Author Topic: Look what I found! My first full light grey phone.  (Read 1408 times)

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Look what I found! My first full light grey phone.
« on: May 09, 2014, 07:07:41 PM »
It appears to be a 1959 WE 554 in light grey. I got it from an eBay auction for $22! I have a feeling that the handset is painted, though.
http://tinyurl.com/nxxhrr4
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline jsowers

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Re: Look what I found! My first full light grey phone.
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2014, 08:25:11 PM »
I saw that phone after it was listed. It was a puzzler. The housing and handset both look painted to me. Their color doesn't quite match the dial face, but they match each other. Also it's odd that the phone has a thin switchhook, but it was made in the era of the thick switchhook on 554s, which I think lasted to the end of 1959. It's hard to tell much from the pictures, so you'll see when you get it. I think sometime this one was in the refurb shop because of the R1065 stamp, which means October, 1965. This could even be one of those dark gray painted light gray phones, but I think they may have been earlier than 1965.
 
The number card is nice to have. One of the later kind with an area code and a spelled-out exchange, which seems contrary to the normal practice of using all numbers with the area code.
 
Let us know what it turns out to be. A light gray 554 for $22 is not bad at all. Light gray is making a comeback as a paint color. Almost every house you see on HGTV has a room painted light gray.
Jonathan

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Look what I found! My first full light grey phone.
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2014, 10:29:25 PM »
Yeah, some of the chips on the handset look to be dark grey underneath. Should it be dark grey or a mix of colors underneath, would it be worth it to try and remove the paint, or leave it as-is?
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline jsowers

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Re: Look what I found! My first full light grey phone.
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2014, 08:46:07 AM »
If it's all dark gray underneath, you could try the LA's Totally Awesome stuff and see what happens. I re-visited your thread about the painted dark blue and if you can do it to that one, then this should be a bit easier. A 554 doesn't have as many odd angles as a 500, so if you have to sand, it should be easier. But the logo area is right there in front, so hopefully its paint will come off easily. Here's the thread I'm referring to, if anyone hasn't seen it.
 
http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=11216.msg119778#msg119778
 
One difference between the dark blue you got earlier and this 554 is the 500's chassis dated to 1956, when dark blue was offered. But this 554 dates to 10-59, two years after dark gray was discontinued. So it might just be black under the paint. And if it's black, I'd leave it painted light gray.
Jonathan

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Look what I found! My first full light grey phone.
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2014, 11:28:19 PM »
If it's all dark gray underneath, you could try the LA's Totally Awesome stuff and see what happens. I re-visited your thread about the painted dark blue and if you can do it to that one, then this should be a bit easier. A 554 doesn't have as many odd angles as a 500, so if you have to sand, it should be easier. But the logo area is right there in front, so hopefully its paint will come off easily. Here's the thread I'm referring to, if anyone hasn't seen it.
 
http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=11216.msg119778#msg119778
 
It might just be black under the paint. And if it's black, I'd leave it painted light gray.
I'd rather have a restored black phone painted grey than have a restored black phone with hours of practically worthless sanding put into it ;). If it is dark grey, I do think it will be easier to sand this housing rather than a 500s, so this may be easier than my med blue was.
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Look what I found! My first full light grey phone.
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2014, 11:13:08 PM »
Apparently, all of the plastic parts are true light grey, but they were painted the exact same color :-\. I wasn't very happy with the seller's lack of a thorough description; it has a half inch diameter hole cheaply cut in the top! I'm not too worried about it though, because I could have faced far worse with this one.
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Look what I found! My first full light grey phone.
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2014, 07:37:05 AM »
I wasn't very happy with the seller's lack of a thorough description; it has a half inch diameter hole cheaply cut in the top!

Indeed, the seller did not explicitly point that out. In retrospect, this photo of the bottom does show what appears to be a missing corner - shows something going on there in profile. The seller seems to be walking a fine line here in that the missing upper left corner is substantial damage (more than a crack), sort of shown in the photo but not described at all in the listing.

Offline jsowers

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Re: Look what I found! My first full light grey phone.
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2014, 09:02:26 AM »
Ouch! Yes, I see it now, but didn't see it until you pointed it out. It reminds me of the yellow soft plastic 554 I got once that had a big honking lever switch sticking up out of the top, not shown in any of the pictures or described by the seller. They cut out a hole and drilled small holes to mount the switch in the plastic. I never thought to ask about stuff like that. It may be a little much to ask of some sellers to know those additions or deletions are not originally part of the phone.
 
That carved-out hole in the top looks like the work of the Hooterville Telephone Co. since the station wire was evidently too short to go into the bottom where the hole for the wire was. I bet if you take the paint off, you'll find it's not faded underneath. It was only in service five or six years before 1965 when it was refurbed. It could be a slightly different shade of gray, so it's a toss-up whether to take it off or leave it on.
Jonathan