Author Topic: Western Electric catalogs  (Read 7535 times)

unbeldi

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Western Electric catalogs
« on: November 13, 2014, 03:42:46 PM »
Here is an attempt to summarize the Western Electric catalogs. This is a work in progress.

Since inception in 1869, and incorporated in 1872 as the Western Electric Manufacturing Company, Western Electric issued a series of catalogs for merchandizing electrical supplies, telegraph equipment and supplies, and telephonic products.

The first catalog of telephonic apparatus by Western Electric is thought to have been published in 1882. This catalog was reprinted in 1969 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the company's founding. The first actually numbered catalog appears to be Catalog No. 3 of 1916. It is a guess, only, which previous catalogs they considered to be no. 1 and no. 2 at that time.  The previous, available catalog of ca. 1907/1908 is available in at least three varieties, including a 'second edition' and a 'telegraph edition'.  1907/08 is also the time when Western Electric was permitted by AT&T under new leadership of Vail to sell telephonic equipment to anyone, including the Independents, not just the Bell entities. This once again necessitated a catalog. Indeed, many products in this catalog are now identified with the product suffix letter W.   So, likely the first catalog was the 1882 catalog, and the second this 1907/08 compilation.

The first electrical supplies ''Year Book'' was issued in 1915, when the company was reincorporated in New York as an AT&T subsidiary under the name Western Electric Company. The Year Books emphasized all electrical products, and were large, all with over one thousand pages, but were limited in their coverage of telephony. In 1925, WECo transferred the general electrical merchandizing to the newly divested Graybar Electric Company, which published the next year book in 1926.

In addition to the major telephone catalogs, WECo issued various specialized ''Catalog Bulletins'', Railroad issues, and probably others, but only a few are listed here currently.  In particular, the issuance of bulletin catalogs appears to have concentrated around 1912.

Some titles have hyperlinks for downloadable PDF files.

Date Issue No. Title WECo ID No. of Pages
Electric Supply Catalogs
1876 (June) Catalogue of the Western Electric Manufacturing Company
1886 Electric Bells, Annunciators and Electric Gas-Lighting Equipment 38
1897 (April) Electric Light Supplies 528
1898 Revised Edition Electric Light Supplies 557
1915   Electrical Supply Year Book (first year book)
1916   Electrical Supply Year Book 1504
1916   Railway Supply Supplement to year book 192(?)
1917   Electrical Supply Year Book 1312
1918   Electrical Supply Year Book (Interphones excerpt sighted in the TCI library)
1920   Electrical Supply Year Book
1922   Year Book
1924 Electrical Supply Year Book
1926-7 Graybar Electrical Supply Year Book 1926-7 (Successor to WECo)
.
Telephonic Supply Catalogs
1882 untitled, assumed to be first WECo telephone catalog 24
1892 Magneto Bells - Catalogue of Parts 64
1907? Telephonic Apparatus and Supplies 167
1908 Second Edition Catalogue of Telephonic Apparatus and Supplies
1908 Telegraph Edition Catalogue of Telephonic Apparatus and Supplies 179
1912, 8/1 Bulletin No. 2 Magneto Telephones
1912, 9/1 Bulletin No. 12 Telephone Apparatus and Accessories
1912 Bulletin No. 14 Non-multiple Central Office Switchboards
1914    Inter-Phones and Accessories (ca.T-347) 48
1916 3 Telephone Apparatus and Supplies T-401 304
1916 Magneto Telephones and Supplies T-537 48
1917 Bulletin T-206 Composite Telephone and Telegraph System for Railway Service T-592 52
1922 4 Telephone Apparatus and Supplies
1922 Railroad Telephone and Selective Apparatus
1923 5 Telephone Apparatus and Supplies T-667-A 336
1925 6 Telephone Apparatus and Supplies T-797 350
1929 7 Telephone Apparatus and Supplies T-859 399
1930 8 Telephone Apparatus and Cable
1934 Railway Train Dispatching Telephone Systems
1935 9 Telephone Apparatus and Cable T-1152 389
1939 10 Telephone Apparatus and Cable 299
1949 Railway Dispatching and Communications Equipment T-2468171
1950 11 Telephone Apparatus and Cable T-2404 336
1955 Telephone Cable and Wire T-2410C 36

Western Electric telephone products continued to be sold by Graybar Electric Company, after their divestiture. Graybar produced general electrical supply catalogs as well as specialized telephone catalogs advertising Western Electric products, as well as other brands. The 1926 Year Book appears to be the first catalog, emphasizing on the cover it being the successor to Western Electric's Year Book.

