE 1500-series, etc.  That would keep the moderators busy for quite a while!

Thanks for all you do helping create some order from our random posts!
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: paul-f on April 09, 2016, 06:15:17 PM
 
Doug,

Don't misinterpret my intent. All I am requesting is that we be open minded until we see tangible proof.

In the case of the American Club sets, I have owned and sold dozens of them and can assure all that they were made using a process patterned after the Contempra Talia (leather) sets John described. The difference is that the production Contempras from the Nashville plant were sent out for painting and leather covering by a company in North Carolina. They are definitely not asian rip-offs.

What we're doing is like archaeology -- trying to piece together the past given the remains available to us today.

It's great that we are learning more and we need to keep gathering facts.

All we can do now is keep digging, combine and compare our findings and hope we learn more over time.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: DavePEI on April 09, 2016, 06:33:20 PM
As we both told you we are continuing to do. Fact is, John remembers that exact phone - not its type - that exact phone. He was the designer of these. This is not second hand. It is from the horse's mouth. We are and shall continue trying to find out more. Believe it or not, the techniques you use to find more information will not work in Canada. We had a different system from the U.S. It all takes time, and we do not appreciate pressure from you or anyone else, as we continue our research. Give us space, and give us time. It is a huge untold history, and we have the ear of the Godfather of the Contempra. No huge reservoir of information exists which is publicly accessible. Bell records are closed. The Bell archives is manned by only one lady, and is not open to te Public.  This phone never would have made it to it, as Bell decided in their ultimate wisdom not to put it into production.  There is no better resource than the man who designed them.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: paul-f on April 09, 2016, 07:07:41 PM
Dave,

I'm sorry if I gave you the impression I'm trying to pressure you.

Believe me, my intent is to be fully supportive and suggest some things that have worked elsewhere.

I wouldn't take the time to write if I didn't think it was important.

Do you think the info is presented to us in the US on a silver platter? We had to dig and dig to find the sources of information and work over many years to even find any contacts, then had to work for many years to gain credibility to get them to talk with us. For many years, the AT&T Archives were also manned by one man and were closed to the public. They are still nearly impossible to access. Some of the info we have has taken over 20 years to get.  We have still only scratched the surface.

In fact, much of the info did not come from the archives, but from examining found sets in collector hands and snippets of information found in employee magazines published in the 1950-70 timeframe.

Over the last 20 years, I personally have cultivated relationships with dozens of former Bell System employees. Some have since passed away, so I was lucky to interview them at all. Many other potantial contacts proved to be dead ends -- literally. I was too late.

We're hopefully all on the same side here -- trying to preserve the history of telephony.

Unfortunately, the sands of time are running out on us, when it comes to getting info from folks with first hand knowledge.

While working with John is clearly not an opportunity to be missed, I would encourage the group to continue to seek other contacts to develop in parallel with John. Perhaps he can provide some other leads to other former employees.

P.S.  Even if I was trying to pressure you (which I am not), you have the ability to choose how you respond emotionally when reading my messages. In the future, please try to temper your response when reading my messages with the knowledge that I mean well and am enthusiastically supportive of your efforts.

If it really bothers you and you want me to stop responding to your messages and offering support, let me know and I'll try to control myself.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dominic_ContempraPhones on April 18, 2016, 01:29:23 AM
Robert Guth told me about this.  I own the medium blue one on Paul's site -- bought it off eBay years ago, and it's boxed up, somewhere in my basement, unless my memory is playing tricks on me.  See Paul, I didn't object to you lifting one of my shots!  It's too bad I missed your auction ... I wanted the faux wooden ones, light, and dark, but I usually go after NIB.

That was not a standard Contempra color (the medium blue speakerphone one) -- it wasn't deep turquoise (MD73), mauve (MD73), or deep blue.  John's memory may be a little fuzzy after all these years, but I have seen prototypes, and they were usually done in clear plastic.  A Vista 350 had the BNR logo imprinted on it.  I saw a few at Aastra's facilities in Vaughan.  Clear Vista 390s I think.  Even the Powertouch 470 -- it was commercially available, and I managed to get one, but it was very difficult.

That Contempra switch was locking and was meant to activate the speaker so that the handset could be placed on the cradle while keeping the line open -- it needed an external mic.  I seriously doubt it was half-duplex.  Many Contempras were capable of A-lead control, not just that one.

