Telephone Identification, Repair & Restoration > Telephone Tools, Workshops, Tool Identification and Other "Tools" for Working on Phones

Why Collect Tools?

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--- Quote from: LarryInMichigan on October 17, 2011, 03:51:59 PM ---I just removed the center part from an AE handset earpiece using the handle of a pliers. (copied from the discussion on the AE Monophone tool)


--- End quote ---
Hi Larry:

First of all, Larry, your post reflects the thoughts of a lot of people, and for that reason I have copied it here, as it illustrates the point I am trying to make with this post. It is definitely not meant to be any sort of affront to you!

Yes, there is always a way to get around using the correct tool, but there are side effects, too which Terry pointed out about the scratching and possible breakage not using the correct tool can cause, not to mention the additional time it may take you to perform the task by "making do".

There is a real satisfaction which a lot of us have that comes from having and using the correct tool.

Sure, you can use a small screwdriver to release the dial escutcheon on an AE dial, but it is an easier process using the correct H-26917 tool.

Same thing with WE/NE dials. While you can use a paperclip to release the dial plate on them, you are never certain to insert it to the correct depth - it you use the correct KS-16750 L4  dial removal tool, it will only insert to the correct depth, doesn't bend the retainers below making replacement easier, and like the discussion on the Monophone tool, it doesn't scratch.

I mention the above two tools, as they are two of the most commonly used ones.

Sure, there is always a way of doing without. There was always a reason that manufacturers made these tools. The chief reason was to make the job easier, and  make their use safer than by other means, to the equipment.

So, there is a subset of us who pride themselves in maintaining a collection of at least the most commonly used tools. Others, like myself will collect every telephone related tool they can find.

Some admire the inventiveness of the craft people and designers who invented these tools, and then there are people who simply love the craft work that went into the making them.

One of the great things about this telephone hobby, is that there are multiple things about collecting that make it appealing to us all. Some love dial phones, others love Touch Tone phones, there are those who collect office phones and systems, those who participate in switching, and yes, there are yet others who love collecting the tools of the trade. That is the great thing about telephone collecting. There is something for all of us which can be tied into the main hobby of telephone collecting!

To all: Take time to read the posts. Read all the posts, and please participate yourselves. If you have an oddball tool, post its photo along with any numbers and markings on it, and we will do our level best to let you know what it was used for. Don't be shy, and don't be embarrassed because you don't know what it is. Talk about the tools you have -- even those you wish you had, or wish they had made. This promises to be a very interesting part of the overall forum.

Thanks you, Dennis for providing a place where we can all meet and discuss all aspects of this wonderful hobby!



I'm with Dave on this: it's better to have the correct tool for the job.  I've been in the industry for close to 30 years and the difference between the right tool and "make do" is often the difference between "simple task easily done" and "major pain in the rear end."

There are some make-dos that are pretty harmless, such as using the thin end of the file blade on a Swiss Army knife as an AE dial ring removal tool, or using a properly configured paper clip to remove plastic fingerwheels, so long as one has the right feel for the materials and the skill to do it correctly.  But some, such as make-dos to remove the earpiece nut from an AE 34 handset, are frustrating and risk damaging the components.

Even the right or wrong screwdriver makes a difference: for example, US screwdriver blades are generally too thick for working on Dutch PTT and English GPO telephones. 

So to my mind there are two parts to this:

One, the historic collection aspect: to document and preserve original tools as far as possible and as completely as possible.   

Two, the practical aspect: guidance for individuals on what they can use today for various installation, repair, and restoration tasks.

For example most of us will never see an original AE Monophone tool, but many of us (count me in) would jump at the opportunity to have a working reproduction for use on our workbenches.

One thing that could be highly useful, would be to assemble a list of tools that anyone should have who is even remotely serious about working on old telephone equipment.  Under each type of tool would be an "acceptable, good, better, best" example, with photos.  These lists would start from the most general to the more and more specific, for example relay tension gauges for working on electromechanical PBXs. 

I picked up a couple of GPO little leather bound toolcases, I can assure the spanners in them are a hell of lot easier to use than a pair of pliers.

I doubt the exact same sized spanners were used outside telecoms.


--- Quote from: gpo706 on October 18, 2011, 06:08:40 PM ---I picked up a couple of GPO little leather bound toolcases, I can assure the spanners in them are a hell of lot easier to use than a pair of pliers.

I doubt the exact same sized spanners were used outside telecoms.

--- End quote ---

Depending on the sizes, perhaps not, but they should come across the sizes of wrenches you so need the most. Enjoy them!

I find over here, most are common sizes, but the wrenches are a better width - those made for general use are thicker, too long,  and awkward to use on telephones. Also, its hard to get sets that include the smaller sizes that are common in telecom usage - even more difficult when the size you need is metric. I do have a set of quality Craftsman Metric/Imperial  ignition wrenches in addition to telecom wrenches that I find pretty good, as they are made thinner and smaller than normal wrenches, but use my telecom wrenches mostly.



Yes, a set of spanners, because GPO decided to use hex nuts rather than screws at the back of the rocking-armature receiver! 

Though, I can't for the life of me, think of other components on GPO teles 164, 232, 332, 706, or 746, that require the use of a spanner.  OK, the cradle switch plungers on tele 332, yes, those are attached with hex nuts inside the housing.  And the hex nuts at the backs of ringer coils.  Any others I'm missing? 


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