WECo and Graybar also published joint catalogs, such as the 1935 Catalog No. 9, in which the last hundred pages are devoted to Graybar's supplies for telephone line construction, tools, and apparatus. A version of this catalog was also distributed by Northern Electric.

[updated 2017-04-03/3967]
[updated 2017-06-03/4214]
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 05:25:27 PM by unbeldi »

Offline paul-f

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2014, 04:12:11 PM »
Thanks Karl.
 
You can add a few from this list of (mainly) apparatus-related catalogs:
 
   http://www.paul-f.com/BellSystemPubs.html#Catalogs
Visit: paul-f.com         WE  500  Design_Line

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unbeldi

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Western Electric Catalog No. 3
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2014, 09:56:41 AM »
I am attaching a copy of the Western Electric No. 3 catalog in PDF file format.

Recently a copy of the Western Electric Catalog No. 3 was contributed to the TCI library.  High quality scans require large storage, and therefore the size of that original document is over 240 megabytes.  I have reworked all scan images, resized them to their original hardcopy size with approximately the original page margins. Then I experimented with compression techniques to reduce the file size to something more manageable for many collectors, and finally achieved a 90% reduction in size.

Such high compression involves the loss of quality.  The contrast of pictures is increased, rendering many of them a bit too dark. However, I feel the catalog is still usable, and I have avoided techniques that create a grayish halo around the text that makes it very irritating when reading.  For higher quality, for example when extracting pictures or text for creating illustrations in new works, I would use the original page images.

This version is adjusted for compatibility with Adobe Acrobat 5, having PDF version 1.4. I originally assembled it in version 1.3, but found that Acrobat 4 could not read it. Acrobat 6 manages to read it, but the rendering of text is not optimal, much worse that more modern versions of Acrobat or Reader.   It was amusing to find that Acrobat 4 could not read the document produced by Acrobat X under A4 compatibility.


I have managed to upload the document only in two parts.  The catalog now is split before the large section of Interphones.
For a limited time, the document can be downloaded in whole at this URL:
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/67573408/WE-1916-CatalogNo3--Telephone-Apparatus-and-Supplies-T401--jpA5.pdf

I found that this version of the catalog displays very nicely on an iPad in the Adobe Reader app, but also in Apple's iBooks which is standard software.  A nice way to carry a WECo catalog with you.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 09:23:27 AM by unbeldi »

unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2014, 08:24:47 PM »
Here is a highly compressed text-searchable version of the WECo Catalog No. 9 (1935). It is a reworked version of a document recently contributed to the TCI library, produced with the goal of small size, not highest fidelity.  As usual, image quality suffers but it may be a good compromise with size issues.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 02:29:23 PM by unbeldi »

Offline Babybearjs

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2015, 04:35:57 PM »
funny how they went from a "Yearbook" to a catalog....
John

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2015, 07:02:08 PM »
Unbeldi, are you still searching for scanned WE catalogs? I have one is really good shape from 1939.
Christian Petterson

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

unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2015, 08:00:28 PM »
Unbeldi, are you still searching for scanned WE catalogs? I have one is really good shape from 1939.
Certainly, we still don't have all WECo catalogs in PDF form. The 1939 catalog No. 10 is one of them, also No. 4 and No. 8.
I think you are saying you have a hardcopy?

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2015, 10:28:28 PM »
Unbeldi, are you still searching for scanned WE catalogs? I have one is really good shape from 1939.
Certainly, we still don't have all WECo catalogs in PDF form. The 1939 catalog No. 10 is one of them, also No. 4 and No. 8.
I think you are saying you have a hardcopy?
Yep.