As for the Talias, they were sent to Italy to get the leather stitched on, and the Italians (I'm Italian by the way) did a really good job.  They retailed for $150.  They weren't made in Italy, but they were sold commercially in the US by a telco, can't remember who.  John T. is wrong on that one I'm afraid.  The American Club editions -- those were individually numbered -- same concept -- but no stitching.  Some were tacky (the alligator one), but some were nice.  They weren't "modern" if you know what I mean.  Contempra was a play on words for a contemporary phone, and the color schemes make them look less modern.  I have a 2-liner with voltage message waiting indication, and the smoke 3100 chiming DIGITPULSE -- a typo on the set itself.  It actually chimed when the pulsing caught up to you.  If you pressed the keys and waited for each outpulse to finish, it chimed on each button.  If not, it chimed at the end.  The * inserted a pause for outside line 2nd dial tone.  Nobody was told about that feature, and the handset cord required 7 leads.  It had the soft dial -- not the chu snap action dial.  I have the Talias in rotary and digitone, two BLACK contempras (tone), and mauve NOS (rotary).  Here are some that I have where pictures are on my computer (oxblood was rare).  They were called black pearl, minx, and other weird names I can't recall right now.  I also had the digitone mauve (lavender) but sold it and almost got a deep turquoise NIB rotary.  I guess I was in a rotten mood that day and didn't bid my max.  I did see a 10-button Contempra -- that was a non-production model.  It was an all-numeric TT pad though.

As for whether the speakerphone was a prototype, I'm not sure.  Bell may not have bought any, but those kind of cutouts were normal -- the NE princess sets had them.  I saw Contempra marine radiotelephones and posted shots on Dave's site.

I did write to John but he hasn't responded.  Of course I wasn't there in '71, so I cannot say with absolute certainty, but I have a Vista 360 from the Guelph Mondex trials -- that wasn't a prototype, but you won't see many of those around.  There were other prototypes before the M3000.  The one I've attached below was a later prototype.

If anyone wants more info ... fire away.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dominic_ContempraPhones on April 18, 2016, 01:53:57 AM
Quote from: DavePEI on April 09, 2016, 06:33:20 PM
As we both told you we are continuing to do. Fact is, John remembers that exact phone - not its type - that exact phone. He was the designer of these. This is not second hand. It is from the horse's mouth. We are and shall continue trying to find out more. Believe it or not, the techniques you use to find more information will not work in Canada. We had a different system from the U.S. It all takes time, and we do not appreciate pressure from you or anyone else, as we continue our research. Give us space, and give us time. It is a huge untold history, and we have the ear of the Godfather of the Contempra. No huge reservoir of information exists which is publicly accessible. Bell records are closed. The Bell archives is manned by only one lady, and is not open to te Public.  This phone never would have made it to it, as Bell decided in their ultimate wisdom not to put it into production.  There is no better resource than the man who designed them.

Dave, will you relax?  It was 45 years ago.  You can't expect John to remember it perfectly.  I know a lot about Contempra, yet nobody asked me.  You guys couldn't figure out what that thing was in the COs and it was a Norstar ACD unit.  What it was doing in a DMS office I'll never know -- it won't work on DMS line cards.  I have sources.  Chill!
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dominic_ContempraPhones on April 18, 2016, 02:12:54 AM
Quote from: AE_Collector on April 09, 2016, 04:26:51 PM
All pretty cool stuff! I find it amazing how many different telephone set models NE and NT must have made over the years. Even on relatively boring analog sets say for use behind PBX's there seemed to be endless variations made by NT. I would have two or three almost identical in the same case but a different button or two for some feature and then I would run into yet another version at another installation. Then add in all the sets marketed for residential and all the Norstar, M1 (SL1) Meridain, and NT Centrex sets, then into VOIP and all the other specialty sets not covered in these categories. It boggles the imagination.

I was going to merge the two topics on this phone back together with a title similar to the title on this topic. I think most find it preferable to keep all the talk about a specific phone together in one location. Many times a discussion starts in the Yard Sale or Auction Talk categories but eventually progresses to where it should rightfully be in a different category as it no longer really matters where it came from such as this phone.

But, I cant decide for certain....would Contempras rightfully be a Decorator / Design Line phone? I suspect that Contempra somewhat bridges the divide between more advanced regular Telco property telephones and Customer Owned Decorator type phones.

If no one has any other opinions on where Contempra's should really be here on CRPF or any objection to merging the two topics, I will do that later today. Meanwhile, keep the great info coming!

I knew that I had a few new spare Contempra cords here so I dug them out. All I have is dark green, red, gold, yellow and Beige. Some are 3 and some 4 conductor, some are 5.5 feet long and some are 13 feet long. Nothing 6 conductor. Somewhere I have a 2 line Contempra in either white or Ivory which I bet would have had a 6 conductor cord but no idea if it does now or not.

