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

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How to Repair a Crosley or Pottery Barn Wall Phone

Started by Mister Mike, September 27, 2015, 12:54:09 AM

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Mister Mike



I've had a Pottery Barn wall phone in my kitchen for years. Nothing against it -- I always liked the look of it, but something about it just didn't feel right. Thanks to this forum, I figured out how to do something about it.

The "new" Western Electric 354 was an eBay score that I fixed up a bit thanks to information I learned after stubmling upon this forum a few weeks ago. I still have a lot to learn as this is all new to me, but I look forward to learning and sharing a whole lot more.

These reproductions are not fine examples of engineering and craftsmanship, but they do have the potential to recruit new classic rotary phone enthusiasts. I'm proof of that!


Welcome aboard Repairman Mister Mike!

Some of the reproduction stuff is interesting but you fixed it for good!



While not a restoration in fact that would fit into the Back from the Dead topic, it is indeed a remarkable "restoration" meeting the spirit of that topic, and as such is so noted here.
Yesterday eats you up, it eats everyone up . . .


Mister Mike

Thanks guys! The WE started out in rougher shape. Here it is upon arrival...

The phone was rough around the edges, fitted with a G1 handset and wired with a 1980s gray modular line cord, so I obtained a proper F1 handset:

Then got my hands on a modular wall plate adapter (Old school wall mounting is ideal, but because the wall is tiled and already fitted with a modular wall plate, this was the only way to go):

Next up was the Brasso, Steel wool, terry cloth and a few hours of polishing. I wasn't able to obtain the mirror shine that some guys around here get, but I'm happy with the look of the phone:

For an inexpensive phone that wasn't treated with kid gloves over the years, I was pretty lucky. While everything was filthy, the thermoplastic case had no cracks, and the dial plate has no visible wear. While there was no dial card, the dial card holder, down to the lucite, was still intact -- so I was able to print out a decent dial card of my own.

I still have the Pottery Barn phone, but I have relocated it to the basement, where there was another modular wall plate (though its days are numbered once I find another good deal on another 354). The differences are more drastic than even I expected. Even my wife, who thought this project was nuts, has to admit that the "new" phone is nicer. In photos, the Pottery Barn and Western Electric phones look like twins, but the WE has way more gravitas in person. Plus, the ringer is better -- not much louder, the Pottery Barn phone has a bell too, but the WE ring is more substantial. The handset of the WE has so much more heft. In a contest between the F1 receiver and a burglar's skull, the F1 would surely win. Not so with the Pottery Barn handset. The two phones look similar, but there's no doubt that the WE is commercial grade -- built to last, and made to be serviced if something goes wrong. The Pottery Barn phone is built work until it doesn't, then thrown away.


"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
— Arthur C. Clarke


Harry Smith
ATCA 4434

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"