Author Topic: American Electric wall phone  (Read 13922 times)

Offline 1930

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American Electric wall phone
« on: February 26, 2014, 06:10:19 PM »
Hi guys, I picked this up over the last weekend after a long time search for a reasonably priced unit. I would like to know anything anyone would be willing to tell me about it as long as value isnt part of the subject. I like and collect old things cause I like them and am not interested in value.

I have since purchase been in contact with a phone expert and he said ...........What you have is an American Electric wall phone. Looks to be all original from what I can see. It has the A.E. badge transmitter arm and badge name tag. That tag was used on most all of the phones that A.E. put out. It also has the hard to find round bar American Electric magneto and correct receiver. The date of manufacture might be on the paper label on the inside of the door, but I think it came out in the early 1900's. It's hard to put an exact date on any phone. In the early days of telephony the phones were made more ornately, but as the years went on they started to become more and more plain. The one you have is called a pfpt, (plain front, plain top) phone......................

I dont know what a badge transmitter arm is, he mentioned ( unless I misunderstood ) that the phone was likely manufactured prior to 29 cause during that time Western Electric was bought out and the name badges would have changed??

I would like to first pinpoint to the best of my ability date of manufacture, I would think there would be some way of narrowing things down a bit at least. I am interested in any company history, computers are not my strong point and doing google searches havent rendered me a whole lot.

My ultimate goal with the phone is too make it a worker without modifying the phone in any way if possible. I like original stuff. If that cannot be accomplished than it will hang on the wall as is.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 10:39:49 PM by Sargeguy »
My name is Jason Anderson, I am an avid collector of early Dodge Brother/ Graham Brother car/ Truck literature. Have anything to trade or sell?

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Western Electric wall phone
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2014, 07:21:28 PM »
The badge refers to the badge/shield shape at the base of the arm that holds the transmitter.  American Electric became Automatic Electric about 1920 I think.  This phone looks like it dates from about 1908-1915.  I do not know that much about AE phones but I think this phone can be used either as a "Common Battery" or "Local Battery Type" depending upon how it is wired.  It should not be possible to get it working.  Do you have any more pictures of the phones interior wiring?
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline 1930

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Re: Western Electric wall phone
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 05:43:29 AM »
The badge refers to the badge/shield shape at the base of the arm that holds the transmitter.  American Electric became Automatic Electric about 1920 I think.  This phone looks like it dates from about 1908-1915.  I do not know that much about AE phones but I think this phone can be used either as a "Common Battery" or "Local Battery Type" depending upon how it is wired.  It should not be possible to get it working.  Do you have any more pictures of the phones interior wiring?
Yes, I can post as many pictures as needed, any suggestions though on where I can find company history? I would like to date the phone closer and more definitively before I consider working toward the possibility of making it operational.

You say it should not be possible to get it working and thats OK, I was told it prob. would not be that big a deal from another guy but again I would like to learn more about the company history and am assuming thats not lost history.

Doing a search on this forum and google for Western Electric wall phone is giving me many results,  plastic phones and all sorts of un-related stuff.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 05:47:31 AM by 1930 »
My name is Jason Anderson, I am an avid collector of early Dodge Brother/ Graham Brother car/ Truck literature. Have anything to trade or sell?

Offline G-Man

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Re: Western Electric wall phone
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2014, 06:50:29 AM »
The badge refers to the badge/shield shape at the base of the arm that holds the transmitter.  American Electric became Automatic Electric about 1920 I think.  This phone looks like it dates from about 1908-1915.  I do not know that much about AE phones but I think this phone can be used either as a "Common Battery" or "Local Battery Type" depending upon how it is wired.  It should not be possible to get it working.  Do you have any more pictures of the phones interior wiring?
Yes, I can post as many pictures as needed, any suggestions though on where I can find company history? I would like to date the phone closer and more definitively before I consider working toward the possibility of making it operational.

You say it should not be possible to get it working and thats OK, I was told it prob. would not be that big a deal from another guy but again I would like to learn more about the company history and am assuming thats not lost history.

Doing a search on this forum and google for Western Electric wall phone is giving me many results,  plastic phones and all sorts of un-related stuff.

Your instruments predates both American Electric catalogs in the TCI Library. One was issued in 1929 and the other is undated but appears as if it was printed a few years earlier. However similar sets that are shown in both of them have concealed bells and the 1929 catalog has a bulldog transmitter.

And of course, Western Electric had nothing to do with your set and in order to avoid confusion, even though Automatic Electric eventually took American Electric over, it would be more appropriate to not refer to Am. Elec. by the A.E. initials since most collectors associate them with Automatic Electric.

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Western Electric wall phone
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 08:04:02 AM »
I'm sorry, I meant that it should be possible to get it working, I had edited it from "not too difficult" and left the "not" in.  (I have to stop posting using my iPhone, it gets me into trouble).  DO the bells ring when you turn the magneto handle? 

It can be tricky to narrow down wood wall phones to an exact date, especially without catalogs or advertisements to refer to.  Sometimes the best you can do is the right decade.  Are there any patent dates on any of the parts?  If you add 17 to the earliest and latest patent dates that can give you the range.  For example if you had a date of 1892 on the magneto and a date of 1904 on the hookswitch, the range of your instrument would be 1904-1909.  Another method is to search old issues of Telephony and Telephone Journal on Google Books for ads featuring your phone.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 08:05:38 AM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline G-Man

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Re: Western Electric wall phone
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2014, 08:18:47 AM »
The badge refers to the badge/shield shape at the base of the arm that holds the transmitter.  American Electric became Automatic Electric about 1920 I think.  This phone looks like it dates from about 1908-1915.  I do not know that much about AE phones but I think this phone can be used either as a "Common Battery" or "Local Battery Type" depending upon how it is wired.  It should not be possible to get it working.  Do you have any more pictures of the phones interior wiring?
Yes, I can post as many pictures as needed, any suggestions though on where I can find company history? I would like to date the phone closer and more definitively before I consider working toward the possibility of making it operational.

