Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Talk => Auction Talk => Topic started by: Doug Rose on March 05, 2011, 10:42:27 AM

Title: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Doug Rose on March 05, 2011, 10:42:27 AM
Be very afraid!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170609748405&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: HarrySmith on March 05, 2011, 12:34:23 PM
The seller clearly states he made this, and others. I think it is a pretty cool way to have an operational phone without the use of a subset. There was a lengthy discussion on one of these a short time ago on the list. It was listed as a prototype, not by this seller, and many on the list were highly suspicious. It appears they were correct as this guy says he made a few D1's & B1's.
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Doug Rose on March 05, 2011, 01:29:56 PM
The seller clearly states he made this, and others. I think it is a pretty cool way to have an operational phone without the use of a subset. There was a lengthy discussion on one of these a short time ago on the list. It was listed as a prototype, not by this seller, and many on the list were highly suspicious. It appears they were correct as this guy says he made a few D1's & B1's.
Harry...I agree.... he stated he did it.

I also think anytime you see a circuit board in a  70 year old phone, it's a frankenphone.

I have never seen a "real" 202 with a ringer in it. I have never seen any evidence of a "real" prototype with a ringer in a 202. Riveted metal around a base cover does not a protype make. It makes a home brew....Doug
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: mariepr on March 05, 2011, 07:02:43 PM
Be very afraid!..

Looks a lot like all of my B1 and D1 reworkings where every single one has an AE mini-network. The only phone that didn't get the mini-network treatment was an A1 because there was no way the coil would fit in there if a dial was installed. 

I will admit that making the extra inch high rim looks a bit bulky, but it's really quite clever. A customer who wants the look and feel of a pre-1940 phone gets it in one ready to plug in desk set.  The seller posted images of the insides so there is full disclosure on what the buyer is getting.   Nothing has been done to this phone that can't be reversed.  (The real hack jobs were those lamp conversions that drilled through the handset.)

That's all for now.. let me get back to wiring in the mini-network and Rotatone into that D1.  For those who want to do this, you can download my illustrated instructions from Don's website.  (And - be very afraid - there are also instructions for using a 2AB and Rotatone in a B1. Horrors! Violations of BSP!) 

Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Doug Rose on March 05, 2011, 08:45:16 PM
Marie....if it makes you happy, fine. To me, it ruins a great antique phone. I can't see a reason to use them, but that's just me.

 I like them all natural with no chemicals or fillers. 100% they way they were made to be. I open a beautiful old phone with a circuit board or a little chirpy ringer, it's like trashing it. Rotatone? You are correct, oh the "horrors"...Doug
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: paul-f on March 05, 2011, 10:06:13 PM
I have never seen a "real" 202 with a ringer in it. I have never seen any evidence of a "real" prototype with a ringer in a 202. Riveted metal around a base cover does not a protype make. It makes a home brew....Doug

Check out the photo of the Y-3419-19  on this page (second one down):
  http://www.paul-f.com/weproto.html#302proto

That's about as close as I've seen so far.
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Doug Rose on March 06, 2011, 09:08:11 AM
Be very afraid!..

Looks a lot like all of my B1 and D1 reworkings where every single one has an AE mini-network. The only phone that didn't get the mini-network treatment was an A1 because there was no way the coil would fit in there if a dial was installed.  

I will admit that making the extra inch high rim looks a bit bulky, but it's really quite clever. A customer who wants the look and feel of a pre-1940 phone gets it in one ready to plug in desk set.  The seller posted images of the insides so there is full disclosure on what the buyer is getting.   Nothing has been done to this phone that can't be reversed.  (The real hack jobs were those lamp conversions that drilled through the handset.)

That's all for now.. let me get back to wiring in the mini-network and Rotatone into that D1.  For those who want to do this, you can download my illustrated instructions from Don's website.  (And - be very afraid - there are also instructions for using a 2AB and Rotatone in a B1. Horrors! Violations of BSP!)  