Terry

There were 5 conductor cords for digitone, and 7 for digipulse (the 70s versions).

SL-1/Meridian-1 wedgies, compact M1x, Aries I and II M2x and Taurus M390x, Meridian Digital Centrex M5x, Meridian ISDN M7?, Meridian Norstar M and T, and Meridian Analog 8000 and 9000 series were all variations because of the protocol underneath.  Norstar was a truncated version of Meridian ISDN, but also a derivative of SL-1/M-1.  No 2nd bearer channel on Norstar.  What else, the analogs morphed into Type 2 caller ID and FSK MWI near the end.  The basic version was still VMWI off Option 11 analog MW line cards (the 8000s).  Then there was the collective brain Venture DTAD system which essentially made small Norstar systems obsolete.  A key system with no centralized hardware.  They morphed Norstar into full PBX with digital trunk interfaces, etc.  The hybrid Vantage was very entertaining too.

Contempra was rental-only, as was Solo.  Symphony was retail.  Imagination sets were like Design Line in the US.

Unistim IP started with i2004, then i2002 (in purple) -- phase 0, then went to phase 1, then phase 2 (bevel).  Then came the i2007.  Then came the 11x and 12x, and finally the 1535 video SIP.  The 1165e was probably the most sophisticated one.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: AE_Collector on April 18, 2016, 04:08:14 PM
Quote from: Dominic_ContempraPhones on April 18, 2016, 01:53:57 AM
Dave, will you relax?  It was 45 years ago.  You can't expect John to remember it perfectly.  I know a lot about Contempra, yet nobody asked me.  You guys couldn't figure out what that thing was in the COs and it was a Norstar ACD unit.  What it was doing in a DMS office I'll never know -- it won't work on DMS line cards.  I have sources.  Chill!

I would expect that Norstar gizmo was in a CO as part of the CO phone system, nothing to do with the fact that it happened to be a DMS office. I had never seen one before either yet I have been in lots of CO's in British Columbia, most equipped with Norstar phone systems and I have installed many Norstar and BCM phone systems for other customers.

Here is topic about the Norstar Unit that you are referring to I believe. Maybe you can add some insite to the topic for us.

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=14909.0

Dave was just getting a bit bent out of shape about some of the questioning of the info being presented. He is fine now about it...it all smoothed over! Too many experts is a GOOD think I think!

Speaking of which Dominic, you bring some very good info to the forum. Can you enlighten us as to who you are and/or what your career was etc. You have some very good NT info. There is a New Member Introductions area under Forum News I believe, maybe when you have time you could give us a quick intro?

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?board=49.0

Terry
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dominic_ContempraPhones on April 18, 2016, 06:02:07 PM
Quote from: AE_Collector on April 18, 2016, 04:08:14 PM
Speaking of which Dominic, you bring some very good info to the forum. Can you enlighten us as to who you are and/or what your career was etc. You have some very good NT info. There is a New Member Introductions area under Forum News I believe, maybe when you have time you could give us a quick intro?

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?board=49.0

Terry

Sure -- I worked for both Bell Canada and Nortel -- Bell first.  My brother worked for Nortel also.  Neighbor worked at the phone refurb plant, who used to swipe new Contempras like hotcakes by the way.

I didn't work for BNR proper but I knew what they were working on, and I knew a lot of people throughout the organization.  I understood the underlying technology, who and what drove it, plus all of the infighting there between the various groups.  At one point the DMS and Meridian groups were not on speaking terms, and DMS was moved to the US.  I'm certainly not that old, but I heard lots of stories from old-timers while I was there, plus I had access to all sorts of documentation on the internals.  I was a computer science major so it was easy to pick up on that.  I thought their interfaces stunk though, and I made that known many times.  When I worked on the Bell side, there were people there from the early 60s who also liked to talk.

