Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Talk => Collector's Corner => Topic started by: Doug Rose on December 26, 2013, 01:03:55 PM

Title: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: Doug Rose on December 26, 2013, 01:03:55 PM
Finally....proof. Here is a Metal 302, clearly marked H1 in vermilion. I have never seen a dated metal shell unless it was a WE  refurb. 3/46 on base. Base is corroded in places, so this would only be good to be repainted. Coil I/46 Elements marked 3/46. So, WE did make metal phones in 3/46 !!!...Doug
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: Phonesrfun on December 26, 2013, 01:59:24 PM
But without an actual date on the metal cover itself, there is room for reasonable doubt.  All you know for sure is that there is a metal cover mated with a 1946 base, and no typical refurb markings.  Having said that, it still could be original.  Maybe it was assembled in the factory in 1946, but used a metal cover that was on the shelf, but which had been cast before the war. 

If Western Electric had totally retooled to make covers out of plastic during the war, and continued to mold them from plastic after the war, it does not seem likely to me that they would go back to making only a few out of metal.  I would also imagine the metal housings were more expensive for them to make than plastic.

Only my two cents, since I am no authority on this subject.
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: poplar1 on December 26, 2013, 02:53:03 PM
Bill, would you be more inclined to believe if you found a metal 1946 with all matching dates, including cloth cords? Also, I don't recall seeing any metal housings with CCC marking other than on 1946 sets.
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: Phonesrfun on December 26, 2013, 03:06:38 PM
Bill, would you be more inclined to believe if you found a metal 1946 with all matching dates, including cloth cords? Also, I don't recall seeing any metal housings with CCC marking other than on 1946 sets.

David:

What do you mean when you say CCC marking?

If the dial had a matching date, it would be a stronger case, but to my recollection, I have not seen a date on a 302 cover or the hook switch. 

I am open to being talked out of my doubts  :)
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: poplar1 on December 26, 2013, 04:33:44 PM
No dates on the switch hook or housing. The Cs are concentric--like a small C surrounded by another C, which is surrounded by another C.
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: poplar1 on December 26, 2013, 04:53:02 PM
Similar to these circles:
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: Phonesrfun on December 26, 2013, 05:17:20 PM
Also, I don't recall seeing any metal housings with CCC marking other than on 1946 sets.

Ok on the CCC concentric circles.  But now I am still confused, but willing to be unconfused.  Are you saying that there were metal 302 housings from 1946 that had the concentric circles?

Thanks
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: poplar1 on December 26, 2013, 06:17:37 PM
Yes, stamped or molded in the metal, inside near the switch hook. I've only seen that on some 1946 metal housings. Could be an outside supplier?
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: poplar1 on December 26, 2013, 08:24:49 PM
Here's another 1946 metal set--307:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=151178072729
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: Sargeguy on December 26, 2013, 09:23:57 PM
If Western Electric had totally retooled to make covers out of plastic during the war, and continued to mold them from plastic after the war, it does not seem likely to me that they would go back to making only a few out of metal.  I would also imagine the metal housings were more expensive for them to make than plastic.

A few points to consider:
Was thermoplastic actually cheaper to produce than metal at the time? 
If the molds had not worn out yet, it would be a shame to just scrap them, why not stamp out a few metal ones for old times sake?  Especially since Post-war demand for new telephones was very high after several years of Depression and WWII.  If WECO had available capacity to produce metal phones, it would make sense to continue to do so until they had the capacity to meet the demand with plastic only.
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: Phonesrfun on December 26, 2013, 09:35:25 PM
Sarge:

Maybe I am guilty of applying today's knowledge to my thinking about something of the past.  My assumption was that thermoplastics were cheaper to mix and mold than molten metal.  You may have a point in that this may not have been the case early on.  Plastic bodied phones would have been lighter and easier to handle than metal, so I probably jumped to the conclusion that the public would naturally want the plastic phone.  However, back then, anything plastic would have been looked at with distain as being cheap.  I remember my parents and grandparents talking about the plastic crap that was being turned out "back then".  Today, everything is plastic, and metal is heavy and expensive, so we are pretty well conditioned that plastic is better.

What do others think?
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: poplar1 on December 26, 2013, 11:20:41 PM
Myth: thermoplastic was introduced because of war shortages. Plastic 302s, at least in colors, were already included in January 1941 BSPs, almost a year before Pearl Harbor. (C30.001 Issue 4, 1-2-41).
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: Sargeguy on December 27, 2013, 12:28:18 AM
I don't think plastic was easier or cheaper to produce initially, but probably had long term cost benefits and economies of scale.  I think plastic phones would have been a modern novelty for people at the time.  It had been 8 since the transparent plastic 302 has been showcased at the World's Fair. Pre-war plastics were a luxury item used in color sets as poplar1 points out, and those produced during the War probably were reserved for strategic purpose/War effort.  Many people had not seen a brand new phone in years.  There were still lots of candlesticks with black painted wooden subsets in service, not to mention D-1s and B-1s.  Remember the 151-AL came around this period and only had a new receiver and transmitter, with everything else being recycled.  I'm sure old-timers look disdainfully at plastic now but I'm sure it was the "cat's pajamas" when it first came out.
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: Mr. Bones on December 27, 2013, 04:34:11 AM
     You all bring some very valid, and familiar points to this discussion. My Dad was a WWII Vet, so I have heard some of this before. (re: plastic carp)

     Another thing to consider, perhaps? WE was contracted to produce x-gazillion telephones, and other devices, for the duration of the war. They were a highly efficient company, which always got things done.

