Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Identification, Repair & Restoration => Telephone Component Identification => Dials & Touchtone Pads => Topic started by: Robb on September 12, 2017, 10:27:35 AM

Title: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: Robb on September 12, 2017, 10:27:35 AM
Hi All,

I throw this query out to all you experts on a dial identification. First off, I'm brand new to this organization and forum and I'm excited to share this challenge with many of you that know your stuff.

Attached here are photos I took of a recent purchase at a flea market. A really decent, all matching component, metal WE 302 from 1941. My intentions are to use and display this as a "survivor." Have yet to only clean this old girl and I'm very happy with the phone's "as is" condition. I'm one of those that appreciates original condition items and a stickler for originality in every detail.  The wear and what you might call "patina" is what I especially love.

Anyway, to get to the point of this post.... as you can see this 5H dial plate is badly damaged. I would love to find an ORIGINAL replacement for this but cannot locate, much less identify, what dial this is. I understand there may be another 149B out there that would work, but all the ones I've seen have that different inner shape, not the completely round inside like this one. Is this unique to 1941? Not sure what date this is as the back of the plate is pretty crusty with no markings. It is brass, by the way, with the number side being enameled. Who can shed some light on this??

Thanks very much!!!

Title: Re: Mystery dial plate???
Post by: Fabius on September 12, 2017, 10:47:48 AM
Welcome to the forum. Where are you located. Don't forget to post pictures of your phones. I am like you, I want my phones to be as original as possible. I can't help with the dial ID but I'm sure you'll be hearing from others.
Title: Re: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: Robb on September 12, 2017, 10:56:37 AM
Thanks for the welcome. I'm from Cedarburg, WI. Pix are posted!
Title: Re: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: LarryInMichigan on September 12, 2017, 10:59:50 AM
I don't recall seeing a number plate like that one before.

Title: Re: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: unbeldi on September 12, 2017, 11:31:44 AM
There should be little or no doubt, that this was once a 150B number plate, made after the second quarter of 1940.
Someone must have cut out the center of it with the periphery of the cut going approximately through the center of the three cutouts for the spring prongs of the plate retainer ring.  The three cutouts now are simply notches on the inner edge.

The result of that work was the chipping of the vitreous enamel layer around the entire edge, but clearly it caused major damage toward the '5' number position.

Does the plate show any other cutting marks, perhaps on the rear side ?

It should not be hard to find a valid replacement, although perhaps some patience may be needed to find a plate of 1941 vintage.

Title: Re: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: Duffy on September 12, 2017, 11:57:27 AM
Welcome to CRPF.
Title: Re: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: Robb on September 12, 2017, 02:05:22 PM
The interesting thing about this plate is that the circle cut is, in MHO, a perfect and smooth cut. No butchery to the edges as one might expect of a handy man. And most curious...why was this done? All the 150B plates back in the day, (that are on ebay now) would work on this dial, right??

If you look at the pix of the phone with the brown paper dust shield, you can see this "modified?" plate left a silhouette of a circle where the paper was exposed to soil and dirt over many years. (I was told by the seller this phone lived in a dirty cellar on a shelf for a long time, whatever 'a long time' means?)

Any theories to why this may have been cut?
Title: Re: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: Ktownphoneco on September 12, 2017, 06:14:32 PM
Robb  ...    Welcome to the forum !   You'll find a lot of telephone enthusiasts here, with a wealth of knowledge, and quite willing to help you out.    Regarding your altered 150-B number plate, I have no idea why anyone would want to cut out the center portion of the plate.     It makes no sense whatsoever.    In the 1930's, Western used a type 149 porcelain number plate that had an open center area, used 3 alignment pins and a nickel retainer ring similar to what you see on your dial, but it had a collar around the open area in the center, making it easily distinguishable from a type 150 number plate, even without taking the finger wheel off to check.   
If your interested, I have a somewhat worn 150-B number plate you can have for the cost of postage.       Bu I'm in Canada, and it'll cost a few extra dollars to send.      I can probably put it in a "CD" mailing envelope, which is cheaper.     Picture attached.     It's worn, and it's dated 4th quarter (Oct. 1st through Dec. 31st) 1940.    While your set was made in 1941, it's possible a number plate made in December could end up on a 1941 telephone.     Keep it in mind, and if you can't find anything suitable date wise, send me a "PM" with your mailing address and I'll let you know what the postage would be.   

Jeff Lamb 
Title: Re: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: Robb on September 12, 2017, 07:39:48 PM
Hi Jeff,
Thanks very much for your comments on this oddball plate. More importantly I thank you for your offer of the right period 150B plate. Too bad it is so worn. By your valued opinion, I will now start my search for a late 1940 plate like yours or a 1941 plate. If I don't have any luck in the next few weeks, I'll take you up on your generous offer! What'll probably happen is that I'll end up buy a whole dial assembly or a really junky 302 just to get the plate. I know that sounds crazy, but I'm kind of a completist and want to do this correctly. Again, thanks for your kind offer!
Title: Re: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: mentalstampede on September 14, 2017, 03:44:41 PM
Ron Christianson had a bunch of dial parts and number plates available awhile back. I bought a really nice 150B from him. His ad is on the forum here:

Maybe he still has some available?
Title: Re: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: Pourme on September 14, 2017, 04:09:04 PM
Wow!...He had finger dials stacked up like 45 RPM records!
Title: Re: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: HarrySmith on September 14, 2017, 04:25:42 PM
I sent Ron a few messages after that ad and never got a reply.
Title: Re: Mystery WE 302 dial plate???
Post by: Robb on September 14, 2017, 08:22:23 PM
Thanks guys! I will attempt to contact Ron about his stash. (if in fact he has any left?) You all have been a big help and I'm confident one will pop up in great condition.