I woke up from a nightmare of my A1 chirping like a cricket and my 2HB gone. YIKES!! Horrors!

I'm curious, when you  "upgrade your B1's and D1's with all this fine new equipment, are the potential new buyers aware of what was done to the antique phone? Are they aware its like putting a CD player in a '68 Camaro. Sounds much better than an eight track!

 A good engineer can do almost anything to make something work. But a good engineer know about the "integrity" of the product.....Doug
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: RDP on March 06, 2011, 10:00:37 AM
Be very afraid!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170609748405&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT
There's a so called phone restorer amongst the fan collectors who does this, although this is not one of his, I don't approve of either.
It's like taking a 49 Cord and putting a Honda engine in it.
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Doug Rose on March 06, 2011, 10:19:14 AM
I sold this B1 last week for what I thought was a fair price for seller and Buyer. Just the way I found it except for a new leather bottom cover and a lot of elbow grease. The phone worked when I wired it to DT.

WHY would anything else be needed to "upgrade" this?? It's over 80 years old and really not meant for everyday use.

Sorry about beating a dead horse, but I am very passionate about this. Why would anyone ever screw with perfection??

I will now step down from my soap box....Doug

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300528554301&ssPageName=STRK:MESOX:IT
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: RDP on March 06, 2011, 10:24:29 AM
Very Nice phone Doug and, restored properly.
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Doug Rose on March 06, 2011, 10:28:29 AM
thanks Ron.....I like the cartoon, since I am known to do just that, this is a keeper....Doug
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: GG on March 06, 2011, 12:46:27 PM



Yes, I saw the one offered as a "prototype" and there was just enough info in the text to make clear that the innards had been tweaked around enough times to make it "good cause for skepticism." 

Doug, that's a beautiful restoration you did there.   What do you think about 102 and 202 sets being connected to the WE subsets that contain a 425 network and C4A ringer? 

Now, for your reading pleasure, or nausea as the case may be:  When I was in college many years ago, I got hold of a GPO 232 with coil & condenser inside but without the integral bellset or a ringer box.  Sans ringer, and with no sources for original ringers, I built from scratch one of the dreaded chirpy things, using a bridge rectifier, a couple of capacitors and resistors, and one of those ubiquitous Sonalert tweeters.  Mounted the whole thing inside the phone with some easily removable double-sided tape.  (I can hear you thinking, "At least that unrepentant numbskull knew enough to not drill holes in the darn phone!"  And yes, that is true, I didn't want to drill holes in the base.)  This being considered preferable to not hearing incoming calls ring except on the Dutch Standard Electric phone in the adjacent room.  I still have that one, and it still has the dreaded chirpy thing inside, though I don't have a cellphone because anything newer than a solid-back transmitter sounds better and I get all the surveillance I want without paying extra for the privilege : - )

I've also been known to use the politically-incorrect resistors & capacitors "network", which I more or less figured out how to build by tracing the wiring on some British Ericsson N-1900s for PAX service that we used to import from Canada for the princely sum of about $8.00 US plus (cheap in those days) shipping.  Those Ericssons had the R/C "networks" in them (no induction coils, weird eh?) and were legit (and they had a cool sound to them, difficult to describe but nice), so therefore it seemed legit to use them in WE 202s and AE 1A Monophones and suchlike.  When we installed those for people, we always said "rewired with modern components" and the folks we dealt with weren't looking for precision accuracy, only for nice old phones that would work reliably at home in everyday use.  On Strowger exchanges.  Sigh...
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: mariepr on March 06, 2011, 02:21:25 PM
As was often said at the railroad museum, there is restoration for historical accuracy and there is restoration for use but the two are rarely compatible.  These phones will either have to be adapted for use or the only phones to survive will be the limited numbers in the hands of collectors.