I just checked, and it is apparently not a 1939 like I thought I remember it was, but it's a 1930-31, no. 8 edition, and it's a Telephone Apparatus and Cable version. Still, it looks like one that isn't on the list.

Despite the near perfect condition of the pages, it has penciled in notes. Even there, the scribbles help give extra notes about things that are pretty interesting, such as parts prices, installation notes and installation dates, installation locations, etc.
Christian Petterson

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

unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2015, 10:53:44 PM »
Unbeldi, are you still searching for scanned WE catalogs? I have one is really good shape from 1939.
Certainly, we still don't have all WECo catalogs in PDF form. The 1939 catalog No. 10 is one of them, also No. 4 and No. 8.
I think you are saying you have a hardcopy?
Yep.

I just checked, and it is apparently not a 1939 like I thought I remember it was, but it's a 1930-31, no. 8 edition, and it's a Telephone Apparatus and Cable version. Still, it looks like one that isn't on the list.

Despite the near perfect condition of the pages, it has penciled in notes. Even there, the scribbles help give extra notes about things that are pretty interesting, such as parts prices, installation notes and installation dates, installation locations, etc.

The number 8 is also interesting of course.  It's the period when anti-sidetone telephones became available.
Do you have means to scan it?

It is in the table in the first post of this thread, I didn't indicate there which ones are actually available in PDF. I just didn't know the exact title, so I left the space empty.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 10:55:42 PM by unbeldi »

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2015, 12:53:56 AM »
I recently purchased ($28.50 on eBay) a copy of the seldom seen Western Electric Inter-Phones and Accessories Catalog It has a date of February 4, 1915 stamped on the front.  I scanned it and sent it to Paul-f who uploaded it to the TCI library Inbox:

http://www.telephonecollectors.info/inbox

It's an interesting read, especially since information on early phones can be hard to come by.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 01:05:07 AM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline skyrider

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2015, 06:43:27 AM »
Thank You Greg for giving us this Interphone catalog. It was very interesting just like a window back in time. Regards  Bill Compton

unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2015, 08:27:23 AM »
Thanks!
The 1916 Catalog No. 3 (Telephone Apparatus and Supplies) contains a 50 page section on Interphones as well, having much of the same content in reorganized presentation.

The PDF file contains some kind of card at the end. What is that?  Is it a part of the catalog or a separate entity?  I am looking for a T-number of the catalog. WECo used apparently serially increasing document numbers which I keep track of.  There is a T-number on that extra piece, T-347.

How did you decide on the publication year 1915?   I have the suspicion it is actually 1914, which is the year of publication of that Bzzz+Talk=Convenience piece.
Handwritings and office stamps usually happen some time after catalog publication.

What are the exact original document page dimensions?

I recently purchased ($28.50 on eBay) a copy of the seldom seen Western Electric Inter-Phones and Accessories Catalog It has a date of February 4, 1915 stamped on the front.  I scanned it and sent it to Paul-f who uploaded it to the TCI library Inbox:

http://www.telephonecollectors.info/inbox

It's an interesting read, especially since information on early phones can be hard to come by.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 09:16:19 AM by unbeldi »

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2015, 02:14:32 PM »
There is no date or number other than the one stamped on the front with a rubber stamp.  The early 1915 date probably indicates a 1914 publication date, but since the actual publication date is not included we'll never know for certain.  The flyer was inserted into the catalog and bears the same rubber stamped date as the catalog.  I'll get back to you with the exact dimensions, they are about 8x11.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2015, 02:16:42 PM »
Here are some scans of the flyer:



Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric catalogs
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2015, 11:55:27 AM »
Just reviewing this topic once again and comparing with my notes.
Since the last updates, I came across a mentioning of Sargeguy's Interphones catalog in an issue of Railway Age Gazette of 1914, where is written:

Interphones and Accessories.—The Western Electric Com
pany has recently issued a catalog descriptive of its line of inter
phones and accessories. The booklet contains illustrations and
descriptions of the apparatus, the information concerning it be
ing given in clear and concise form. -


Railway Age Gazette, page 80, Volume 57(2), July 10, 1914.

So this narrows the date of publication to the first half of 1914.