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and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

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Peroxide Treatment Detailed Instructions

Started by Dan, June 07, 2009, 05:46:08 PM

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Bad joke alert!

If you put the peroxide solution on a black phone, will that turn it into a blond (yellow) phone? Good material for discussion over a case of beer and pizza!



Bill your color theory is spot on correct. Dan/Panther did a pink one that really looked good. It was more yellow than faded. When it is all said and done, the sanding method is the choice for dark colors, while peroxide will work for light ones.
"Imagine how weird telephones would look if our ears weren't so close to our mouths." - Steven Wright


Ok, my next victim.

This one is in real good physical shape.  No real scratches, and it is a 701B Princess dated 3/62.  Being a 701, this phone has the original style Princess network and no ringer in the base.  But what the heck is its color??

I don't know!

At first I thought it was a discolored white phone.  However, even the insides of the handset and the inside of the shell are yellow-ish.  It looks ivory, but the outsides of the receiver and transmitter caps are whiter than even the inside of the shell.  Also, in 1962 I don't think they made a Princess in ivory.  Probably beige.   Truly a mystery.

But, it is going to get the treatment nonetheless.  There is some fading and discoloration, as can be seen by the parts of the outside of the shell where the receiver sits when on hook.  Also the receiver handle is darker outside than inside.  In the photo it almost looks like a pale yellow, but I don't think Western ever made such a pale pale yellow, even when they made yellow.  My 1961 Bell System local phone book advertises the Princess in five colors:

Your Choice of Color    The Princess phone comes in five attractive decorator colors: White, Beige, Blue, Pink and Turquoise.  Call your Business Office today - for colorful telephoning.

-Bill G


Bill, Dan;
I have the same colored Princess as Bill tried the method on. The receiver cap which is not original to the phone and slightly more yellow, has had 3 treatments with very little change. The body of the phone is better, but like Bill points out, seems to be fading along with the yellow. I do not see how this method is going to show an aqua phone, bright aqua again, like original.
I also have found a very thin crust, of a very hard like material, that can be scraped off with a finger nail, and appears to be like a coating has formed in crevasses. Just procede with caution on expensive phones. Treat at your own risk so to speak. Do we really know what we are doing here. We may find later on that the plastic truns brittle, or begins to flake, we just don't know.

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


Well I'm back with the second round of bleaching on the Ivory '56. We have a WINNER  now :o :o :o

1)  For completeness sake, here is the underside to relate to, once again

2)  Now the front, after TWO rounds of 20%

3)  Inside of caps --baseline guide to try to match

4)  Outside of caps--two rounds of 20%

5)  Overall Before whitening

6)  Overall after two rounds

Nice!!! ;D ;D ;D
"Imagine how weird telephones would look if our ears weren't so close to our mouths." - Steven Wright


We have learned

1. White works the best, whether you do it with three rounds of 20% or two rounds of 40% I have done Soft and hard plastic with outstanding results

2. Ivory works very well too. Soft plastic

3. Pink worked well for Dan/P and me too. Make sure the phone is yellowed, not faded. Yellowed pink phones look like a "salmon" colour.

4. Aqua blue is not a good candidate, although I had a SLIGHTLY yellowed one that became bluer .

5. No to Greens

Use 40% on whites, I would use 20% on all others using the underside of the phones and caps as a guide and goal to get to.

I hope this has been informative to you all. It is interesting and fun for me!
"Imagine how weird telephones would look if our ears weren't so close to our mouths." - Steven Wright

Dennis Markham

Thanks you guys...great information and inspiration.  I have a couple of white phones that I'd like to try this on....eventually!


Bill that princess is light beige. It will match and work well. My guess is three rounds of 20%
"Imagine how weird telephones would look if our ears weren't so close to our mouths." - Steven Wright

Stephen Furley

What type of UV light should be used?  The best source is likely to be low-pressure mercury, but there are at least four different types:

Blacklight.  The ones used in 'insect killers'.  They're just a fluorescent tube with a phosphor which emits in the UV-A range; they also emit a certain amount of visible light, mainly at the blue-violet end.

Blacklight blue, as above, but with the tube made of dark blue 'woods glass' to absorb almost all of the visible light.  Used mainly to make things fluoresce in applications such as identification of minerals, fake document detection, etc.

Sunbed tubes, with a phosphor designed to emit shorter wavelength UV-B.  Doesn't do skin any good, despite it's main use.

Germicidal tubes which have no phosphor but have clear glass, and use the UV-C emission of the low-pressure mercury discharge directly, and have a special glass which transmits this.  Causes very sore, painful eyes after just a short exposure.  Used in things like water sterilisers and some types of air-conditioning plant, and for erasing EPROM chips.

I've got examples of all of these except the sunbed tube, but which to use?

Dennis Markham

I don't know much about this other than what I've read, but I think the best source would be the sun itself.  If you can put the part that you're bleaching outside in the sun all day, it seems like that would be best.  I thought I read on the original web site to use sunlight.  But I may be mistaken.  I thought also it said to put it in a plastic bag with substance on it to keep it from drying.


There is an article about hydrogen peroxide in Wikipedia.

An interesting section says: "Hydrogen peroxide always decomposes (disproportionates) exothermically into water and oxygen gas spontaneously:

   2 H2O2 → 2 H2O + O2

This process is very favorable thermodynamically. It has a ΔHo of −98.2 kJ·mol−1 and a ΔGo of −119.2 kJ·mol−1 and a ΔS of 70.5 J·mol−1·K−1. The rate of decomposition is dependent on the temperature and concentration of the peroxide, as well as the pH and the presence of impurities and stabilizers."

It doesn't mention anything about light of any kind to make the reaction take place, however, the decomposition is a function of temperature. I think that means that the warmer the substance over the plastic is, the better it should work. A heat lamp or just plain old sun, should work OK.

Any chemists in the group?



I am not a chemist, but I know a little bit about oxygenation , bleaching, and the like from dentistry. The sun is a great source like Dennis mentioned, but I like a 100 watt incandescent bulb  . It generates a little heat, unlike the flourescent bulbs, which helped especially well with the badly yellowed white telephones.I found keeping it wet was not a huge factor overall. I'd say blacklight bulbs are too dim and won't work as well.
"Imagine how weird telephones would look if our ears weren't so close to our mouths." - Steven Wright


I'm under the impression that plain old incandescent bulbs produce a lot of heat (infrared, which is at the long-wave end of the visible specturm), but almost no UV (which is at the other end of the spectrum entirely). That's why incandescent bulbs are useless for growing indoor plants, since UV is required for photosynthesis. But the heat might stimulate the decomposition of peroxide as mentioned by George Amely above.



"sun bleaching" works wonders on yellowed antique linens. why not fones, too? i have a white 702bm that i am going to set outside today.

as for heating the peroxide solution, if you have ever lightened your hair, you know that  heat will accelerate the process. so i was thinking about putting a set covered with the peroxide solution under an old bonnet hair dryer. but maybe this would be too hot on the plastic.

i also have a princess in that mystery ivory color(12-60). definitely not beige, but no trace of white, even inside the caps.


I think sun exposure is not a good way to bleach plastics because the UV light in sun light as well as fluorescent lights is what causes the plastics to fade into a yellowish color. I prefer tungsten lamps where I keep plastic phones for this reason. If addition, using a coating to diminish UV light exposure is probably a good idea.

A good experiment would be to use household bleach. The oxidizing agent is chlorine, not hydrogen peroxide. Chlorine is not as strong as hydrogen peroxide, therefore, the exposure time would be longer, I suspect. It is also easier to prepare: you can buy a gallon at your local store and would be enough to submerge an entire phone in it (plastics only, of course).

There is a good paragraph in plastics degradation here:

My 2 cents.