Unfortunately, Bell Labs made fun of NE's exploratory digital research in the late 60s and early 70s, which never sat well with them and kinda created a permanent rift that never really healed, especially when they got it to work.  So, they never licensed another WE design -- no card dialers, etc.  That's why they developed Logic on the 1A2 side.  NE got lucky actually.  Bell Canada had deep pockets and they had some brilliant people who formed BNR and pulled it off.  They were truly scared, as they had relied on WE/Bell Labs, but it was sink or swim, so they had to do something radical.  It was so complicated because the computer processors back then just weren't fast enough and they were locked into the clock speeds available at that time.  NT would have died a lot sooner if Reagan hadn't dismantled the Bell System and allowed us back in to the US RBOC market.  Well, that's a brief synopsis anyway.  WE sort of lost their direction by around 1970.  They had lots of good ideas, but never really followed through.  SG-1 was a Western Electric idea from the early 60s.  SP-1 was a Bell Canada mandate for smaller forms of 1ESS.  At one point, one of the engineers just said, let's just make the whole thing digital, and it was as simple as that.  WE laughed, and Bell was skeptical, but they bought into the idea because the engineers convinced them that a switch with no moving parts would save them money, so from SL-1 they scaled up to DMS.  PULSE -- they called it that because it used Analog PAM (Pulse Amplitude Modulation) on the voice path, but it could only handle a limited number of simultaneous calls, so it wouldn't be able to handle the call volume in a central office.

There's lots I could talk about, but there was so much going on there.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on May 03, 2016, 05:15:49 AM
On April 14th 2016, I ordered John Tyson's book "Adventures In Innovation" from Amazon.ca. It gives good insight on the man, the job and the company. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his book. I would recommend this book, it's worth the read.

http://www.adventuresininnovation.ca/ (http://www.adventuresininnovation.ca/)
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Contempra on June 06, 2016, 03:29:15 PM
If i find one like this, i will keep it in my collection...Nice one anyway
Title: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop! UPDATED
Post by: ..... on June 13, 2016, 10:29:06 PM
Today I received a signed letter of provenance from John Tyson for the Prototype Contempra Speaker Phone that I own. The pictures he signed are the ones he returned to me, I had sent them to him when I was first looking for information on this phone. The attached pictures are self explanatory. Sorry for the watermarking's on the pictures, but I was advised to do it.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on June 13, 2016, 10:30:04 PM
The rest of the pictures.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: DavePEI on June 13, 2016, 10:37:47 PM
Congratulations, Doug!
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: TelePlay on June 13, 2016, 10:44:34 PM
Very nice, Doug.

Now you have the whole package for posterity, a one of a kind without a doubt.

Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dennis Markham on June 14, 2016, 05:48:09 AM
Very cool, Doug!  Congratulations.

~Dennis
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Jim Stettler on June 14, 2016, 09:19:42 AM
It was great you were able to get documentation, It was great that you were even able to get the lead to start the conversation leading up to getting the letter. 

The thread regarding your phone is part of the documentation as well.
Great job,
Jim S.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on June 14, 2016, 12:32:17 PM
This is John F. Tyson's patent for the speaker phone, but as you see the design changed slighty.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dominic_ContempraPhones on June 30, 2017, 05:20:50 PM
I spoke to John -- he was embarrassed about Contempra.  He loved the M3000 tho.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on June 30, 2017, 08:11:57 PM
A year later and you think you talked to John. Maybe you should start collecting something that you know about, but wait you know everything. If you want to rattle my chain, you are. Get a life and move on. Try getting your head out of the 80's.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dominic_ContempraPhones on June 30, 2017, 10:45:53 PM
Yeah, he was on online -- everyone was, except Cliff and Mike.  John told me he had one too when I told him I had one.  Alan, and bunch of guys showed me other prototypes I had never seen.  Cliff even did a car phone which I didn't know about, kinda like the AGB plane phone.  They contacted me looking for a Nomad 8500 -- Lisa did, for a museum in Ottawa.

John didn't really do any work on that mod.  Their designs were often modified without their knowledge.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dominic_ContempraPhones on June 30, 2017, 10:58:52 PM
How could we not know?  You seem to resent us because we embraced and the old and the new, and I told you it wasn't one of a kind.  It needed 1A2 -- it was meant for a business env.  It was our job to know because if we didn't, things wouldn't work.

I've showed three of these are in existence.  There were more.  John didn't tell me what his color was, but I know that it wasn't a prototype if three were made, but limited field trial sets that didn't go anywhere and were retured, because it was a hack, and the components wouldn't fit where they were supposed to.

In '73 Jim Bee sketched a stand up version which was way too thin with the same rocker, only sideways.   It was as thin as an iPhone -- 70s electronics wouldn't fit in there.  That one was rejected too.

Don't know what your issue is, and I offered to fix it, but if it truly needs 1A2, it won't work as intended, and it will need an NE-666.  The speaker was facing the wrong way -- the buttons weren't labelled -- the rocker was not intuitive.  It just failed.

