Author Topic: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth  (Read 6496 times)

Offline SIIIG

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1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« on: December 14, 2014, 10:34:43 PM »
I'm hoping some forum members could help me out with some information about my "new" Western Electric Oak Phone Booth.

The seller thinks that it was made in 1929. The booth is in pretty decent shape considering its age. The doors close completely and are aligned properly. The interior light still works when the door is pulled closed. The light still uses the original mercury switch thats activated when the door is pulled shut. The floor is in great shape and appears original.

I'm interested in learning what year the booth is and what type of phone would have originally been installed in it.

The seller had added a coat of paint to the interior tin panels, so i'm not sure what the proper/correct color should be. Also it seems that corner moldings are missing where the tin panels meet at the corners. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I tried researching on the internet and also bought Ron Knappen's Payphone history book, but information on Phone booths seems to be really limited.

Here are some pictures:     

Offline SIIIG

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2014, 10:38:24 PM »
Here are pictures of the light assembly

Offline SIIIG

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2014, 07:41:35 AM »
This is the panel that sits on top of the light assembly panel. I'm thinking that this was the original ceiling panel and that at some point the booth was fitted with the existing light assembly.

I'm not sure why they wouldn't have installed the light assembly into this tin panel.  I eventually would like to find a tin panel that is similar to this panel and make a new panel and install the existing light into it. This way the booth is closer to what it would have originally have looked like .

Does anyone have any ideas where I might find a reproduction tin panel like this one. I do not want to cut or alter this one at all.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2014, 07:43:15 AM by SIIIG »

Offline SIIIG

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2014, 08:18:42 AM »
I did a little more searching on the internet and found a picture of a similar one to mine that was sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona this year (2014).  This one appears to be a sit down model, mine is a stand up booth. However, I was given what appears to be an original oak seat when I bought my booth. I'll take some pictures of it and post them later.

They list the booth as being a Bell Telephone Booth from the 1930's. It must have been really nice as they list it being sold for $11,550.00. Hard to believe it sold for as much as it did. Now it has me wondering how much mine could be worth.

Offline poplar1

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2014, 09:47:43 AM »
Sal, I believe it's a Number 5 booth. The style with a seat is a No. 6. They are discussed in a May 1930 Bell article:

http://www.telephonecollectors.info/index.php/document-repository/doc_details/11275-30may-blr-p421-telephone-booth

To harmonize
with any of the four
exterior finishes, the
linings are painted a
neutral color called
"forest drab".

A study of the lighting
produced a dome-
light in the center of
the ceiling, and a door-
switch completely concealed
above the ceiling
and operated by an
arm extending upward
from the door-hinge. Surrounding the
dome-light are slots which permit viti-
ated air, with the assistance of the
heat of the lamp, to escape through
the ceiling. Fresh air replacing it enters
the booth under the door, which
is so hung as to leave a space between
it and the tread when it is closed.
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline SIIIG

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2014, 10:37:24 AM »
Poplar1,

Thanks so much for that link and info. The pictures and description perfectly match the booth I have. I'm going to try and have some paint mixed up to match the paint color on the top tin panel which does appear to be a drab/dark green type color.

Here are pictures of the seat that was sold with the booth.

Any ideas on what type of phone would have originally been installed in the booth?
« Last Edit: December 15, 2014, 10:40:07 AM by SIIIG »

Offline SIIIG

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2014, 06:06:21 PM »
Today I went and bought one of those vintage bulbs they have in Home Depot.

It works great! The bulb gives off a soft , yellowish glow.  Its too bad the light cover totally covers the bulb, you don't get to see the lighting element which is really the whole reason to buy one of these types of bulbs.

The lighting this bulb gives off definitely adds to the vintage atmosphere inside the booth.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2014, 08:55:33 PM by SIIIG »

Offline poplar1

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2014, 07:45:13 PM »
In 1930, Bell was installing Gray/WE 50-Gs in NYC. These were manufactured by Gray Telephone Paystation Co. with Western Electric transmitters, receivers and dials. They required a 5-cent deposit in order to draw dial tone.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/WESTERN-ELECTRIC-GRAY-TELEPHONE-PAYSTATION-MODEL-50G-/321575035348

(This one lacks the 1B instruction card holder on top. In poorly lit areas, these phones might have extended number plates.)
« Last Edit: December 15, 2014, 07:48:29 PM by poplar1 »
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2014, 07:55:02 PM »
Here's a shot of the eBay listing (ended).

Offline SIIIG

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2014, 08:07:23 PM »
Its to bad I missed that one listed.. I'll have to keep a look out for another one. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction.

Offline SIIIG

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2015, 06:05:47 PM »
I finally purchased a Grey Western 50G (with an authentic 1B instruction card holder) for my Western Electric  phone booth a little while back. Unfortunately it didn't work in the condition I bought it in and needed a few original Grey Western parts to bring it back to life.

Thankfully I was able to locate original parts from Jim Engle and Mike Davis who were kind enough to sell me the parts I needed. After a great deal of help from Stan Schreier my 50G has now been brought back to life. It is also authentic, with the exception of the coin relay and possibly the coin chute.

The coin relay has a date of II-55 and we believe the coin chute is a reproduction, but a good reproduction it seems. The top lock is a 10E and the bottom lock is a 12-B. I also purchased another one of Stan's coin controllers. I installed it right behind the 50G which keeps it hidden from view.

The Western Electric 534 subset, which  is mounted right below the shelf, works great. I'm not sure the mounting location for the subset is correct, as I found a picture on the internet that shows it mounted to the opposite wall. There were holes already in the location its mounted now, so I didn't want to make more holes and opted to use the holes already there.  I attached the picture of what I'm talking about below regarding the subset mounting location.  Thanks again to Stan for his patience and expertise in helping walk me through re-wiring the subset bells so that they would work with his coin controller.

I am really happy with the way everything turned out. It certainly was not cheap, but I wanted a paystation that would be period correct for the year of the booth.

Thanks also again to Dennis Markham and poplar1 for  responding to my thread and helping to get me on the right track. It is greatly appreciated.

 
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 08:25:49 PM by SIIIG »

Offline SIIIG

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2015, 06:20:54 PM »
I'm also on the lookout for a late 20's early 30's Upstate New York phone book to place in my booth. I did happen to find a 1914 phone book for my area. It is complete and in real good shape for being 100 years old. Here are some pictures below. This phonebook will have to do for now.

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2015, 08:06:37 PM »
WOW! That is awesome. I am very jealous, I would love one of those. Nice job, and you got it done pretty quick.
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434
TCI

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"

Offline SIIIG

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2015, 08:13:54 PM »
Harry,

Thank you.  The booth was in great shape so I was lucky in that respect.. I'm still working on trying to replace the missing inside corner moldings. Looks like I may have to mill them myself on a router table. I never have done that before , but i think thats the only way I'll be able to match the existing moldings. It should not be too difficult as the moulding profile is fairly simple.     

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: 1929 Western Electric Oak Phone Booth
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2015, 09:00:13 PM »
Very Nice. There are woodworkers who specialize in old moldings so if you can't I'm sure they can. The old tin panels are also out there, originals saved during demo, they were popular ceilings back in the day. Also repro'd for ceiling restorations.
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434
TCI

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"