Author Topic: Another Addict Joins The Gang  (Read 2886 times)

Offline Paul_Wainwright

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Another Addict Joins The Gang
« on: February 27, 2014, 01:43:29 PM »
Hi Everybody --

I’ve been a collector of all things electromechanical since 1970.  I think I’ve got at least one of everything from magneto drop board positions through a crossbar switch.  Except I do not have anything from a Panel office.  I have a background in physics, and worked at Bell Telephone Laboratories until my retirement in 2001.  My “specialty” is the classic rotary stepping switch, which in my humble opinion is the greatest un-sung invention of the early 20th century, because it is what enabled telephones to have dials.  We still talk about “dialing” a telephone, even with cell phones, that’s the influence that this little device has had on our culture.  I’ve got several projects that use these devices, and I would like to connect with others who also share this weird, noisy habit.  I’ll never forget what a “real” central office sounded like during the busy hour.  It was like a hail storm on a tin roof, on steroids.  Aah, the good old days...

I have not yet found exactly the right category on the forum for my particular form of addiction.  I'm looking to connect with others who take old central office stuff and build non-telephony projects with it.  I've spent a lot of time getting stepping switches to run well using simple (non-regulated) power supplies, dealing with spark suppression, adjusting and lubricating the switches, etc.  If you like to use a soldering iron on anything that contains an electromagnet, I'd love to "talk."
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 02:05:25 PM by Paul_Wainwright »

Offline dsk

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Re: Another Adict Joins The Gang
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 01:49:30 PM »
Hi and welcome.  :)

dsk

I have even got a regular New York number :-) 646 570 1796

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 02:20:47 PM »
Welcome to the forum Paul.  There are some switching enthusiasts here, but many of the big shots and old-timers hang out at the Yahoo "Singing Wires" group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/singingwires/info.

Larry

Offline paul-f

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2014, 02:24:11 PM »
Welcome Paul.
 
You'll also find a lot of folks with an interest in switching in TCI (Telephone Collectors International) and on the Central Office Yahoo group.
 
Plan now to attend the Lancaster phone show in early June and take the Switchers' Tour after the show.  There are a number of collectors who have working switches where you can be surrounded by the sounds you remember.
   http://www.telephonecollectors.org/shows/2014/Lancaster/index.htm
 
The site has photos from previous years, including these from last year:
   http://www.telephonecollectors.org/shows/2013/Lancaster/gallery.htm
 
While we were in John's switchroom last year, a bunch of the alarms sounded.  Quite impressive.
Visit: paul-f.com         WE 500  Design_Line

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Offline Matilo Telephones

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 02:36:47 PM »
Welcome to the forum, Paul!
Groeten,

Arwin

Check out my telephone website: http://www.matilo.eu/?lang=en

And I am on facebook too: www.facebook.com/matilosvintagetelephones

Offline WesternElectricBen

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2014, 02:37:20 PM »
Welcome, Paul.

Ben

Offline Contempra

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 03:15:20 PM »
Hi and welcome to the forum Paul ;)
Denis

Offline DavePEI

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 03:21:03 PM »
I have not yet found exactly the right category on the forum for my particular form of addiction.  I'm looking to connect with others who take old central office stuff and build non-telephony projects with it.  I've spent a lot of time getting stepping switches to run well using simple (non-regulated) power supplies, dealing with spark suppression, adjusting and lubricating the switches, etc.  If you like to use a soldering iron on anything that contains an electromagnet, I'd love to "talk."

Welcome, Paul... The perfect place for you to start is here in our Switchng, Strowger category. Help add to our knowledge. I an one of those interested in switching, but I have only played around with switching for a few years -- I have built a couple of switching demos for the museum, one using North American switches, and one using British Strowger switches...

The most knowledgable one here is Weco355aman, who has many full switches set up,

Dave
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 03:41:24 PM by DavePEI »
The Telephone Museum of Prince Edward Island:
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Free Admission - Call (902) 651-2762 to arrange a visit!
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Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2014, 04:14:52 PM »
Hi Paul and welcome!

