Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Talk => Collector's Corner => Topic started by: Jester on February 28, 2010, 11:48:47 PM

Title: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Jester on February 28, 2010, 11:48:47 PM
Funny how collecting brings about a result that you hadn't considered.  When I got back into picking up new sets, I got the idea that I wanted a set of colored 500's.  I thought "I really like those first eight colors--I want to find those.  I already have a black '50 & three of the hard colors to find.  This shouldn't take too long".  Well, it didn't....but I couldn't stop there!  I was reminded that five more colors were debuted in'57--gotta find those!  Then there was turquoise!  Now I've found out there were at least six colors offered in two-tone & four of the original colors debuted with black dials!  Bottom line, a collector of ALL color variations of early 500 is looking for...drum roll, please...25 different phones!  WHEW!  That's three times more color variants than the 300 series.

Naturally, I'm not anywhere close to this much diversity in all my color phones, but I recently surprised myself with what I have in red 500's.  Pictured below from left to right:

1) red w/ black dial & straight gray cords  10-11, 1954

2) solid red w/ gray cords  4-6, 1955

3) red two-tone  9, 1956(red cover  6, 1959)

4) red Northern Electric  2-9 1957

5) red ABS  4-10, 1959(refurb. with earlier base & "fresh" plastics)
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Dennis Markham on March 01, 2010, 12:06:21 AM
Very nice Jester!  Don't forget a Red soft plastic Western Electric with matching red coiled cord.  And then you need the Red soft plastic Western Electric with a matching red straight cord..............

Beautiful collections of Reds!

~Dennis
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Dan/Panther on March 01, 2010, 12:41:44 AM
I love red, I just wish I could find a Peking Red 500.
D/P
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Jester on March 01, 2010, 12:54:45 AM
Thanks for reminding me, Dennis.  I guess one of those should be '58, since that year isn't represented here. ;)

I thought you might enjoy a little banter on the newcomer--the red two-tone I got from Mark Scola.  I was a little disappointed to discover that this one was probably a "garage conversion".  The reason I believe that is the 9/56 base & network had a 6/53 ringer, 1/53 dial & 3/53 handset assembled to it along with the 6/59 red cover.  I replaced the entire base with a spare 9/56 unit off another colred phone I had.  The dial was replaced w/ a 7D-3 from 8/55, & I used the '53 handset, but replaced the elements with some 9/56 units.  The completed unit is pictured below.
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: McHeath on March 01, 2010, 12:56:54 AM
Fantastic collection of reds!  I really like that you've gathered the major players, and that you can document the early usage of the color red on the 500 is pretty cool.  I never knew that you could get a full red at the same time as a part red, that's an interesting oddity and I wonder what the reason for that was?
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: AtomicEraTom on March 01, 2010, 02:49:29 AM
All those red phones are fantastic!!!  They look so nice together!!
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: jsowers on March 01, 2010, 10:21:19 AM
Fantastic collection of reds!  I really like that you've gathered the major players, and that you can document the early usage of the color red on the 500 is pretty cool.  I never knew that you could get a full red at the same time as a part red, that's an interesting oddity and I wonder what the reason for that was?

McHeath, you could get a two-tone red from about 1953-56. They didn't really ever say why, other than it provided more variety (see my post on the 1954-55 booklet). It may have been cheaper for them to produce since it had a black handset, cords and dial. I would imagine with the economies of scale that black was cheaper because of the sheer quantity produced, but I have no idea if the Bakelite handset was cheaper to produce than the plastic one.

There was also the early red 500 with the only black part being a black dial, but it wasn't available with a full red dial at the same time. I think the reason for that was the color dial faces were made by an outside supplier, (MP Co.) and they may not have been able to keep up with demand when it started. But by early 1955, they could. I'm sure technology played a role in it too, as with the cords being gray on most colors at the beginning. It evolved gradually until almost everything matched somewhere around Spring and Summer, 1956.

Stephen, those are sure some nice reds. You will find the red straight handset cord model is a very hard one to find since it was evidently made for a few months--that same Spring and Summer, 1956. Too bad about the mixed dates on the two-tone. Sort of a Franken-tone.  ;)  I have a couple of those myself. It's very easy to do with leftover parts and impossible to discern from the outside. Yours looks very good. Your Northern Electric soft plastic red is also a hard one to find. Thanks for showing everyone what's possible to collect out there.
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: JorgeAmely on March 01, 2010, 11:05:48 AM
I feel red with envy.  :'( :'( :'(
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Craig T on March 01, 2010, 01:10:35 PM

 :o

Jester that is a great collection you have put together so far. Excellent job of maintaining each one too!
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Dan/Panther on March 02, 2010, 12:08:28 AM
Is there any way to insure that a two tone phone is original ?
D/P
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: JorgeAmely on March 02, 2010, 12:16:58 AM
How much are the tickets to the museum?
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Phonesrfun on March 02, 2010, 12:28:56 AM
Is there any way to insure that a two tone phone is original ?
D/P

Short answer is no.
Long answer is that the Bell System and GTE were both very frugal when it came to making things last and last.  They recycled and refurbished phones like they were going out of style.

The best assurance is that all the dates fall in a tight range, but even that is no guarantee.  Parts could be made a year or even longer ahead of time before being assembled into a phone.  The dates were that of the date the part was made, rather than the date a phone was built.

Often, a part would be swapped out in the field.  A transmitter here, a receiver element there, a handset cord, etc.  So, I do not know of any way to tell if a telephone is the way it was originally installed.  We just have to take em as we get em.

-Bill Geurts
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Jester on March 02, 2010, 12:51:38 AM
Good point, Bill.  If the only item out of place on this red phone had been the cover, it could be that the customer reported a broken cover & telco. sent a tech. to replace it.  Upon seeing it was an installed two-tone, he went to the truck & grabbed a fresh cover--in the same color as the cracked one.  That would have jived with the BSP, too.
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Jester on March 02, 2010, 01:01:09 AM
How much are the tickets to the museum?


Jorge,
All visits are free....provided your policy is the same when I come to visit. ;)
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Phonesrfun on March 02, 2010, 01:04:48 AM
I think next on my list will be a two tone with gray cords.

Something new for a change.

-Bill Geurts
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Doug Rose on March 02, 2010, 09:02:40 AM
Stephen... great phones. Which of the gray cords on red 500 sets is more desirable, the curly or the straight.....thanks....Doug
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: jsowers on March 02, 2010, 09:23:58 AM
I think next on my list will be a two tone with gray cords.

Something new for a change.

-Bill Geurts

Bill, I know I'm splitting hairs, but just to set the record straight, two-tones always had black cords. Look at Jester's red phone with the black handset, cords and dial above. A perfect example.

In the group picture, the phone on the left with the gray cords wasn't called a two-tone in 1954. It was just a red phone. I never thought about it, but those are actually three-tones. Red, black and gray.

It's a common misconception because of the color difference. If I were you, I'd look for a yellow 500 with black dial and gray cords. Oh to be a fly on the wall when they tried to sell that combination to Mrs. McLafferty. How did they explain the three different colors on that phone?

I attached a comparison of reds below, FYI.
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Jester on March 02, 2010, 12:45:22 PM
Doug,

I prefer the straight cord.  Also, a straight, gray corded phone will generally go higher in bidding than the same phone with curly gray cords.  As Jonathan pointed out earlier, the cord to find is a color matching straight handset cord for red.  The same for yellow & moss green.  Straight cords in general give the 500 a unique look that we aren't familiar with.  While they were common on the early black sets, they were less so on the color sets, & customers were happy to pay extra for the optional curly cord when it was an option, making the straight cords even less common.  The one negative to the straight cord--& probably why it went away--is that it's very hard to neatly stow one in a confined space & still be able to use it.  This is something the curly cord did very nicely.
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Dennis Markham on March 02, 2010, 12:54:11 PM
Stephen, you are right about the convenience of the coiled cord vs the straight one.  I often will plug in one of my phones with the straight cord and drape it over the edge of the desk.  But I worry that I'll snag my chair on it as I turn, or some other way and pull it to the floor.  We sure wouldn't want that to happen. 

I wonder how many phones were pulled down by small children back when there were a house-hold item?  Probably a few.

Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Doug Rose on March 02, 2010, 01:00:50 PM
Doug,

I prefer the straight cord.  Also, a straight, gray corded phone will generally go higher in bidding than the same phone with curly gray cords.  As Jonathan pointed out earlier, the cord to find is a color matching straight handset cord for red.  The same for yellow & moss green.  Straight cords in general give the 500 a unique look that we aren't familiar with.  While they were common on the early black sets, they were less so on the color sets, & customers were happy to pay extra for the optional curly cord when it was an option, making the straight cords even less common.  The one negative to the straight cord--& probably why it went away--is that it's very hard to neatly stow one in a confined space & still be able to use it.  This is something the curly cord did very nicely.
Stepen....good info to know.....thanks....Doug
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Doug Rose on March 02, 2010, 01:20:53 PM
I think the gray cords look sharp with the early 500 softplastics, but why weren't they matching color. WE had matching color curly cloth cords in the same time period. Anyone have any insight to this? My 500 set knowledge is sadly lacking....thanks...Doug
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Jester on March 02, 2010, 11:51:26 PM
Doug,
This topic has been discussed before.  I'm sure there is some good information here if you do a topic search of "gray cords".  Off the top of my head, I recall reading or hearing that there was a problem encountered in producing all the colors with the original cord material.  I have never heard what those problems were, but imagine that it had to do with color adhesion and keeping the cord flexible.  WE seemed to have early success with ivory, dark gray, & dark brown in their early vinyl cordage.  Dark Beige came a little later, then the rest of the colors....except for Mediterranean Blue.  As far as I can find, this color retained the dark gray cords until production of it ended in 1957.  Hope this helps.
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: McHeath on March 03, 2010, 12:53:25 AM
In a 1949 press conference Bell System engineers said that the new cords would be jacketed with neoprene, but that tests were still ongoing.  The goal was the reduce the wear and replacement costs of the cords, which is also why they went to a 4 conductor cord and added the grommet. 
Title: Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
Post by: Doug Rose on March 03, 2010, 09:03:16 AM
Doug,
This topic has been discussed before.  I'm sure there is some good information here if you do a topic search of "gray cords".  Off the top of my head, I recall reading or hearing that there was a problem encountered in producing all the colors with the original cord material.  I have never heard what those problems were, but imagine that it had to do with color adhesion and keeping the cord flexible.  WE seemed to have early success with ivory, dark gray, & dark brown in their early vinyl cordage.  Dark Beige came a little later, then the rest of the colors....except for Mediterranean Blue.  As far as I can find, this color retained the dark gray cords until production of it ended in 1957.  Hope this helps.
thanks Stephen......Doug
Title: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on June 10, 2010, 10:05:55 PM
This 500 ended a few minutes ago.  It has an interesting connecting plug.  The price jumped from just over $100 to it's final sale price in the last few seconds.  The dial card looks like a GTE dial card.  The questions are interesting.  Someone was kind enough to offer $90 (with shipping) to end the auction early.  It sold for $355.99

http://tinyurl.com/2fhyesn

Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: LarryInMichigan on June 10, 2010, 10:18:39 PM
I had my eye on that one, but I didn't think that I stood a chance of getting it, so I didn't bother to bid.

Larry
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: McHeath on June 10, 2010, 10:22:18 PM
I was watching it as well.  Ouch it went high.
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: paul-f on June 10, 2010, 10:48:11 PM
Looks like another win by oldphoneguy55. 

He also got a good deal on the Leich/North set...
  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170494678370

and paid a bit more for this one:
  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150450751615
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: JorgeAmely on June 10, 2010, 10:54:54 PM
Paul:

Do you know who this person is (oldphoneguy55)? I would love to see his basement.
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: Dan/Panther on June 10, 2010, 10:59:03 PM
I don't know who it is, but the "Oldphoneguy55" is very familiar.
D/P
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: LarryInMichigan on June 10, 2010, 11:00:05 PM
I just took a quick look at his ebay profile.  He has quite an appetite (and budget) for phone oddities.  Several of the phones that I had been watching apparently ended up on his front porch.

Larry
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: Dennis Markham on June 10, 2010, 11:01:18 PM
He has picked up some nice phones in the past couple of years.  I know someone that might know him....our own jflowres (Kidphone) sold him a phone not too long ago.
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: Dan on June 10, 2010, 11:33:42 PM
It looks exactly like jester's avatar!
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: JimH on June 11, 2010, 12:50:54 AM
I bought one almost identical to this red/black combo about six months ago...I think I only paid $150.  I guess I got a deal!  Only problem is...unlike kids...it's not a tax deduction.
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: jiggerman on June 11, 2010, 06:46:10 AM
Does anyone know around what year this phone was made. Very nice looking. Thanks Jiggerman.
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: LarryInMichigan on June 11, 2010, 07:59:58 AM
Jiggerman,

The picture of the bottom shows a date.  It looks like 5/54.

Larry
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: jsowers on June 11, 2010, 09:13:02 AM
Dennis, I came in fourth. Way down yonder, as they say here in the South. According to the eBay handles list from years ago, oldphoneguy55 is David Shtaida from Wisconsin. Member of ATCA and TCI at that time (2006). Congratulations, David! You got a nice one.

Yes, that phone is from 5-54. It's one of what I call the early black dial models, made mostly in 1954 before they were able to produce red matching dial faces. It's not a two-tone, because those had black handset, dial and cords. This one just has a black dial. The cords are dark gray.

The plug on the end is, I believe, a Cinch-Jones plug. I used to see those plugs on old audio equipment and in old Lafayette catalogs from the 1950s.

What that GTE number card, and an old one at that, is doing on this phone is truly a mystery. I have to wonder if it was put there by the previous owner.

The seller was very wise not to cave to that vulture offer.
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: paul-f on June 11, 2010, 09:58:42 AM
It took several years to sort out the manufacturing issues on all the components of color sets.  Even after full color sets were available, there was a demand for two-tone sets, so they were modified in the distribution houses.  They were in the BSPs and catalogs for years.

For more details, see the May 2009 Singing Wires -- available for viewing here:
  http://www.telephonecollectors.org/singwire/samples.php
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: Doug Rose on June 11, 2010, 10:20:50 AM
He has picked up some nice phones in the past couple of years.  I know someone that might know him....our own jflowres (Kidphone) sold him a phone not too long ago.
David has bought phones from me before. He is on the eBay handles list that Terry made, a member of both clubs....Doug
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: Jim Stettler on June 11, 2010, 02:46:45 PM
I have a bsp that says to order color housings and to switch them onto a black phone for 2-tone sets. 
Jim
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: Dan/Panther on June 11, 2010, 04:32:04 PM
So all that makes them special is the handset cord ?
D/P
Title: Re: Black Dial 500 - Anyone Here Get This?
Post by: Jim Stettler on June 11, 2010, 04:37:00 PM
The early 2-tones were factory sets. these would be the same vintage as early colored sets with black dials
--------------------------------------------------
I am talking about the later 2-tones (black dial, black handset, black cords). The only thing that is special is the colored housing.

 I will try to look up the date of these bsp tonite. I am thinking early to mid 50's.
Jim
Title: Another possible Bell oddity, 500 model
Post by: guitar1580 on December 30, 2010, 12:50:21 PM
I mentioned my odd 5302 with the E  handset in the 5302 thread, and that I wondered if that was installed by the phone co., as opposed to a hobbyist.

Here's a black and white 500 that I found locally, many years ago, and the older woman said that she recalled it being like that when leased from the phone co., back in the day.

The base and ringer are dated 1952, and the white housing appears to be the thick soft plastic, like my older soft black ones..... (not sure what the cutoff date is for soft plastic).  I'm fairly sure it had the black bakelite plungers when I got it, and maybe I robbed them for another 500 project,  not thinking much about it at the time.... (maybe I need to swap them back).

The handset is bakelite, and the dial, microphone, and speaker are dated between '59 to '61, so I'm wondering if this was a white '52 that went in for a rebuild, or maybe an "in home" repair, and got a newer black handset and dial, just because that is what was available.

So, one question I have, was the 500 available in white soft plastic in '52, and if so, what would have been used as a handset?  I guess I'm trying to determine if the white body goes with the original '52 phone.  Are there any telltale signs inside the body?  Any ideas about this 2 tone oddity?

Josh P
(http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh170/guitar1580/033-1.jpg)

(http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh170/guitar1580/034.jpg)
Title: Re: Another possible Bell oddity, 500 model
Post by: HarrySmith on December 30, 2010, 01:00:20 PM
Hey Josh,
Pretty cool looking phone! I like the 5300 with the E handset also. The 500 shell should have a clock like stamp inside with the date in it.
Title: Re: Another possible Bell oddity, 500 model
Post by: LarryInMichigan on December 30, 2010, 01:06:09 PM
Josh,

The first colored 500s were two-tone like yours.  That topic has been mentioned on this forum in the past.  Look at the inside of the shell near the bottom edge of the front.  There should be a date printed there.  If it is from about mid 1959 or earlier, the shell is probably tenite (soft plastic).  Your phone should be valuable.  The handset cord on it does not look original though.