My customers are not hard core collectors, just people who want an old phone for room decor. novelty or nostalgia. But they want it to work.  What I am seeing is a decline in the number of people who use traditional land-line CO service and more people switching over to VOIP services.  Rotary dials don't work on these services without that horrid little gadget called the Rotatone.   To each his own. For anyone who hates the idea of his 2HB putting out DTMF tones, I have this to say - don't install one in you phone.  Problem solved.

There is also unfortunately a double standard on not WHAT is done to modify a phone, but WHO modifies the phones.  Ray Kotke wrote the how-to on fitting mini-networks into D1s.  He makes cases that turn perfectly good 302s into subsets.  He also makes casings in colors never produced by their original manufacturers.  Don Woodbury "enables" this "desecration" by selling the needed circuits.  Stan Schreier - doesn't he make the circuits that allow 3-slot coin phones to work on normal household phone lines? Not exactly BSP.   But we'll have to give these gentlemen a pass since we need what they sell. 
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Doug Rose on March 06, 2011, 02:36:44 PM
"My customers are not hard core collectors, just people who want an old phone for room decor. novelty or nostalgia. But they want it to work.  What I am seeing is a decline in the number of people who use traditional land-line CO service and more people switching over to VOIP services.  Rotary dials don't work on these services without that horrid little gadget called the Rotatone."

I disagree with this statement that:

"Rotary dials don't work on these services without that horrid little gadget called the Rotatone."

I sell working phones every week on eBay, 100% Natural working phones. No Mini AE networks, no rotatones no chirpy little ringers. I don't know where you got this information that they don't work, but it is incorrect. Check out eBay, people selling phones that have been in there family for years in working condition.  Rotary does work on VOIP! They ring too!

Do your customers know that the phones are a hybrid mix of old and new? Or just upgraded to work on today's lines;  that have some old parts....Doug
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: mariepr on March 06, 2011, 07:27:53 PM
I have to disagree with you Doug as not all VOIP services will read rotary pulse dialing.  Indeed even Rotatone does not work on all - Don says that they have not yet been able to get the Rotatone work on MagicJack. 

You have used a public forum to ask if my customers "know that the phones are a hybrid mix of old and new?" Would you please cite a specific listing that you believe fits this description and describe what you consider a "hybrid". 
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Phonesrfun on March 06, 2011, 09:38:48 PM

Those Ericssons had the R/C "networks" in them (no induction coils, weird eh?) and were legit (and they had a cool sound to them, difficult to describe but nice), so therefore it seemed legit to use them in WE 202s and AE 1A Monophones and suchlike.

As everyone knows, many people buy a deskset I.E. a B or D mount AKA a 102 or 202, thinking that was the complete phone.  Often they are disapointed to find out that when they just hook it up to the house wiring, it is not going to work very well.  Often, after spending 50 or 60 bucks, people don't have the cash to lay out nearly that much again for a subset.

I have suggested a few times that people get a simple modular connecting block with screw terminals and go to Radio shack and get a resistor and a capacitor and wire it together.  This thing costs next to nothing, and granted is not made for the purist, but doesn't modify the phone in any way.

It produces pretty much a sidetone effect, since there is no antisidetone inductor, and because there is no inductor at all, there is no "booster effect", but instead, an almost un-detectible amout of signal loss.  It does do a good job of separating the receiver from the transmitter and keeping DC out of the receiver.  I cannot tell much difference between that and a regular sidetone circuit.

With land lines what they are today, and even connected to VOIP, this "Cheater" circuit works rather well, and is certainly a step in getting a phone into use until a subset can be gotten.

Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: GG on March 07, 2011, 02:45:07 AM


Doug, I imagine that our debates will give rise to much amusement around here : - )

Just to be clear, I didn't start out in life with the intention to do bad things to good equipment.  My pals & I actually installed scores of 302s and AE 41s (and a few Kelloggs 1000s, but hardly any SC 1243s for some reason) for paying customers when we were in high school and college.  We modded the Dutch Ericssons, Standard Electrics, and HEEMAFs to produce 2-line phones (with hold), residential hold & transfer systems, and a few other things one might read about in the history of phone phreaks but shall remain undisclosed here : - ) .   When I was a young'un, I even drilled holes to accommodate various switches and pushbuttons and lights and similar vulgarities, though by the time I got to college I'd learned better and started mounting my clever little circuits in outboard boxes.  I think I may even have some of that hardware still around, I should go look.

