Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Talk => Collector's Corner => Topic started by: Dennis Markham on December 02, 2012, 10:11:37 PM

Title: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: Dennis Markham on December 02, 2012, 10:11:37 PM
I was fortunate enough to log onto ebay a week or so ago about five minutes after someone had listed a Model 500H.  We have discussed those models here on the forum a few times over the years.  jsowers posted a copy of a 1954-1955 service booklet that showed the new 500H.  It can be seen here:

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=2249.15


There was some more "mushroom phone' talk in this thread:

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=1217.45

Anyway, this phone had a Buy It Now price of $125 plus the shipping.  I didn't take time to ask any questions, I pushed the button before it disappeared.  The phone arrived very dirty, minus the mounting cord and with a badly damaged handset cord.  The seller is a member of the ATCA and knew how to pack a phone for shipping.  The phone was double boxed and the handset was also given its own box to avoid contact with the body of the phone.

I was very anxious to get started on refurbishing the phone as I knew it had potential.  I started working on this phone this morning about 11:30AM and am just finishing up with this post now, some 9.5 hours later.  I am really excited about how it turned out.  Perhaps you saw my posting asking for wiring help.  Thanks to poplar1 (David Willingham) the 500H from September of 1954 is working beautifully.  I plan to create a web album featuring this phone and will share a link for those that are interested in the early W.E. soft plastic sets.

Attached are the eBay listing photos (not real good but enough to see what it was) and a couple shots of the phone as it looks now.  I had to replace the handset cord but may try and salvage the original.  All dated parts of this phone are from either August or September of 1954.  The straight handset cord that is on it now is dated 1955, just 3 months later.  Since the four conductor mounting cord was gone I robbed one off of a Model 510 (two-line) phone that I had sitting on a shelf.  It is from much later but does the job for now. 

If anyone has a four conductor cord from close to 1954 that you can spare, I'd love to have one for this phone.

Thanks for taking the time to read this lengthy post.
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: AE_Collector on December 03, 2012, 12:13:05 AM
Nice job as usual Dennis!

What fun it is to find a rare phone like this one. Did you put the bug in JJJrick's ear to joint the CRPF? I haven't seen him active on ebaY for some time now.

Terry
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: paul-f on December 03, 2012, 05:28:45 AM
Great find, Dennis.

The 500H was quickly replaced by the 500P, which had a reconfigured switchhook to overcome service limitations, as described in an article in Singing Wires, August 2009.

It's a treat to see it restored to its former glory!
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: Doug Rose on December 03, 2012, 10:10:33 AM
Dennis...just an outstanding refurb. It looks tremendous! You should be very proud of this one....Doug
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: Dennis Markham on December 03, 2012, 11:25:57 AM
Thank you for the comments and compliments.  Doug, I am excited about this phone.  Sometimes the phone Gods smile upon us.  I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time when this one came down the pike.

Paul, thanks for posting the tip on the Singing Wires article.  After reading your post I downloaded that issue of S.W. and enjoyed reading the well written article by you and Russ Cowell. 

Terry, I did not mention the forum to JJJrick.  I thought I'd send him a link to my web album of this phone once it's finished.  However, that could make the price of poker go up next time he has one for sale. :)
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: Dennis Markham on December 04, 2012, 09:51:02 PM
For those interested in the early "Mushroom" phone.  I put together a web album showing some details of the refurbishing of the phone.  It can be viewed here:

https://tinyurl.com/y7uwjvhr

Just click on the first photo and then arrow through each one.  I put captions below them all. 

Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: RotarDad on December 04, 2012, 10:18:49 PM
Awesome phone, Dennis!  Great job on the restoration also.  I didn't know about the thicker finger wheel - very cool!  That phone is definitely a keeper!!  Thanks for all the work putting the album together - another great phone history lesson!
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: JorgeAmely on December 04, 2012, 11:45:06 PM
Dennis, hats off to your sir for another outstanding restoration. It is nice to know that this phone, now in such great condition, will be around to be admired and hopefully used for another sixty years. I sincerely hope that someone in another 60 years will clean it up and keep it going strong as you just did now.