Larry
Title: Re: Another possible Bell oddity, 500 model
Post by: guitar1580 on December 30, 2010, 02:13:08 PM
Ahh, thanks guys. I always wondered if this could be original, but never knew of the 2 tones.  I re-checked inside and the date is there, almost worn off, barely visible with a magnifying glass.  It appears to be '56.

What should I look for concerning the cord?  And am I correct about it having black plungers?
 
JP
Title: Re: Another possible Bell oddity, 500 model
Post by: HarrySmith on December 30, 2010, 02:28:09 PM
The cord restraints will have a date on them, also probably hard to read. An early 50's 500 should have the thick rubber cord on it.
Title: Re: Another possible Bell oddity, 500 model
Post by: Dennis Markham on December 30, 2010, 02:39:15 PM
Josh, it could just be my monitor, but that sure looks like an Ivory housing, not white.  White was made in soft plastic, but not in 1952.  White was released in 1957.  Were you able to find a date inside the housing?f  It's either printed along the front inside edge as Larry said, or the later ones had a circle with the date inside as Harry suggested.  Two-tone sets had clear plungers. 

Check out this posting for a brochure showing the two-tone sets and the "black dial" sets that had handsets matching the housing color.  Only the dial bezel was black.

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=2249.0
Title: Re: Another possible Bell oddity, 500 model
Post by: guitar1580 on December 30, 2010, 03:19:15 PM
Thx Dennis.  That's a great brochure explaining the color schemes.  Mine looks like the one on pg. 8  & 9, "black and a color".

You are correct that mine definitely looks ivory.  I guess I called it white because I thought it had yellowed.  And it is definitely soft plastic.

Housing dated '56, handset '59, base '52.

Thx for the help, I learned something new.
JP
Title: Re: Another possible Bell oddity, 500 model
Post by: rp2813 on January 08, 2011, 01:38:43 AM
The handset cord is definitely the newest component on your phone.  The tapered reinforcement where it enters the handset was used from the mid-60's at the earliest up until everything went modular. 

As mentioned above, there should be a two-digit date stamped into the metal cord restraint at one end.  It might take a magnifying glass and good lighting to see it.
Title: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: RotarDad on January 27, 2011, 10:41:10 PM
I have recently registered and this is my first post.  I have been reading this forum extensively for about a year and have learned a lot!  Thank you!!  Anyway, I just saw this new listing on Ebay - item 280621943258   Is this a Med. Blue with a replacement black dial or a real two-tone?  It's dated 8/54.  The blue looks a little strange also.  I haven't learned how to post a pic yet - perhaps someone can post one.  Thanks.

Paul
Title: Re: Is this a "real" Med Blue two-tone 500?
Post by: HarrySmith on January 27, 2011, 10:52:48 PM
Hi Paul,
Welcome to the forum.
It may be. I have asked for a few more pictures, we will see what the seller says.
Title: Re: Is this a "real" Med Blue two-tone 500?
Post by: RotarDad on January 27, 2011, 11:06:12 PM
Thank you, Harry.  I've been trying to learn as much as I can about the WE500 - that's what I remember as a kid.  With this one, I would think we might want to know what the code is on the back of the dial, and maybe other dates on the plastics - if they are later (like '56) then we'll know it was altered.  Do you know if WE used the "7C-XX" on the two-tone black dials or were they 7D?  Paul
Title: Re: Is this a "real" Med Blue two-tone 500?
Post by: Dennis Markham on January 27, 2011, 11:10:41 PM
It does look like a Mediterranean Blue 500 that has had the dial replaced.  It looks like a #9 dial assembly to me.  I can't really tell.  The finger stop opening looks narrow, which would indicate a #9 dial and bezel.  This color was released with a black dial but I think the handset cord would have been a straight cord, as seen in this booklet.  These "two-tone" and "black dial" sets have been discussed a few times on the forum.  A little searching should reveal more.

Notice that the finger wheels on the originals were black metal.  This one looks like a hard center plastic wheel.  I think that whole dial assembly has been replaced.
Title: Re: Is this a "real" Med Blue two-tone 500?
Post by: RotarDad on January 27, 2011, 11:43:13 PM
Thanks for the additional info, Dennis.  I took another close look at the dial, and I believe you are right.  I don't see that extra part of the dial casting inside the finger stop.  That's too bad - it will be just about impossible to find a replacement blue dial bezel.  Maybe someone will put a 7D in there and keep the two-tone idea.  Paul
Title: Re: Is this a "real" Med Blue two-tone 500?
Post by: JorgeAmely on January 27, 2011, 11:44:03 PM
I think that dial is a 9C. Notice the thin finger stop. Compare it to the stop in the attached picture.
Title: Re: Is this a "real" Med Blue two-tone 500?
Post by: HarrySmith on January 28, 2011, 08:48:27 AM
I got a reply from the seller and he posted 3 more pictures. Definetly Med. Blue on the inside and definetly the wrong dial.
Title: Re: Is this a "real" Med Blue two-tone 500?
Post by: jsowers on January 28, 2011, 09:08:06 AM
To clear up a couple things about this phone...

Coil cords were always an option from 1954-56. So it could have either a straight or coiled handset cord. Either one is correct.

The replacement dial you need is a black 7-type dial from 8-54 with a black metal fingerwheel.

This phone is not considered a two-tone. A two-tone would have a black handset, black dial with metal fingerwheel and black cords with a color housing. The housing is the only part in color on a two-tone. If you want to call it something, call it a "three-tone," since it has a dark blue housing and handset, black dial and dark gray cords. I call it a "black dial model." They were only made this way in 1953-54 and maybe early 1955. The early ads (see Dennis' post) bear this out.

Auction picture posted below, FYI. As you can see, it is also a bit faded and needs both dark gray cords replaced. The coil cord could possibly be repaired, but the seller says "breaks" so it's hard to say.
Title: Re: Is this a "real" Med Blue two-tone 500?
Post by: Doug Rose on January 28, 2011, 09:21:59 AM
To clear up a couple things about this phone...

Coil cords were always an option from 1954-56. So it could have either a straight or coiled handset cord. Either one is correct.

The replacement dial you need is a black 7-type dial from 8-54 with a black metal fingerwheel.

This phone is not considered a two-tone. A two-tone would have a black handset, black dial with metal fingerwheel and black cords with a color housing. The housing is the only part in color on a two-tone. If you want to call it something, call it a "three-tone," since it has a dark blue housing and handset, black dial and dark gray cords. I call it a "black dial model." They were only made this way in 1953-54 and maybe early 1955. The early ads (see Dennis' post) bear this out.

Auction picture posted below, FYI. As you can see, it is also a bit faded and needs both dark gray cords replaced. The coil cord could possibly be repaired, but the seller says "breaks" so it's hard to say.
If you are the lucky winner and need a replacement dial for a two toned. I have a Black  10/54 (close, but not 8/54) that I am ready to trash. Let me know if you need it....Doug
Title: Re: Is this a "real" Med Blue two-tone 500?
Post by: baldopeacock on February 07, 2011, 09:51:50 AM
This one went for around $50, which seems like someone got a deal.   Anyone here?
Title: Re: Is this a "real" Med Blue two-tone 500?
Post by: AE_Collector on February 07, 2011, 10:34:56 AM
This one went for around $50, which seems like someone got a deal.   Anyone here?

The 1st, 2nd & 3rd runners up are easily identified but I have nothing on the winner.

Terry
Title: Re: Is this a "real" Med Blue two-tone 500?
Post by: Jim Stettler on February 07, 2011, 01:49:19 PM
This one went for around $50, which seems like someone got a deal.   Anyone here?

I agree,
It should be worth $50.00 + S&H.

JIm
Title: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Dan on August 29, 2011, 09:56:17 PM
I was hoping this wasn't green. I was right. The sticker removal under the cradle was helpful. I wonder how many of these survived totally unchanged? Cord, housing, everything dates 1955.

http://tinyurl.com/3qjlyja


Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Dennis Markham on August 29, 2011, 10:09:56 PM
Nice phone, Dan.  You should be able to dress it up with some sanding.  When you get some time it would be nice to see some photos under the hood.

Here's the eBay photo.
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: LarryInMichigan on August 29, 2011, 10:16:59 PM
Good catch!  I have been looking for one of those.  Blue is my favorite color. 

Larry
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Dan on August 29, 2011, 10:26:25 PM
Thanks Dennis and Larry. I am a little  affraid of sanding and might try Novus 2 first. Hopefully it is just from a smokers house. I'll get you some post cleaning photos.
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Dan on August 29, 2011, 10:33:38 PM
Good catch!  I have been looking for one of those.  Blue is my favorite color. 