     Would it not be possible, or at least worth consideration, to imagine that they might, very well, have had extra metal shells, etc left over, from these contract runs, when WWII ended? It did end rather suddenly, with little announcement.

     Pretty much all the other manufacturers had lots left over. That's why I can buy NOS Linkert carburetor kits, in Cosmoline, for my 45 Flathead. NOS tubes for some of my radios. Etc, ad nauseum.

     Being WE, would they have not utilized parts already produced,  being ever practical (and frugal)?

     I've never seen a WE 'Wartime' / Signal Corps 302 phone, in person. That being said, I don't know if the Guv' mint spec'd thermoplastic, or metal... anybody got a thermoplastic one?

     As I understand it, though, the reason for the Home Front shortages of previously commonly available materials in civilian production of goods, all the Scrap Drives, etc. was so the War Effort got the Good Stuff to beat The Axis powers.

     In my mind, that would mean they got metal 302s, though I certainly stand by to be re-educated / enlightened on the subject. It's always good to make new wrinkles in the brain, and I am still a most rabid WWII scholar for 50-ish years.

     Staying tuned to see what happens on this subject!

Best regards!
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: poplar1 on December 27, 2013, 09:47:36 AM
There aren't a lot of 302s 1942-1944. However, I think the 42-44 are mostly plastic, not metal. And WE wasn't making a lot of phones anyway, mostly other things needed for the war; Chrysler was making tanks instead of cars.

Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: rdelius on December 27, 2013, 12:12:18 PM
The US was gearing up for the war before Pearl Harbor.Supplies were being produced for the Allies.It was a matter of  time before we entered WWll.WE was most likely thinking ahead
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: Doug Rose on December 27, 2013, 02:47:49 PM
David is correct, yet again!! I have found the conclave ccc's and enclosed a few pics. Dated 3/46 everywhere, 4/46 on the transmitter. This is a working phone that needs some TLC. Well beyond my talents. I will put in on eBay on Sunday. Feel free to make an offer, it is a piece of history, but needs some work. If you feel its a challenge you want to take....go for it!!! I hope to see this looking better soon.  Best offer I'll take before Sunday noon, you can't insult me or it goes on eBay...Doug
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: unbeldi on December 27, 2013, 05:27:44 PM
RE: the dispute of cost, modernness, etc, between metal or plastic.

I think there can be no doubt that it was cheaper to produce plastics, whether it being thermoset or thermoplastic materials. The cost benefits abound from raw material sourcing, delivery, molding, handling, and shipping to consumers.

WeCo was not the first to take this direction. Throughout the 1930s consumer products were increasingly made from plastics. Bakelite was a revolutionary product and inspired immense research efforts to produce new plastics with varying properties.  The possibility to produce inherently colored materials, that did not need painting which made products subject to peeling and chipping, was a tremendous economic benefit.

In addition, at the time, 1920-1940s, I do not think that plastic was viewed as "cheap", but rather as a modern advance that permitted colored products with new properties and applications.  I think, this view is hindsight from the experience of cheap products from Asia quite a bit later.
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: oldphon on January 04, 2014, 12:12:08 PM
Happy New Year All-

Regarding the three concentric circles, I know WE outsourced some molding, casting, and forging operations.  Whether it was due to volume, complexity, etc, I'm not sure.  Some items that come to mind, that I've seen are aluminum back plates for mounting single slot pay phones, aluminum back plates for apparatus mountings used for key telephone equipment, three slot vault doors, number rings for 7-type dials, 191C trim plates for going around 630 modular wall plates, and others I can't recall at the moment.  Regarding the number rings for 7-type dials, I have several that are marked "EMCO" in concentric circles.  I believe this is Erie Molding Co., same people that produced the entire housings for the North N-541 sets.

Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: Doug Rose on January 04, 2014, 04:15:16 PM
its on eBay ending tomorrow for $50 if anyone feels they can clean the metal shell up....Doug

http://www.ebay.com/itm/291046139312
Title: Re: Metal 302 Stamped H1 in Vermilion 3/46
Post by: Doug Rose on January 18, 2014, 08:58:49 AM
I opened another box this morning of phones I picked up a few years ago and lightning has struck twice. An amazing Metal 302 dated 6/46, All dates match and it has the CCC, even the dial matches. I had never seen one and now two in a month. the manual one was in tough shape, but this guy is in wonderful shape. I just wiped it off, removed the dial to get a date and put a jack on the original line cord. Next to the CCC is a large I, the other had a K. Not sure what this means.

The only add was the jack and the NOS dial card.

There were defintely metal 302s phones made in 1946....Doug