You say it should not be possible to get it working and thats OK, I was told it prob. would not be that big a deal from another guy but again I would like to learn more about the company history and am assuming thats not lost history.

Doing a search on this forum and google for Western Electric wall phone is giving me many results,  plastic phones and all sorts of un-related stuff.

I would rely on Greg since he is more knowledgeable about instruments in this category so if he is stumped and no-one else steps up to the plate, then his suggestion regarding online research is best.

 Another option is to ask around on some of the other telephone collecting list.

But either way please don’t include “Western Electric” in the search string.


Offline Sargeguy

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Re: American Electric wall phone
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 10:40:56 PM »
Quote
But either way please don’t include “Western Electric” in the search string.

I changed the title of the topic.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline stub

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Re: American Electric wall phone
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2014, 01:29:39 AM »
1930,
        Welcome to the Forum. SWEET find!!!!!!! I don't have any info to date this phone but you could look at the insides of the transmitter, sometimes they were stamped. By all means post inside pics of this phone!! stub
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 01:43:46 AM by stub »
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Offline 1930

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Re: American Electric wall phone
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2014, 05:38:45 AM »
Your instruments predates both American Electric catalogs in the TCI Library. One was issued in 1929 and the other is undated but appears as if it was printed a few years earlier. However similar sets that are shown in both of them have concealed bells and the 1929 catalog has a bulldog transmitter.

And of course, Western Electric had nothing to do with your set and in order to avoid confusion, even though Automatic Electric eventually took American Electric over, it would be more appropriate to not refer to Am. Elec. by the A.E. initials since most collectors associate them with Automatic Electric.


Thanks G-man, can you tell me when Automatic Electric took over American Electric. Might it have been 1929?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 12:49:42 PM by Sargeguy »
My name is Jason Anderson, I am an avid collector of early Dodge Brother/ Graham Brother car/ Truck literature. Have anything to trade or sell?

Offline 1930

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Re: Western Electric wall phone
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2014, 05:46:19 AM »
I'm sorry, I meant that it should be possible to get it working, I had edited it from "not too difficult" and left the "not" in.  (I have to stop posting using my iPhone, it gets me into trouble).  DO the bells ring when you turn the magneto handle? 

It can be tricky to narrow down wood wall phones to an exact date, especially without catalogs or advertisements to refer to.  Sometimes the best you can do is the right decade.  Are there any patent dates on any of the parts?  If you add 17 to the earliest and latest patent dates that can give you the range.  For example if you had a date of 1892 on the magneto and a date of 1904 on the hookswitch, the range of your instrument would be 1904-1909.  Another method is to search old issues of Telephony and Telephone Journal on Google Books for ads featuring your phone.
I understand, an exact date may be out of the question but maybe within a few years would be possible?

I have not looked at any of the parts to closely, I have not moved it since I have set it down, not in a rush and am hoping that I can learn some things before I start fiddling with it. I do know what the magneto is but dont know what the kook switch might be, do you have any sort of diagram that might show me the various parts?
My name is Jason Anderson, I am an avid collector of early Dodge Brother/ Graham Brother car/ Truck literature. Have anything to trade or sell?

Offline 1930

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Re: Western Electric wall phone
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2014, 05:48:38 AM »
The words collecting list has been mentioned to me but I have no idea what this is so what is............ some of the other telephone collecting list.............is this another way of saying on-line forums? If so what other forums are avail to me?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 12:50:54 PM by Sargeguy »
My name is Jason Anderson, I am an avid collector of early Dodge Brother/ Graham Brother car/ Truck literature. Have anything to trade or sell?

Offline 1930

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Re: American Electric wall phone
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2014, 05:50:00 AM »
1930,
        Welcome to the Forum. SWEET find!!!!!!! I don't have any info to date this phone but you could look at the insides of the transmitter, sometimes they were stamped. By all means post inside pics of this phone!! stub
I really like the phone in your avatar. I feel drawn toward telephones, dont know why but I may just become a collector.
My name is Jason Anderson, I am an avid collector of early Dodge Brother/ Graham Brother car/ Truck literature. Have anything to trade or sell?

Offline 1930

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Re: American Electric wall phone
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2014, 05:55:09 AM »
Here are some more pictures.........

I dont know what this is called, I do know that it passes thru the hole in the front of the cabinet and rings the bell, I also know that I am missing the original ( what I am assuming were panhead ) screws.

I know it sounds silly but I would really need to find two correct vintage slotted panhead screws for this telephone, if anyone could help I would re-imburse time and postage.

I have not really turned the crank yet, I do not want to damage anything, I do know it turns, I have wiggled it around a bit and I think that the little ball on the end moves a bit but again I didnt want to damage anything. Also can I become shocked from the magneto, I know very little about these things.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 05:57:53 AM by 1930 »
My name is Jason Anderson, I am an avid collector of early Dodge Brother/ Graham Brother car/ Truck literature. Have anything to trade or sell?

Offline 1930

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Re: American Electric wall phone
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2014, 05:59:01 AM »
I dont know what these are, maybe where the outside electric came into the phone?
My name is Jason Anderson, I am an avid collector of early Dodge Brother/ Graham Brother car/ Truck literature. Have anything to trade or sell?

Offline 1930

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Re: American Electric wall phone
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2014, 06:00:09 AM »
Looks like there was at one time a paper plaque on the rear but long gone
My name is Jason Anderson, I am an avid collector of early Dodge Brother/ Graham Brother car/ Truck literature. Have anything to trade or sell?