Larry

A nice blue just went for big bucks. The seller thought it was green, too.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/110733470054?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: JorgeAmely on August 30, 2011, 12:07:46 AM
Congratulations Dan. First time I see a real Mediterranean Blue two tone phone. Light sanding is the perfect solution to bring it back.
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Dan on August 30, 2011, 07:23:22 PM
Thanks!!!
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Jester on August 30, 2011, 09:46:15 PM
That is a fine catch, Dan!  I don't know how I missed that auction.  I know you're cautious with the peroxide, but I would consider this shell a candidate for some experimentation.  I'm sure there is something that will "erase" the greenish cast on that plastic.
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Dan on August 30, 2011, 10:56:29 PM
Thanks, I hate to sand because I don't know how to get the shiney finish back. I will try a little auto rubbing compound first . I LOVE novus 2 because it shines them up but fails on discoloration. Peroxide failed me on light blue, and  dark blue is too valuable and risky for me to experiment on.

We'll see how it goes.....
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Brinybay on August 30, 2011, 11:45:17 PM
Thanks, I hate to sand because I don't know how to get the shiney finish back. I will try a little auto rubbing compound first . I LOVE novus 2 because it shines them up but fails on discoloration. Peroxide failed me on light blue, and  dark blue is too valuable and risky for me to experiment on.

We'll see how it goes.....

A lot of work and patience, especially if you're doing it by hand.  Using automotive sandpaper, start with 400, then move up to the next higher grit and sand in the opposite direction to the previous sanding until the lines from the previous sanding are gone, repeat the process up to 2000.  Yes, I agree, there's got to be a better way.  I've only been able to do that once, or rather, was only willing to do it once.  My last sanding project I used a detail sander and automotive rubbing compound and polisher, but it wasn't that bad to begin with and only on the handset.

See this thread: http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=1537.0 (http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=1537.0)
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Dan on August 31, 2011, 06:15:13 AM
Thanks for the info. It'd definately going to be a challenge for me.
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: JorgeAmely on August 31, 2011, 10:31:02 AM
You can send it to a pro also: Dennis or finlover.
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Dennis Markham on August 31, 2011, 09:59:25 PM
You can send it to a pro also: Dennis or finlover.

.....or Jorge Amely.
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Dan on September 01, 2011, 06:57:48 AM
I am going to start on a salmon colored less valuable pink one first for sanding experience. If I ruin it, I will send the blue  along to one of you pros.

If it can look anywhere close to my avatar, I would be happy.
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: LarryInMichigan on September 01, 2011, 08:44:56 AM
Dan,

Use Micro-Mesh sanding sheets.  They will not make scratch marks like most sandpaper.

Larry
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: GG on September 01, 2011, 10:18:37 AM


Or BonAmi kitchen cleanser *without* bleach, and a toothbrush for scrubbing. 

I'd be reluctant to use sand paper.

Also be very very very careful about temperatures: those old WE housings tend to warp easily (speaking from a bad experience once) and heat will do 'em in right quick.  Use cool to mildly warm water only.  Also keep the phone out of direct sunlight once you've completed the restoration. 
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Craig T on September 01, 2011, 09:26:01 PM
Another beauty Dan! You are on quite a roll this year, what a find, good eye!
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Dan on September 02, 2011, 10:29:31 AM
Thanks.  :)
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Tom B on September 02, 2011, 12:44:13 PM
You took a chance there, Dan, but well done. I was watching this and was worried that it was one that might have been botched together
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Dan on September 02, 2011, 02:05:31 PM
Dan,

Use Micro-Mesh sanding sheets.  They will not make scratch marks like most sandpaper.

Larry

I have never heard of these, could you be more specific, like where they can be purchased or what they look like and who makes them? Thanks
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Russ Kirk on September 02, 2011, 04:56:34 PM
I was hoping this wasn't green. I was right. The sticker removal under the cradle was helpful. I wonder how many of these survived totally unchanged? Cord, housing, everything dates 1955.

http://tinyurl.com/3qjlyja


I was wondering if anyone can answer this:

Were these two-tone sets created in the field by the techs or were they factory ordered with USOC and comcode codes?

What is to keep a person today from having two date matching sets - one red and one black - and create two two-tone sets? Certainly they may fetch higher prices.

Here is a photo of a Sept 1955 Oregon Pacific Telephone customer phone catalog advertising the sets for only $6 a month.
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: JorgeAmely on September 02, 2011, 05:24:00 PM
You can send it to a pro also: Dennis or finlover.

.....or Jorge Amely.

Dennis: I am afraid to lose the return address!   ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: paul-f on September 02, 2011, 11:06:30 PM
I was wondering if anyone can answer this:

Were these two-tone sets created in the field by the techs or were they factory ordered with USOC and comcode codes?

Russ,

There are some insights in the cover article from the May 2009 Singing Wires.  A sample copy is downloadable from the TCI site here:

http://www.telephonecollectors.org/singwire/samples/0905swI.pdf
http://www.telephonecollectors.org/singwire/samples/0905swII.pdf

Note that there is a new member special discount of $5 for all who join in September.

http://www.telephonecollectors.org/member/member.htm
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: Russ Kirk on September 03, 2011, 10:27:59 AM
Great and well written article. 

All too often I get the newsletter, read it and file it.  I forgot about this article.

Thanks for the reminder and it answered all my questions. 

 
Title: Re: Got a rare Two-tone!
Post by: paul-f on September 03, 2011, 10:42:53 AM
Thanks, Russ.

There's so much in the back issues, it's impossible to remember it all. 

I read the first few years of Singing Wires when preparing for the 25th anniversary edition and was surprised at the content of some of the earlier issues.  As time permits, I plan to read the entire run - since all the back issues are avaialble to members on the TCI site.
Title: Seeing Red - Model 500's In Red - Black Dial & Two Tone Sets
Post by: Dennis Markham on December 30, 2011, 11:09:50 PM
I recently acquired yet another soft plastic Red 500 to add to my collection.  Listed on eBay, this one caught my attention and appeared to be original to its manufacture date of June 1954.  It has a neutral gray straight handset cord and matching mounting cord.  This set was billed as a full color set back in 1954, despite the fact that the "dial" is black.  The handset is matching, distinguishing it from the "Two-tone" sets that were all black except for the housing.  In a recent discussion about dial card retainer rings, I posted a photo showing this set as it has the nickel/chrome ring.

Seen here:
http://tinyurl.com/7mtkuzq


After I finished refurbishing this phone I decided to take a look at my other Red sets.  I have enjoyed collecting the Red sets that I believe are original and sport the variations of handset cords.  I thought I would post a few photos for the benefit of those that would like to know more about these early soft plastic sets.  All the parts of these sets are how I found them with the exception of two cords that were bad and needed to be replaced.  Some were found with their original number cards.  This latest set had the original card hidden below the Area Code card----a Bonus card.

The first photo is of the phone I posted in the previously mentioned posting.  The phone is dated 6-1954 throughout except for the handset caps which are dated 5-1954.  Consistent with a phone manufactured in June.   I also did a photo album on Google to show some of the steps I went through in refurbishing it.  For those interested, it can be viewed here:

https://tinyurl.com/y8agujua

The second photo shows the Red straight cord, one that is hard to find.  This one is dated June of 1956.  Along side that phone is one that I added the Black straight cord to as the original was badly damaged.  The phone came from Schenectady, NY and is dated 12-1954.

The third photo once again shows my latest set (From June of 1954) along side a "Two-tone" dated two years later, June of 1956.  The coiled cord is a NOS replacement, from 10 years later---1966.

The fourth set of phones shows gray cords, the one on the left----the straight handset cord is dated April of 1955. Along side that phone with the gray coiled cord is an example from June of the same year.

The only set that I did not photograph is the regular old Red set with matching Red coiled cord.

My shelves only hold 5 at a time so I had to stick one of them on a separate shelf.  Time to get more shelves.

Finally, the photo of the booklet, shows the "full color" sets as well as the "two tone" sets. The booklet is a reproduction made by long-time collector and TCI member Russ Cowell.  Russ had these very nice reproduction booklets made from a booklet originally printed by the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company of Virginia.  The original posting about those booklets and their availability can be seen here:

http://tinyurl.com/7d638sn

Although I have begun collections of many different telephones, I probably enjoy collecting the 1950's soft plastic 500 sets the most.  I would love to eventually collect a similar series in all of the original colors.



Title: Re: Seeing Red - Model 500's In Red - Black Dial & Two Tone Sets
Post by: cihensley@aol.com on December 30, 2011, 11:30:02 PM
Very nice phones Dennis.

Chuck
Title: Re: Seeing Red - Model 500's In Red - Black Dial & Two Tone Sets
Post by: GG on December 31, 2011, 03:49:12 AM


Good stuff; I had no idea that WE went through so many versions between the first introduction of color and the "final" version with everything uniformly colored.