It is always good to have another switching enthusiast onboard here and with your background I am sure you will be able to help others as well. I am always interested in history as well so please don't hesitate to start a topic around your career and employer before you retired.

Terry

Offline tallguy58

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2014, 05:43:10 PM »
Glad to have you with us.

How did you find out about us?
Cheers........Bill

Offline Doug Rose

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2014, 05:55:14 PM »
Welcome Paul......Doug
Kidphone

Offline Paul_Wainwright

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2014, 12:47:06 PM »
Hi Everybody, and thanks for your warm words of welcome.  Based on some of the replies, I'll also check out several of the other forums that were mentioned, and when I'm on this forum I'll probably hang out in the Strowger section since it appears to be closest to my interests. 

To my understanding, the term “Strowger” refers to one particular type of stepping switch which operates in two dimensions – it first steps horizontally, then rotates.  I have one, in pieces, if anyone wants it.  Not sure what I would do with it, but maybe it could be used for spare parts.

A little background of how I got “hooked” on this stuff.  In the winter of 1970 while a sophomore in college, they ripped out the school’s step-by-step PBX exchange, loaded it into a dump truck, and dumped it behind the Physical Plant building until they could sell it to a scrap dealer.  I got permission to poke through the heap looking for anything useful, and managed to get maybe 20 stepping switches that appeared undamaged, along with a large number of relays.

The following summer I built a digital clock with the stuff, and the summer after that I built a machine that plays tic-tac-toe.  Neither worked too well, so they sat for about 40 years and only recently have been beaten into submission, so to speak.

My job at Bell Labs involved mostly designing computer systems to automate the Bell System’s phone network.  The one that I worked on the longest was called SCCS – the Switching Control Center System.  It enabled a stored-program-controlled central office to be remotely operated via the teletype and E2A interfaces.

And someone asked how I found this forum?  Beats me – I think I Googled “stepping switch” or something.

Cheers!

Offline WesternElectricBen

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2014, 12:48:39 PM »
Very interesting, I think you'll be doing the teaching!

Ben

Offline Mr. Bones

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2014, 01:46:57 PM »
Please, for the benefit of one who is quite ignorant, but seeking enlightenment:

     This has perplexed me for quite some time...

     How, pray tell, does one pronounce Strowger?

Stroe-ger?
Stroe-jer?
Strow-ger?
Strow-jer?
Straw-ger?
Straw-jer?
Other?

     I'd really hate to appear more ignorant than I already do, upon meeting some of you fellows in person. There's no such thing as a stupid question, just stupid forum members lol! >> :o<<

     Thanks, in advance, for your patience, forbearance, and enlightenment! It is greatly appreciated by me! ;)

Best regards!
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 03:02:33 PM by Mr. Bones »
Sláinte!
   Mr. Bones
      Rubricollis Ferus

Offline Paul_Wainwright

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Re: Another Addict Joins The Gang
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2014, 02:04:19 PM »
I think it's a soft 'g', so "Stro-ger" (where the 'ger' is pronounced like the first syllable in "Germany") is how I say it.  However, my time at Bell Labs was waaaay after this technology was being worked on, so my only reference for this is a college buddy who had a summer job with an independent phone company in Erie PA in the late 1960's.

Another interesting item to all the WECO enthusiasts, as you probably know, the Bell System ran a very tight "closed loop" shop with their equipment.  They (pretty much) made everything themselves, except maybe for the toilet paper, although that was different from what you would buy in the supermarket, so maybe they made that too.  They installed it, ran it, and when its life was over, recycled it all in-house.  Their recycling subsidiary (at least in the northeast) was Nassau Smelting on Statin Island.  Consequently, I don't think I own a single piece of WECO equipment.  It's all mostly Automatic Electric.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 02:35:44 PM by Paul_Wainwright »