From my experience, these things are practical artifacts with an embodied aesthetic and set of values having to do with longevity and reliability.  Those that one finds in all-original condition and other exceptional examples should be kept as found and/or properly restored, and that's how I built up a decent collection over the years.  And of course I have high respect for folks who can do the job exactly right, of which the restoration of the 1948 500 is an exemplary case with major historic significance. 

But seeing as the telcos reconditioned and substituted parts freely etc., doing that within the confines of the industry standards of the time, for phones that have already been through the process or aren't historically special in some way, shouldn't be cause for offense.  For example a batch of 302s found with their dials missing, and without the words Bell System on the handsets (indie telcos used them too), plus a batch of AE 51A dials, adds up to a blasphemy and a bunch of working phones that people enjoy having in their homes and actually using.  The blasphemy of using AE dials on 302s is less if the 302s weren't Bell to begin with, and is readily forgiven by people who put these in their homes. 

A desk stand, 102, 202, AE 1A, etc., sold as a working phone should certainly be wired to work, and I don't consider the R/C network to be a "cheat," since Ericsson did it on their N-1900s for PAX service, and it does make the phone everyday-usable.  To the extent that a house might have had (70 years ago) two 202s but one ringer box in a location where it could be heard, the 202 itself would appear to be a stand-alone.  If someone can't spring a few hundred bucks or more to get their station wiring redone to interface both phones to a common subset, it's OK to install two 202s with R/C networks and one ringer box without induction coil etc. to produce an equivalent result.

But I think the thing we can all agree on (Doug and I and others) is the difference between "destructive modifications" and "nondestructive modifications."  Where I would draw the line is:

It's nondestructive if it does not involve drilling holes or soldering, because it can be put back to original condition by simply moving wires on terminal screws or replacing parts (e.g. an AE dial on a WE desk stand, can be changed out for a WE dial).   

It's destructive if it involves doing anything that can't be restored to original condition: holes, soldered wiring, bizarre paint jobs or conversely, polished brass that has to be prepped before it can be repainted black, etc. 

And whatever is done should always be disclosed if known, per Mariepr and I, and our disclosures about what we may have done to make something work.  A 202 with a home-made base extender does not a prototype make, but could legitimately be represented as "artistic license" and a hand-made artifact expressing one possible design path had the telcos decided to keep recycling their 202s indefinitely and started mounting ringers in them.   Good fiction claimed as such, is good fiction; only when it's claimed as fact is it a problem.   


Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: wds on March 07, 2011, 08:24:18 AM
So, is this a constructive repair, or destructive?  Ebay item # 290541699139
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: RDP on March 07, 2011, 08:29:42 AM
To me, I reckon it's okay if nothing had to be changed in a manner that would not let it go back to it's original state and that it is just temporary till the correct tube is found.
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Doug Rose on March 07, 2011, 09:57:59 AM
So, is this a constructive repair, or destructive?  Ebay item # 290541699139

Its my auction they way it was found. I held on to it for years and never did anything with it. Its cool looking, but I don't know if it was a repair. I think it was someone being creative. If I collected clear sets, (ahem!) I'd want this. I don't think it was a piece of cake to make....Doug
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: HarrySmith on March 07, 2011, 10:04:44 AM
I saw Dougs auction last night. It caught my attention as I was browsing through a lot of phones. I think it is a cool idea and I agree, it would look great in a collection of clear phones! It uses some candlestick parts that maybe would be trashed without it and does not state it is original anything. I would like to have one made of glass with a glass mouthpiece, very cool!
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Doug Rose on March 07, 2011, 10:27:40 AM
I have to disagree with you Doug as not all VOIP services will read rotary pulse dialing.  Indeed even Rotatone does not work on all - Don says that they have not yet been able to get the Rotatone work on MagicJack.  