There's an old National Geographic article about the Bell System, depicting someone standing in an acoustic room talking on a red 500 with black dial and black or gray straight receiver cord.  When I first saw that I thought it had to be a "workshop model" or something that was put together to use for tests, because I had no idea that it was the production version at the time. 

Germany and some other countries continued to use the black/other-color scheme: for example an orange or green housing & handset, with a black dial & cords. 
Title: Re: Seeing Red - Model 500's In Red - Black Dial & Two Tone Sets
Post by: jsowers on December 31, 2011, 02:15:26 PM
Dennis, your red phones are really great to see and your post is a great history lesson on the difference between two-tone sets and black dial "full color" sets. They had lots of variations on the road to an all-matching phone and those in your pictures are some of the rarest of all soft plastic sets.

They didn't make as many early on as they did in 1957-59 when all the parts matched and the plant was also expanded to increase production. So those early sets are rare birds and not too easy to find.

You do need more shelves! Empty shelves have a way of filling themselves, so good luck finding all the other color variations. And thanks for posting your reds. What color is next? Moss green? Oxford Gray?
Title: Re: Seeing Red - Model 500's In Red - Black Dial & Two Tone Sets
Post by: Doug Rose on December 31, 2011, 02:45:30 PM
Dennis....great display. I'd love to see more of it. Really a eye catcher. The WE ad with the phones is a great visual.

Question on two tone sets. Basically if the dates match, you can build your own. What I am asking is there any link in the markings on your sets that show that black dial was made for the red housing or could it have come out of a different black 500 set with the same dates. I am just trying to learn as to what makes them authentic past the booklet.

More pictures of your phones, please! I love the shelves .........thanks...Doug
Title: Re: Seeing Red - Model 500's In Red - Black Dial & Two Tone Sets
Post by: Dennis Markham on December 31, 2011, 05:10:53 PM
Thank you all for the compliments on my Red phones.

Doug, there are no special markings that I am aware of when it comes to the black-dial sets or the two-tone sets with possibly one exception.  The marking on the back of the 7D dial for a black set is -3 as I'm sure you know.  I read or was told somewhere along the line that all of the two-tones and black dial "color" sets show a marking of -3, because the -3 (Black) is the color of the dial bezel.  I think Paul F mentioned once that there was a color code specifically intended for a factory release of a two-tone set vs a local phone company assembly.  I'm not sure if I remembered that correctly or if there is a BSP on that fact or not.  Paul?

The photo attached to this post is the dial from the first set shown, the "black-dial" color set dated June of 1954.  There is the number "1" or and "I" below the rest of the information.  That MAY be the indication that was spoken about.  The dials I have run across are not normally marked with that digit, although I have seen it before.

There is nothing that keeps someone from cobbling together a black dial set, or the two-tone sets.  That's fine, especially if one wants to display them at home or wherever.  However to me the fun part is finding these sets "in the wild" that I believe were not touched by the refurb shop.  There may have been some handling along the way, like adding the latest dial card to include the Area Code, or maybe a cord replacement after the original was used to the point it caused service problems.

Those shelves are Ikea specials.  They're held on with some pretty good sized lag bolts.  My home is older and the walls are plaster and not drywall.  I don't think the bolts will pull out due to the weight.  I currently have four of those shelves up in this room.   But that is room for only 20 500's.  I need to take some lessons from you Doug to learn how to properly display the rest of my phones.

Thanks again for the comments.
Title: Re: Seeing Red - Model 500's In Red - Black Dial & Two Tone Sets
Post by: paul-f on December 31, 2011, 07:25:00 PM
I think Paul F mentioned once that there was a color code specifically intended for a factory release of a two-tone set vs a local phone company assembly.  I'm not sure if I remembered that correctly or if there is a BSP on that fact or not.  Paul?

The photo attached to this post is the dial from the first set shown, the "black-dial" color set dated June of 1954.  There is the number "1" or and "I" below the rest of the information.  That MAY be the indication that was spoken about.  The dials I have run across are not normally marked with that digit, although I have seen it before.

The BSPs do show two-tone sets coded with the color followed by the letter A (Described with reference here: http://www.paul-f.com/color.htm#WE500).  AFAIK, this applied wherever the set was assembled.

Color codes were occasionally - but not usually - marked on the bottom of the sets.  It's interesting to find them with the marking and matching plastics.

I have also seen the letter I on dials and other components.  I don't recall seeing it in documentation.
Title: Re: Seeing Red - Model 500's In Red - Black Dial & Two Tone Sets
Post by: Dennis Markham on December 31, 2011, 07:49:10 PM
Thank you for that information, Paul.  On the 302's, didn't the "I" indicate Indianapolis?  "S" for Shreveport, "A" for Atlanta, etc.  Maybe it's an "I" on the dial and not a "1".

I have seen sets marked like yours.  I believe Jorge Amely has a Mahogany 500 with the color code 54 on the bottom.
Title: Re: Seeing Red - Model 500's In Red - Black Dial & Two Tone Sets
Post by: paul-f on December 31, 2011, 10:51:12 PM
Indy opened in 1950, Shreveport didn't open until 1967 and I don't believe there ever was a WE plant in Atlanta. (See Western Electric and the Bell System.) and http://www.paul-f.com/Doc/WEdirectory1967.pdf)

There was a Distributing House location in Atlanta, so it's possible the A code (and a few others) on some sets had something to do with where a set was refurbished.  There's a list of Distributing Houses in WE and the Bell System - p 58.  Refurb and repair operations were there.

Most of the components I remember with an I mark were 500-series parts.  As I believe we discussed elsewhere, we've heard stories that parts were initially marked "I" to document the transition from several Chicago plants to Indy, then kept on for several years.  Until we see it in writing, it's just speculation.

Some later dials had a 1 instead.  Any speculations or references on that are welcome!
Title: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: Doug Rose on March 26, 2012, 01:52:05 PM
How do you know this is the real deal without opening it. Clear plungers? This went awfully high in my lack of knowledge 500 set eyes. Educate me...Doug

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170807960129
Title: Re: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: Tom B on March 26, 2012, 02:05:33 PM
Difficult to tell if it is the real thing without taking the lid off, as you say. The year is right for the first 2 tones, the mouthpiece cap on the G1 has no centre hole, the handset cord looks right but there seems to be a refurb stamp (faint) on the base. I would have liked to have seen the date of the shell before I bid on it.
If it's the real deal then $76.55 isn't a bad price.
Title: Re: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: jsowers on March 26, 2012, 04:51:16 PM
It looked all original to me, and in very good condition. I came in second. Jester came in first, so maybe he will post a few pictures when it arrives? No hard feelings, Stephen. All's fair, as they say. You're lucky I didn't bid any higher than I did. It was a nice one, and very early. Maybe the earliest I've ever seen. 10-53 is right at the beginning of production, I think. Has anyone seen anything on a color 500 dated earlier than that?

As far as the plungers go, I think clear plungers are normal since black plungers went with black housings and clear plungers went with color housings. I actually have a two-tone with black plungers, only because someone very early on painted the black housing ivory, but not the plungers.

Anyway, congrats to Stephen on getting this nice phone.
Title: Re: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: JorgeAmely on March 27, 2012, 10:44:06 AM
The handset cord seems shiny, probably a replacement. But the numbers card is priceless!
Title: Re: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: LarryInMichigan on March 27, 2012, 10:57:26 AM
The handset cord does not look fat enough to be 1953 vintage.

Larry
Title: Re: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: Phonesrfun on March 27, 2012, 02:17:03 PM
The handset cord caught my eye too.  Not fat enough, not gray enough and too shiny.  Other than that....
Title: Re: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: Dennis Markham on March 27, 2012, 06:10:31 PM
I'll bet an original cord would have been a straight cord.  Still, looks like a very nice phone find.  Congratulations Jester on adding that phone to your collection.
Title: Re: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: AE_Collector on March 27, 2012, 07:51:46 PM
Time for a picture......
Title: Re: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: JorgeAmely on March 27, 2012, 08:37:19 PM
I am crossing my fingers here because if the handset is just dirty, it should shine like a black piano finish when Stephen is done with it. I would just hit it with Novus 2 for a couple hours until it gets warm to touch under a trusty Ryobi polisher. After that I would treat the leather with Dennis' magic potions and it should look just like out of the box in 1953.

