Author Topic: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones  (Read 34178 times)

Offline Sargeguy

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Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« on: November 29, 2013, 09:58:55 AM »
132 notchless dial plate

132 A:  Common numeric "Rural"  dial plate used on exchanges that used numbers.



132 B: Common alphanumeric "Metropolitan"  dial plate used on exchanges that used a combination of numbers and letters.  These came in both notched and notchless versions.  The notchless had both "Z" and no "Z" versions.



Note that the word "OPERATOR" is straight





132-C:  Uncommon alphanumeric dial plate without any writing around the 0. 

132D: Has "Long Distance" around the "0" in place of "Operator"

132 E: Uncommon-. J, M, R and W were used only when calling from dial phones to manual (non-dial) party lines. The letter indicated the party (2301-J for example). Party letters were not assigned to dial lines.



Note that the word "OPERATOR" is rounded



132 G: Very rare dial of unknown use, has letters and numbers in black.  This is a rare example from Paul V.s estate that features an early fingerstop usually found on Western Electric #1 dials.



D-58439: An uncommon variant of unknown purpose possibly used on small independent exchanges or on PBXs that did not have operators:



« Last Edit: October 22, 2015, 08:26:22 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2013, 10:26:17 AM »
149 Celluloid Dial Plates

These were issued on #4 and early #5 dials.  They featured a painted dial face that was covered with a celluloid coating.  The celluloid coating did not prove to be durable and Western Electric eventually reverted to enamel

149 A:  Common numeric "Rural" dial plate used on exchanges that did not use letters.



149 B: Common alphanumeric "Metropolitan"  dial plate used on exchanges that used a combination of numbers and letters.



This one has II 34 and 149-B stamped on the back.  It also differs from later versions by the odd tab on the back:





Later versions saw the date and model # moved to the front.  This format was used for all dial plates that followed, with the exception of some 6a and 164A plates (see below)

149D:  Similar to 149A but has "LONG DISTANCE" around the 0 in place of "OPERATOR"

149E: JMRW "Party Line" dial plate



149 H: Blank white dial plate used on pay phones in conjunction with a "Daisy Wheel".  This one is stamped "149H" on the back.





Solid Celluloid Dial Plate

Issued in very limited quantities for a short period, these dials did not stand up well to regular usage and were withdrawn





These also came in a J, M, R and W version
« Last Edit: October 22, 2015, 09:24:24 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2013, 10:28:51 AM »
150 dial plates

150 A:  Common numeric "Rural" dial plate used on exchanges that did not use letters.



150 B: Common alphanumeric "Metropolitan"  dial plate used on exchanges that used a combination of numbers and letters.


Later versions did not have the "Z"



150 C:  ???

150 D:  A very rare dial plate found on independent exchanges where that used Western Electric telephones and required you to dial "0" for long distance.


150 E: Uncommon-. J, M, R and W were used only when calling from dial phones to manual (non-dial) party lines. The letter indicated the party (2301-J for example). Party letters were not assigned to dial lines.

150 F:  ???

150 G:  ???

150 H: Blank white dial plate used on pay phones in conjunction with a "Daisy Wheel"

« Last Edit: October 22, 2015, 08:24:18 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2013, 10:34:57 AM »
"6A" dial plates

Found only on early #6 dials these plates feature a dot above the 0.  The date is either stamped on the back or enameled on the front.  They came in both "Z" operator and "No Z" versions.  They look similar to the 164A but lack the holes for a retaining ring and are not compatible with earlier dials.





Earlier version with the "Z"



Later version without the "Z"

164 Dial Plate

164A Common "Universal" dial plate that is backwards compatible with previous dials

164B Blank dial plate used on pay phones





Interestingly LarryinMichigan owns a Connecticut phone with a 6A dial and a dial plate marked 154B.  It has a numeric plate with no "Operator" around the 0:

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=8731.15



164C Black dots only used on 5302



164D White dots only used on beige or green payphones with clear fingerwheels



The Northern Electric version is similar to the Western Electric version except that the numbers are black instead of red. 

« Last Edit: October 22, 2015, 08:28:50 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2013, 08:34:19 PM »
References and acknowledgements

Thanks to poplar1, rdelius, and LarryinMichigan for the help.  I also relied heavily on Phone Man Dave's site: http://www.phonemandave.net/ for a lot of info.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

unbeldi

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2013, 09:30:50 PM »
It would be interesting to discuss the meaning of the dots on the dial plates. Many of the plates have anywhere from 1 to 4 dots before the date or between the quarter and the year, for example, one of your plates is marked IV::53, another ...III 53, yet another ....II46
I keep track of these, but don't have the definitive answer. A quarter only has three months, so what would four dots mean?

A similar marking can be found on the cellulose acetate face plate that was recently for sale on eBay, and that is shown in this thread. The seller remarked that it was unusual to have a date of IIII-34, but he overlooked that it was not actually marked such, but instead was marked III I-34, and I suspect this means Q1 of 34, not Q4.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2013, 01:51:56 PM by unbeldi »

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2013, 10:01:49 PM »
I noticed that as well.  It may be a quality control mark that could refer to the shop, line, stamp, etc.  I also noticed that some plates have a dot over the date, and some have lines before the date.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2013, 10:23:41 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

unbeldi

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2013, 10:36:58 PM »
Celluloid number plate:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/231094997982
Did you know that the person who invented this face plate, also held the patent on the black cellulose acetate number card frames that had paper inserts for the exchange name and little tear-off paper tabs for each digit of the telephone number, which would be glued on a strip and inserted into the frame?

I believe these dial face plates were not made by Western, but outside the Bell System. Perhaps the reason they show up, but are so rare, is that they only were used in field trials 1933-1934 and didn't pass muster.

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2013, 11:16:36 PM »
Since the face plate had slots for the keeper ring, what was the purpose of the dimples?  To me it doesn't seem like they would be there to hold the position of the face plate because of the keeper.
-Bill G

unbeldi

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2013, 12:00:26 AM »
Since the face plate had slots for the keeper ring, what was the purpose of the dimples?  To me it doesn't seem like they would be there to hold the position of the face plate because of the keeper.
The dimples are for maintaining proper clearance from the dial body. The earlier patent had problems with this apparently, which the second one improved upon.

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2013, 12:04:45 AM »
Makes sense, although it seems to me that designing it so that the FP would lie flush on the dial face would be the way to go.  It is amazing how much engineering went into the earlier dials. 
-Bill G

unbeldi

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2013, 12:36:04 AM »
Makes sense, although it seems to me that designing it so that the FP would lie flush on the dial face would be the way to go.  It is amazing how much engineering went into the earlier dials. 
These were designed when #2 dials were still common place and one goal was to prevent dust entering the large open area in the center and to seal the dial as much as possible. Placing the dial face directly on the surface provides the danger of interfering with the rotation of the dial gear, as the patent states, I believe, although the patents never refer to any specific dial type, other than stating that usually there is a cutout notch for the finger stop.

The plate is actually a three-layer design, and the lettering is protected with a layer of clear cellulose acetate. Dipping the whole plate into cellulose acetate solutions is supposed to remove any scratches suffered in use.

Offline brshaffer

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2013, 09:59:47 PM »
Are celluloid dials more or less desirable?  (From a collecting standpoint).  My WE202 came with a 4H and a 149B dial plate.
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Brian

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2013, 10:30:37 PM »
149s in good shape are much harder to find than 150s.  They were made for a shorter period and tended to deteriorate more rapidly.  What shape is yours in?
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Dial plates found on Western Electric Telephones
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2013, 10:45:42 PM »
Found this on a 251.  The phone has a frequency ringer and rubber feet.  Also the fingerwheel was only painted on one side.  I am assuming that it is not a genuine Western Electric dial plate.  The phone has a number card that says "Dial 0 for Long Distance" so this plate would have served the same purpose as a 150-D I guess. 

Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409