I don't know why they did it, but it would not pass DI UAT.  My head isn't stuck in the 1980s -- you need to grow up and understand that telephony was our career and not a hobby.  John did C and Pulse.  When he saw Pulse he said "YIKES".  I thought it was OK.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on July 01, 2017, 10:15:39 PM
Something to think about.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dominic_ContempraPhones on July 02, 2017, 09:43:23 AM
That's bull.  John Tyson and I both have one.  Paul F. can confirm.  If you're willing to pay $$$, I'll figure out which box its in.

I have a one of a kind ... a smoke chiming DIGIT PULSE and I don't go around bragging.  They called it "SMOKEY".

And more were made of that hack.  It's not a one of a kind.  One of a kinds don't make it that far.  It if were, it would be a wooden model and that's it.  I asked Design Interpretive.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on July 02, 2017, 10:03:10 AM
Time to move on Dominic, you are making a spectacle of yourself.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: TelePlay on July 02, 2017, 10:04:03 AM
Quote from: Duffy on July 02, 2017, 10:03:10 AM
Time to move on Dominic, you are making a spectacle of yourself.

Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on July 02, 2017, 10:05:40 AM
Thanks John.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on July 02, 2017, 10:47:04 AM
Dominic,

Frist.  I would like you to know that I take pride of ownership for that phone you called a HACK.

Second. Here is my challenge to you. Produce a picture of your phone with a current dated newspaper for the proof of your ownership. Not the stock picture that you claim that is yours.

Third. As per your comment of John Tyson owning one. Please provide proof. As for Paul F, I'm sure he can speak on his own behalf.

Until you can provide that proof, I do own the only one.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Victor Laszlo on July 02, 2017, 12:47:31 PM
And, Dom, saying things like "That's Bull" is rude.  Until your arrival on the forum a few weeks ago, I had never heard anyone here use foul language against another member.

The correct statement would be "Sir, I tend to doubt the veracity of your assertion."

This wacky way you have of trying to bully people just won't cut it here.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dominic_ContempraPhones on July 03, 2017, 05:50:56 AM
Because he was way over the top on it, like it was the Hope Diamond.  When I saw it, I knew John had nothing to do with it.  It was a mod.  The keys weren't labelled.  See my post "Doug's 3 of a kind Contempra".  There were more.  They never made one of anything.  By the time it gets to that stage, it has to be tested, and several phones will be busted during the testing.  When I saw the inside, it was obvious 1A2 was necessary to hold the line open.

Doug's a bit a *ick on this because he will not listen to us, even going so far as posting on kijiji to prove his was the only one ever made.  I'm not interested in finding the box it is in (movers didn't label 100 boxes) because it had no mic.  Companion did and it was separate.  I needed to examine the phone, as I didn't want to open all those boxes and make a mess.  I can't sell those phones as landlines are dead.  One thing is certain, unlike V, the mic and speaker were not integrated.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dominic_ContempraPhones on July 03, 2017, 06:00:55 AM
Doug got on my nerves because I called people who would know, and they were quite clear that many were made, and that Bell Canada rejected them. I guess John just said that to him to make him happy.  I worked at Bell Sygma Telecom Solutions (a division of Bell), and Cal was there since 1964.  He vaguely remembers it because departments then used 1A2.  The speaker was too small.  When I got it, I thought it was autonomous, and it was missing the mic, and I didn't have an NE-1A2, so I said F it.  Both phones got separated from their mics.  John is a man of few words, so I didn't want to ask him where they wound up, because he seemed embarrassed by it.  I mean, people were saying hi and he wouldn't even answer.  He's not interested in it anymore and doesn't have a clear memory, but others at Bell did (Diane at least).
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: Dominic_ContempraPhones on July 03, 2017, 06:37:19 AM
Doug, I've got nice stuff, but I don't go around flaunting it like you did.  That's bad form.  Have you ever seen a black Contempra?  I could argue that this was the only black Contempra ever made, but I'd be lying if I said that.  The bottom is gold.  It was made for a executive and after years of sitting in his closet, was given to me.  Then I find another one.  Or this, it wasn't a prototype.  I opened one and it was semi-transparent -- the color code was "SMOKEY".  I think that one was one of a kind because it was made for an exec., but I doubt it.  They never made one of anything.
Title: Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
Post by: ..... on July 03, 2017, 07:56:40 AM
Dominic,

You still are not providing proof, you are just rambling on. As for the flaunting , I can because I own it and have it in my possession. You just flaunt your aggressive behaviour. This tread was a year old and you come in on the attack, as well as on other threads in this forum.

I don't know what you think that it makes it your business to attack my pride of ownership. The pictures I post are of my items, not some picture taken from the internet as you do. 

Mods please lock this thread up, as I have had enough of his nonsense.

This person has taken this forum to a new low.