I am betting that it originally had a smooth black rubber handset cord.
Title: Re: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: Doug Rose on March 28, 2012, 09:55:53 AM
My question is still out there, how did you know this the real deal by looking at it and not a homebrew? I know its a 53 and two tones were made in 53, but I could put a green shell from 58 on this and it would like the same. Correct? Not a challenge, but every thinks its the real deal and I can't figure out how you all knew. This to me was a lot of money to gamble on the results....Doug
Title: Re: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: Dennis Markham on March 28, 2012, 10:00:37 AM
Doug, I don't think I ever KNOW one of these is the real deal.  The clues I look for are matching dates.  I consider that dial card...it's old and probably original to the phone.  Does the seller sell phones, or was it listed by someone cleaning out Granny's attic?  Things like that tend to lead one to make a conclusion.  I suspect the handset cord on this one was replaced but otherwise it has all the makings of a phone that was put out in the wild with that configuration.  Sometimes I just take a chance.  I've been disappointed and delighted.  If I get one that I think is the real deal, then it is....in my mind.
Title: Re: Two Toned 500 Set
Post by: Doug Rose on March 29, 2012, 12:49:50 PM
thanks Dennis
Title: Two tone 500's
Post by: Gilas on November 08, 2012, 05:15:31 PM
Recently I was able to purchase a couple two tone 500's.  A red one on Ebay http://tinyurl.com/abz6hfw that has all matching dates of 6/55 throughout and another one that is an ivory color that I has questions about.  The phone is in amazing shape and has dates throughout varying from 12/53 to 2/54.  The housing has a date of 10/53, ringer 12/53, dial 2/54, G1 handset 2/54.  So my question is is this one original as well or likely stuck together?  I thought that it was likely original with the fact that they are late one year and early into the next year but was going to ask the experts.  Either way I love the pieces and thought I got great deals.  BTW the red one looks rough because it has been sanded but no polish yet so bare with me.

Mike
Title: Re: Two tone 500's
Post by: LarryInMichigan on November 08, 2012, 05:20:23 PM
I would guess that they are original.  You got a really great deal.  Don't worry, we won't tease you for having a strange phone ;).

Larry
Title: Re: Two tone 500's
Post by: HarrySmith on November 08, 2012, 07:16:41 PM
Nice looking phones! Early 50's 500's are on top of my list of favorite phones!
They may or may not be original two tones. See color chart from Pauls site, states two tone sets had a color code followed by an A. Also states some black sets were coverted to two tone at the distribution center with color housings but does not have any special code listed. Quote:

Note: Two-tone sets were available for several years in the mid-1950s with colored housings and black handsets and dials.

They used the same color codes with the suffix A.  (e.g. -53A for two-tone red.)

Sets have also been found that have matching shells and handsets, but black dials with metal fingerwheels.

After the MD date, continued demand for 2-tone sets was satisfied by conversion of black sets using colored housings.  Work was performed at the Distribution Centers.


Paul's color chart page:

http://www.paul-f.com/color.htm
Title: Re: Two tone 500's
Post by: Jester on November 10, 2012, 06:39:30 PM
Mike,

The two tones are among my favorite color variations.  The two you have are a great start.  It was over twenty-five years between my first and second two tone set.
Title: Re: Two tone 500's
Post by: HowardPgh on November 16, 2012, 04:30:12 PM
Do the two tone sets always have black dials and handsets and nothing else?
No other color combinations?
Howard
Title: Re: Two tone 500's
Post by: Babybearjs on November 16, 2012, 09:54:41 PM
HEY! now what about the two tone 2500's???? and my "firemans Special" A 2564 thats a two tone....
Title: Re: Two tone 500's
Post by: Jester on November 17, 2012, 12:29:04 AM
Do the two tone sets always have black dials and handsets and nothing else?
No other color combinations?
Howard

Howard,

There are several threads on the forum that discuss this.
Until they are combined, I hope what little I know will help.

1)  All true two-tones had 7D-3 dials & G-1 handsets, with black handset & wall mounting cords.  The handset cords could either be straight or coiled/ curly/ retractile.

2)  Early two-tones were identified w/ the suffix A after the color code ( i.e. 500D-51A= a 500 dial with moss green cover & black everything else).

3)  There are some early "full color" sets that have 7D-3 dials on them.  The explanation I have been given is that the number plates in the matching color were not ready, but the demand for these colors was high, so these few phones were released with black dials.  These colors were limited to -52(Gray), -53(Red), -56(Pastel Yellow), -57(Mediterranian Blue).  Most of these sets were issued with Dark Gray cords, but some actually have color matching cords.

4)  While the earliest two-tones are factory assemblies with the suffix A designator, there is a BSP that notes that, after 3/ 55, two-tone sets ordered by the customer can be assembled in the field by ordering a Black 500/D, and the desired colored cover, which would be changed when the set was installed.
Title: Re: Two tone 500's
Post by: AE_Collector on November 17, 2012, 01:05:26 AM

There are several threads on the forum that discuss this.
Until they are combined, I hope what little I know will help.

Sounds like some of my activities here on the forum have been discovered!  "Combining"

I have been doing quite a bit of organizing & combining of threads. Mostly with Dennis's approval I think. There is a wealth of information on the forum but it isn't always easy to find. I am slowly seeking out topics to merge together that are full of great info on individual telephone topics. Then in many cases I pin them to the top of the board that they are on so they become the go to place for information.

I hadn't thought of a two-tone thread until Jester mentioned it so here is a start. If I find more I will add that as well.

I hope that everyone is okay with me doing this. Comments are most welcome.

Terry


Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: AE_Collector on November 17, 2012, 12:04:23 PM
My question is still out there, how did you know this the real deal by looking at it and not a homebrew?

IMHO, a homebrew two-tone is most likely going to be made with a much too new black 500 set as most people wouldn't know that it needs to have all the old 1950's parts to be "real". Sure, a knowledgable person could create one from all correc dated parts and then it would pretty much be real since they didn't have to be coded properly to be lugitimate as some were lugitimately created right in the field.

Most of us can quickly spot a 500 type phone that has the potential to be from the 1950's so if it is two-tone, you are going to have to use your skills to determine the liklihood that it is "real" and then take a leap of faith when it comes to bidding.

If a phone went back for refurbishing which is where most often they became a mixture of different dated parts, it didn't likely come back out of that process as a two-tone! By the time that large numbers of 500's were being refurbed, two-tone was a thing of the past.

It looked all original to me, and in very good condition. I came in second. Jester came in first

That's another way to tell...wait and see if Jester buys it!

Terry
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: DavePEI on November 17, 2012, 12:59:09 PM
To change the topic away from purely WE phones. One of the items in my collection is an AE Brockville, Ont. matchbook advertising a two tone AE80! I remember seeing these matchbooks discarded in the gutters when they had been used up when I was young, and I lucked into one in really good shape (minus matches) years later...

Dave
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: AE_Collector on November 17, 2012, 01:48:12 PM
Yes just like the WECo 500's, AE did initially offer two tone 80's as well. It is probably even more difficult to substantiate its authenticity as a two tone since AE didn't date much of anything on its phones. I have seen a couple of two tone AE 80's on ebaY in the past and they don't go for much money typically.

Terry
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: poplar1 on November 17, 2012, 04:18:50 PM
In a Dec.,1953 practice, all 8 original colored 500s are listed, but only 4 Two-Tones:

 
                  DASH NUMBERS FOR FULL COLORED SETS
                                          Dial
Dash No.  Housing    No. Plate  Finger Wheel  Apparatus Blank* Handset  Cord

-50          Ivory        Ivory        Lucite            Ivory                  Ivory      Ivory
-51          Green       Green       Lucite            Green                 Green     Gray
-52          Gray         Black        Black             Gray                  Gray       Gray
-53          Red          Black        Black             Red                    Red        Gray
-54          Brown      Brown       Lucite            Brown                 Brown    Brown
-55          Beige       Beige        Lucite             Beige                 Beige      Gray
-56          Yellow      Black        Black              Yellow                Yellow     Gray
-57          Blue         Black        Black              Blue                   Blue       Gray

* No. card frame--chrome--all masks match set color.

           DASH NUMBERS FOR TWO-TONE COLORED SETS
                                        Dial
Dash No. Housing   No. Plate   Finger Wheel  Apparatus Blank** Handset    Cord  

-50A       Ivory                            
-51A       Green       -------------------ALL BLACK----------------------------------
-52A       Gray
-53A       Red  

** No. card frame--black--no mask  

from Bell System Practices, Customer Equipment Series, Telephone Sets---500 Series, Use and Type, T.726.020, Issue 1, December, 1953, Sample Practice.
 
Note that in the "full colored sets," only ivory, brown, and gray had matching cords, and only ivory, green, brown and beige had matching number plates.

The 4 new colors weren't yet offered in Two-Tone as of December, 1953.