The album is very nice, but I think it needs a final picture of the dial returning to the rest position at 1/2 second exposure. I think you have done this in the past with other mushroom phones.
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: RotarDad on December 05, 2012, 01:33:26 AM
Dennis -  I can give you some input on your handset date coding which may also answer a question I had on my '54 500.  My handset was not date-stamped or so I thought.   I was expecting 9 or 10-54, since my earpiece is 9-17-54, but there was no red date stamp.  After seeing your 500H handset with the small "94" inside, I went back and checked mine.  Sure enough, it also has the small "94" inside - you may be right that this is code for Sept '54.  I wonder if one factory used the ink stamps and another used these 2-digit codes in the early days....
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: Dan on December 05, 2012, 06:15:24 AM
Beautiful work as usual Dennis!!
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: DavePEI on December 05, 2012, 11:24:44 AM
That truly is a thing of beauty!

Dave
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: Nick in Manitou on December 05, 2012, 07:56:01 PM
Dennis, the result is truly stunning!

What do you use to clean everything so well.  I am new to this and worry that outside of soap and water, I might dissolve something if I use the incorrect cleaner.

Even the cloth surface of the wires looks new!  Would you mind revealing your secrets?  I have read threads on this forum about polishing plastic, but what about the other components?  What hints do you have for the newbies amongst us?

I like making old things look new, but I am afraid to experiment with what works and what doesn't.

Excellent and inspiring work.

Thanks,
Nick
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: Dennis Markham on December 05, 2012, 08:59:44 PM
Thank you all for the comments on the 500H.  Jorge I think this is the photo you referred to (attached).  Also is the Ad that gave me the idea to take the photo.  I was going to take a "fresh" photo with this phone and my camera batteries died while I was in the process.  Perhaps I'll give it another try.

Paul, I've seen many with the date engraved into the Bakelite such as this one and then seen many stamped with ink/paint.  Both variations are out there.

Nick, no real secrets.  There have been a lot of posts made here on the forum describing the various cleaning methods that the members use.  All I did with the plastic of this phone was wash it and polish with Novus2.  No sanding or any special solvents.  You want to be careful when using solvents as some, like denatured alcohol will dissolve soft plastic.  As far as the cloth wires, I did spray them with a 409 type cleaner then scrub with a tooth brush, pat dry and then hit it with compressed air.  I really didn't notice a difference immediately but often they will be improved once things dry.  Just experiment and discover what works best for you.  For the brass I like to use Simichrome polish (available at the hardware store and other places).  I used to use Brasso a lot until they changed their formula  few years ago.  It's all just trial and error.  For the Bakelite handset I just used Novus2 and lots of elbow grease.  Others like to use other things on Bakelite but for the most part I just clean and polish and polish and polish.....

Spend some time searching through the forum.  There have been many discussions about cleaning/refurbishing.

By the way, denatured alcohol works great on cords.  Just keep it away from the soft plastic.

Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: LarryInMichigan on December 05, 2012, 10:50:28 PM
Dennis,

Your dialing picture would look better if you got a manicure and some nice red nail polish ;D.


Dennis' secret is that he is a perfectionist, paying close attention to details which people myself ignore for lack of patience. 

Larry
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: Dennis Markham on December 06, 2012, 05:10:43 AM
Ha ha, thanks Larry.  I thought the same thing (about the manicure), or perhaps use a more slender, feminine finger for the photo shoot.

A perfectionist?  I might be at times...it is a curse. :)
Title: Re: Early Western Electric Lighted Set - 500 H
Post by: Doug Rose on December 06, 2012, 12:53:44 PM
Dennis,

Your dialing picture would look better if you got a manicure and some nice red nail polish ;D.

 
Larry
Dennis only does that on Saturday night when he gets all "gussied up." Think Flo from Mel's Diner........ :P