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New User and New to Magneto Telephones

Started by DB26, August 28, 2022, 06:19:26 PM

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Hello everyone. I'm Robert from Los Angeles, CA. I just recently got into magneto type telephones. It's only been a little over a month, actually. But I own three now. A "Federal" brand from the 1920s in full working order, A Stromberg Carlson two box from an unknown date that needs work, and one telephone I will dub the "Frankenphone" since it's got all kinds of different make parts attached to it.

The frankenphone was practically destroyed in shipping so it's no big loss. I believe the main body is that of a Cracraft-Leich, with a generic generator and no receiver or transmitter parts.

I'm going to hook two of these phones together and make an intercom system between the house and the garage. I have the Federal telephone already mounted on the wall. I will update when I have the Stromberg working.

I'm actually wondering if there's any interest to the transmitter shell that is on the frankenphone since I'm going to part this radio out. The cup is an "American Bell Telephone Company" brand with patents from the late 1800s and the front plate of the transmitter is a "Columbia Telephone Co." from Hudson NY. 


Welcome to the forum. You have found the right place. There are people on here with vast knowledge about all types of telephones. I currently have five magneto phones (some are candlesticks with magneto boxes attached) and I love them. I have a few connected together as intercoms as you are doing. I don't know much about Columbia phones, but the back cup is from a Bell System phone from 1889-1909 or so. Normally these would be nickel-plated or possibly painted black. It looks like your cup may still have a little nickel near the center around the holes. I have a *229* transmitter with that cup on it on a Western Electric candlestick. I think they used these on some wooden wall phones also. Good luck on your project!


Doug Rose

Welcome to the Forum!  I have a Federal Magneto that rings on incoming and conversation is clear. The mag does spin and ring the gongs, but is just an ornament now. How much are you looking for your parts?....Doug


The Columbia faceplate is rare.  The WE back cup is a common but useful part. Value depends a lot upon whether the screw holes that attach the transmitter have been notched. It also looks the cup has possibly been plated with yellow chromate, not just brassed out.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409