However, at this point there was not a lack of green or ivory number plates; so this was not the reason for continuing to offer two-tone green and ivory sets with black dials.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: AE40FAN on November 27, 2012, 08:22:03 PM
Won this on Ebay for 50 bucks including shipping.  It was a BIN and withe impulse I accepted not realizing the seller has 0 feedback and this is the first item they sold!!  I sent a couple messages pleading that they please package it carefully and never received a reply they just shipped it.  I pray it arrives safely.  I believe this may be an original two tone black and yellow from 1956.  It has a straight handset cord.  Was two tone actually offered in yellow?
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Dennis Markham on November 27, 2012, 08:26:17 PM
Any chance you could post the eBay link?
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: AE40FAN on November 27, 2012, 09:52:44 PM
http://www.ebay.com/itm/200853232928?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2648


I know it's a long link I'm sure if I spent more time I could figure out how to shorten it...  You think 50 bucks is a good deal on a two tone? 
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: AE_Collector on November 27, 2012, 09:56:54 PM
The link could be shorter but it isn't one of the ones that wrap over three lines! Cut off the ? and everything after it in this example.

$50 seems quite reasonable to me for it if it turns out to be an original two-tone which I think it will.

Terry
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Gilas on November 27, 2012, 10:07:02 PM
I saw that listed and talked to him a bit. I asked him if there were numbers in the housing that would show a soft plastic and he couldn't find any. Hopefully he was wrong and you got one.   Let us know and crossing my fingers for ya

Mike
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: AE40FAN on November 28, 2012, 06:24:52 PM
Well, gambling has never been my thing.  All dates match 1956 with the exception of the yellow housing which is from 1972.  I knew as soon as I touched it that it wasn't soft plastic.  Oh well, parts phone it is.  Interesting that the yellow housing is from 1972 and the bell systems logo is still square not rounded.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Tom B on November 28, 2012, 06:40:40 PM
Tough luck with that one - that's the trouble with buying online without having the chance to examine the piece hands on. Better luck next time.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: AE_Collector on November 28, 2012, 08:11:34 PM
It still will display well while you collect other colored two-tones!

Terry
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: LarryInMichigan on November 28, 2012, 08:40:00 PM
From the listing pictures, it appeared that the shell was thinner than a soft plastic shell.

Larry
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: AE40FAN on November 29, 2012, 06:23:13 AM
Actually Terry, for some reason it just doesn't look right.  I can't even salvage the straight handset cord as there is a really bad break that goes almost all the way through!  On a positive note I just snagged what seems to be a NOS 1962 all matching dates white (no fade) 500 for 35 bucks including shipping.  Only damage is some rust on one of the feet.   
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: baldopeacock on July 24, 2013, 12:31:50 PM
This thread documents at least one early 500 in red with a black dial, but with red handset.

Does anyone know if any of the other colors went out with just a black dial?   I think I've seen one Oxford Gray mentioned here before, possibly.   Has anyone seen a Mediterranean Blue with black dial, but a blue handset?
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Dennis Markham on July 24, 2013, 12:38:29 PM
There has been a lot written on the "two-tone" sets and the "black-dial" sets.  Check out one of those links here:

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


You will see pages from a booklet illustrating those phones.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: jsowers on July 24, 2013, 02:43:39 PM
This thread documents at least one early 500 in red with a black dial, but with red handset.

Does anyone know if any of the other colors went out with just a black dial?   I think I've seen one Oxford Gray mentioned here before, possibly.   Has anyone seen a Mediterranean Blue with black dial, but a blue handset?

The first "full color" sets in red, yellow, dark blue and dark gray had black dials. They also had dark gray cords and color housings and handsets. There were actually three tones if you count the cords. This was the case until very early 1955 when the dials started matching for all "full color" sets.

In case you didn't see it in the link Dennis posted, here is the first page of that thread with the sets you mentioned.

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=2249.0 (http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=2249.0)

Farther down on the page you can see what were called "two-tone" sets and they have black handsets, cords and dials, with color housings only.

I hope this clears up the confusion. You're not the only one who has questions about these early phones. They're not easy to find and to the untrained eye they look like someone replaced the dial with a black one.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: JorgeAmely on July 26, 2013, 10:39:32 AM
... snip ...   I think I've seen one Oxford Gray mentioned here before, possibly. ... snip ...

This one perhaps ...?
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Doug Rose on July 26, 2013, 04:22:12 PM
breath taking!
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Doug Rose on July 26, 2013, 04:24:02 PM
On the two tones, I had a two tone brown 500 set that I sold awhile back. I do not see it on any of these lists. Was it not really a two tone. Went for a good chuck of change....Doug
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: poplar1 on July 26, 2013, 04:52:31 PM
... snip ...   I think I've seen one Oxford Gray mentioned here before, possibly. ... snip ...

This one perhaps ...?


If I am reading this right, the gray 500 shown above is not a 2-tone, but rather a "full color" gray 500 manufactured before gray number plates were available; this is why it has a black dial but the housing, handset and cords are gray.

A 2-tone set is all black except for the housing. The handset, cords and dial are all black.

Is this correct?
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: paul-f on July 26, 2013, 08:50:11 PM
Yes.  For more background, including a BSP extract showing the full color sets with black dials, please read the May 2009 issue of Singing Wires.  TCI members can find it in the Members' Area on the club site.

It is also offered as a "free sample" to all at this address.

   http://www.telephonecollectors.org/JournalsSamples/samples.htm (http://www.telephonecollectors.org/JournalsSamples/samples.htm)

Note that the Issue and Bonus pages (with additional background) are separate downloads.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Spanish_phones on November 29, 2013, 04:50:58 AM
I wanted to see the effect of a two-tone 500 at home, and this is the result:

The first, really awesome!
The second, really awful!

As I have achieved, almost everone could have a two-tone 500, you only need to buy a black dial 500 and a color case, it's really cool for me!

Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: G-Man on November 29, 2013, 05:48:13 AM
The number card with the 702 area code and Centel logo on the second telephone shows that it was used in an area near Las Vegas.

I have several instruments with Centel number cards that were used at the Atomic Energy Commissionís atomic test site in southeastern Nye County, Nevada, about 65 miles from Las Vegas.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Spanish_phones on November 29, 2013, 07:21:26 AM
The number card with the 702 area code and Centel logo on the second telephone shows that it was used in an area near Las Vegas.

I have several instruments with Centel number cards that were used at the Atomic Energy Commissionís atomic test site in southeastern Nye County, Nevada, about 65 miles from Las Vegas.



Thank you for the info! I have no idea about area codes in USA, I only noticed Centel cards were only a few, it's not usual to see Centel dial cards.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Contempra on November 29, 2013, 08:49:37 AM
Nice 2 tones for those who like that ;)...
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: TelePlay on November 29, 2013, 09:38:03 AM
The number card with the 702 area code and Centel logo on the second telephone shows that it was used in an area near Las Vegas.

G-Man, do you know anything about why it's only a three digit phone number (121)?
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Spanish_phones on November 29, 2013, 08:40:02 PM
Nice 2 tones for those who like that ;)...

Mines aren't two tone 500s, they're only black one and red the other, and I changed the cases just for the effect and making the photo ;)
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: poplar1 on November 29, 2013, 09:12:35 PM
The number card with the 702 area code and Centel logo on the second telephone shows that it was used in an area near Las Vegas.

G-Man, do you know anything about why it's only a three digit phone number (121)?

Most likely it was used on a PBX--in a hotel or a business-- and 121 was its assigned number. You could dial a 3-digit number to reach another extension, 9 for an outside line, or 0 to reach the receptionist/switchboard attendant.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: WEBellSystemChristian on November 30, 2013, 12:27:08 AM
Ya know what? I kinda like the two-tones, and I think I'll make one. If I have an extra early soft WE black parts phone lying around, and an early WE colored shell, I could make a really beautiful, interesting phone, and I would be using parts from my parts shelf (like WE did to make those phones in the first place).
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: andre_janew on December 01, 2014, 05:31:10 PM
What about black and sea foam green?  How do these phones look to you?
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: paul-f on December 01, 2014, 05:51:28 PM
Blurred.
 
The colors aren't bad.  They would liven up a display shelf of largely black phones.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Doug Rose on December 01, 2014, 06:16:00 PM
Looks like someone made a couple of two tone sets from a green and a black. Dates?.....Doug
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: JimH on December 01, 2014, 11:50:10 PM
IMO, worth much more switched back correctly.  I've seen the green sets go for quite a bit.