You have used a public forum to ask if my customers "know that the phones are a hybrid mix of old and new?" Would you please cite a specific listing that you believe fits this description and describe what you consider a "hybrid".  
All I am saying is I sell original parts, working phones everyweek on eBay. I can only assume (I know, I know) that not every one is on a POTS line. No one has ever asked if it will work on VOIP and if you check my feedback, I have sold a few. My phones work on my Comcast. I never heard of a rotatone until I asked on the Forum a few months ago.

This is not a slam against you, it is a question of why something has to be added to perfectly working phones. A 102 or a 202 did not have a ringer, why add a chirpy little ringer to it? I assume (here we go again) that there might be another phone in the house.

You did start this by stating that I consider a Frankenphone looks like every phone you sell on eBay. Horrors! Holy BSP Batman. or words like this. Remember?

By the way, who is Don? Is he like Ath*r or St*ph. I have been around a while, but that name does not ring a bell. Peace....Doug

PS...would you really have put a mini AE network or a chirpy ringer in the B1 I just sold?
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Phonesrfun on March 07, 2011, 11:05:52 AM
By the way, who is Don? Is he like Ath*r or St*ph. I have been around a while, but that name does not ring a bell. Peace....Doug


I believe Mariepr was referring to Don Woodbury at Old Phone Works, who sells the Rotatone. 

Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Doug Rose on March 07, 2011, 07:54:01 PM
By the way, who is Don? Is he like Ath*r or St*ph. I have been around a while, but that name does not ring a bell. Peace....Doug


I believe Mariepr was referring to Don Woodbury at Old Phone Works, who sells the Rotatone. 


thanks Bill....I appreciate it...Doug
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: GG on March 08, 2011, 09:12:14 AM


I know little about desk stands, but what it appears you have there is a nondial WE desk stand base, with a WE 1930s "space saver" dial cup screwed onto the front, plus the clear tube, and probably original WE hookswitch and transmitter. 

I'd call it artistic license, sell it as "parts" (...."if you know how to wire these, find yourself a dial and a receiver..."), and aside from that, not really know what to make of it. 

If it had dial, receiver, and wiring, such that it worked one way or another, then sell it as artistic license and unknown pedigree. 

If that is indeed a "space saver" dial cup mounted to the front of a nondial WE base, then technically that would be a destructive mod.  OTOH, it might also be "making something out of parts when one doesn't have the rest of the parts to finish the project." 

As long as it's not sold in a misleading manner e.g. "original prototype blah blah blah!", I can't find it in me to get all critical of this example.   Others may differ.  I think there's someone missing from this discussion because he'd be sickened by seeing a picture of something he'd consider the congenitally disabled offspring of a deranged mind : - )
Title: Re: FrankenPhone!!!! eBay 170609748405
Post by: Doug Rose on March 08, 2011, 10:39:18 AM


I know little about desk stands, but what it appears you have there is a nondial WE desk stand base, with a WE 1930s "space saver" dial cup screwed onto the front, plus the clear tube, and probably original WE hookswitch and transmitter. 

I'd call it artistic license, sell it as "parts" (...."if you know how to wire these, find yourself a dial and a receiver..."), and aside from that, not really know what to make of it. 

If it had dial, receiver, and wiring, such that it worked one way or another, then sell it as artistic license and unknown pedigree. 

If that is indeed a "space saver" dial cup mounted to the front of a nondial WE base, then technically that would be a destructive mod.  OTOH, it might also be "making something out of parts when one doesn't have the rest of the parts to finish the project." 

As long as it's not sold in a misleading manner e.g. "original prototype blah blah blah!", I can't find it in me to get all critical of this example.   Others may differ.  I think there's someone missing from this discussion because he'd be sickened by seeing a picture of something he'd consider the congenitally disabled offspring of a deranged mind : - )
GG...wow....Kidphone