Jim
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: andre_janew on December 12, 2014, 08:35:15 PM
I have a sea foam green Kellogg ITT 500 phone made in 1966 and a black 1962 WE 500C.  They are now all black and all green now.  In their two tone form they were also Kellogg/Western Electric hybrids.   
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: andre_janew on February 02, 2015, 06:31:06 PM
Here's yet another two-tone phone.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: CanadianGuy on February 03, 2015, 01:57:16 AM
Sorry if this doesn't belong here. I found an ad with a two-tone phone, but it is a Northern Electric. I don't know anything about what to look for, nor do I really want it, just want to see what you all have to say about it. Thanks :)
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: WEBellSystemChristian on February 03, 2015, 08:20:11 AM
It looks like an orange ITT or Stromberg-Carlson 500 shell and handset caps that were put on a Northern Electric black 500 chassis. Definitely not original, but a lot of phones are customized this way.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: andre_janew on March 29, 2015, 12:30:58 PM
Here are a few pictures of a beige and black phone I picked up at a yard sale recently for $5.  Notice the 10-80 sticker on the bottom.  Yes, it is a modular phone.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: TelePlay on March 29, 2015, 05:30:08 PM
What are the dates inside, the housing, ringer, dial, handset, elements, cord restraints, etc. That 10-80 looks like a refurb date sticker.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: WEBellSystemChristian on March 29, 2015, 07:29:02 PM
It looks like it was a late-fifties to early sixties WE 500 chassis with the original dial, and then it was converted to modular (with a new housing, cords, and handset) in October, 1980.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: andre_janew on March 30, 2015, 12:31:06 PM
I haven't checked the dates inside yet, but I think Christian could be right!
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: andre_janew on April 01, 2015, 05:03:06 PM
I have checked the dates inside.  The results can be found here:

www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=13775.0 (http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=13775.0)
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: WEBellSystemChristian on April 01, 2015, 08:13:49 PM
I just finished up a project (one of many) that I've been working on for the past few months now. It's a 1954 500 with a black dial and handset, and a soft plastic ivory housing that was covered in paint. The paint was factory-done, but it wasn't Polane, so it was removable with Easy Off.

Only problem is, the paint didn't come off as easily as I thought it would. It took me several months (on and off) to remove the paint! What I ended up with was a housing that had a leathery, snakeskin-looking finish to it; the EasyOff had actually carved tiny 'veins' all over the finish!!! Layers of plastic were also peeling off all over the place, it was a mess! After I got all of the paint off, I pretty much gave up on the project, and tossed the housing into my parts stash. Only recently, after reading up on this thread, I had the inspiration to revive the project.

It took me most of the weekend and a huge chunk of the week after school to sand the housing down with 180 grit sandpaper, followed by 400, 2000, and then compound. The results are better than I had hoped for!

Most of the parts dates on this are from around late 1953 to mid-'54. I'm not sure about the housing date, because it was covered in overspray, and when I tried removing the paint, the stamp must have come off with it! I know for a fact that it's soft plastic (strong smell, dull thud when I tap on it), I just don't know if it's from '54 or not. Nonetheless, I'm proud of myself for finally getting this done!
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Kenton K on April 01, 2015, 08:15:11 PM
Looks good! What date is the shell?

KK
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: WEBellSystemChristian on April 01, 2015, 08:22:00 PM
Looks good! What date is the shell?

KK
Thanks!

I wish I knew. Paint covered the original date, and whenever I try to remove the paint, the stamp must come off with the paint. For now, I'm just assuming it's an original '54, although I have no evidence behind that.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: WEBellSystemChristian on April 01, 2015, 08:41:59 PM
Here's what it looked like after EasyOff. You can see some flaking plastic on the rear of the cradle.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: poplar1 on July 20, 2015, 06:48:22 AM
Here's one 500DR-53 that left the factory -- or at least the distributing house -- as a true red two-tone.
The color code -53A is marked on the base!

Is it possible that in 1953, the only "color" 500s were these two-tone ivory (-50A), green (-51A), gray (-52A) and red (-53A)?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-TWO-TONE-RED-BLACK-BELL-500-ROTARY-DIAL-DESK-PHONE-TELEPHONE-/231617849924

(Click on "see original listing" to see additional photos.) Sold for $588.88.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: TelePlay on July 20, 2015, 07:02:16 AM
Sold for $588.88.

And another example of a high value phone listed at $15 in a10 day auction rising to only $37 in 9 days before dramatically rising to $600 in the last 10 seconds of the auction.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: unbeldi on July 30, 2015, 09:05:14 PM
Is it possible that in 1953, the only "color" 500s were these two-tone ivory (-50A), green (-51A), gray (-52A) and red (-53A)?


Seems like a distinct possibility.
Swap in a new housing on top of those black sets and add that stamp (ó53A).
Prompto, there is a "color" phone, like a 10-minute oil change.

I still don't believe they actually installed any in 1953.  This is stamped Dec, so not likely that it got installed that month.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: andre_janew on July 31, 2015, 05:52:13 PM
At the earliest, it probably got installed in January of 1954.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Jim Stettler on July 31, 2015, 08:39:35 PM
After they were able to produce the full range of colored sets, they quit making two-tone sets. The 2-tones  were still offered but the installer was to order the proper color housing and swap it onto a black set and send the black housing back to the  storeroom (per a BSP).

So if all the dates on your 2-tone match (except for housing) there is a good chance it is official. I  suspect that the colored housing may have an earlier date stamp from the current black set. Current (date) colored housings probably ran off the line as complete colored phones, whereas a colored housing that was ordered probably came out of warehouse stock.


Just a few thoughts,
Jim S.
Early colored sets with black dials are NOT 2 tone, they were current production colored sets.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Jester on January 01, 2018, 01:25:30 AM
I thought a few of you would enjoy some additional pics on this topic.  These have been "in situe" the last few years here, so I spent the last week putting some tlc into them.  These are all full color sets that, at the very least, I swapped a black dial for colored one.  My reasoning was simple-- I had the parts on hand to do it and these will look great in the display case next to the complete full color sets I have in there. All the removed parts will be cleaned, adjusted and stored for eventual replacement on their respective chassis, should I decide to let them go.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Pourme on January 01, 2018, 10:32:02 AM
~

Jester

I have some parts on the bench that I have been considering to do the same thing. After all they can be put back to the original configuration if I want to at a future date...Those look nice

Benny
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: jsowers on January 01, 2018, 11:18:42 AM
Nice re-creations, Jester. The one on the left is a yellow one, isn't it? I can't quite tell, but yellow would have dark gray cords and a black dial in 1954 like you have, so I wanted everyone to know what color it is. The only real two-tone in your grouping is the green one. The other two, yellow and dark blue, are still considered full color sets since they have color handsets, and that's amazing considering the yellow one had three colors going on. Be sure to tell your holiday guests all that and watch them glaze over.  ::)  I'm sure you know already, sometimes the details we love are not interesting to non-collectors.

My aunt was talking about my uncle Don this past Christmas and the suit of clothes including an overcoat he got when he first started working for Southern Bell in late 1954. Imagine--he was there for the first color phones and then retired right at divestiture. I wish I had talked to him more about his work. He died in 1994. His overcoat exactly fits his tall grandson, who took it home with him as a memory of "papa Don."
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Jim Stettler on January 01, 2018, 12:20:09 PM
For those interested. Here is some links to two-tone info posted to  the forum in the past.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is an old thread with some BSP scans of colored and 2-tone telephone info.


http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=1886.msg25064#msg25064

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is another thread that includes early and 2-tone sets.
Gray cords Straight vs coiled

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=1863.90



Jim S.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: Jester on January 01, 2018, 12:38:04 PM
Let me rephrase, Jonathan.  I'm sure, because of the dates on these three phones, that all of them were assembled with color matching dials.  I included the yellow and blue sets in that post because I didn't remember where to find the thread on black dial color sets.  Also, I thought they look great together.  On the blue phone, it actually came to me with a white 9CA dial.  As fortune would have it, the rest of it had dates of 12/55 and 1/56, and one of the spare #7 dials I bought in a lot is a marked 7C 57 with dial plate, dated 11/55.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: WEBellSystemChristian on January 01, 2018, 01:44:41 PM
Great phones, Jester!

My jaw nearly dropped to the floor when I saw the Yellow black dial set, but then noticed that you said you built it. I have the only one that I know of, but it came to me from another forum member without the dial or cords--the only parts that make it special. The plastics are dated 1953 (or 1954, I'll have to check), so it was undoubtedly a black dial set originally.

I don't recall ever seeing a black dial-specific topic, so this one will do for pictures of those.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: AL_as_needed on January 01, 2018, 03:32:54 PM
First time I have seen/read this topic, and Im glad I did. I always knew about the early two-tone sets and to be honest didnt pay them much mind. Seeing better pictures of them and after reading up on the subject, they are rather nice sets. Granter they are out of my budget for collecting  ::), may need to make a faux set to round out my ranks.
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: andre_janew on June 16, 2019, 06:45:19 PM
Many two-tone sets were created by individuals rather than Western Electric.  This is a red and black manual set I created:
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: andre_janew on June 17, 2019, 05:34:38 PM
Here is a sea foam green and black manual set:
Title: Re: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
Post by: andre_janew on June 17, 2019, 05:39:57 PM
Here is a sea foam green and red manual set: