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and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

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Greetings from the National Capital Region!

Started by compubit, February 01, 2015, 02:02:58 AM

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My name is Jim, and I have a problem.  I'm addicted to phones...

It started when I was about 2, and my favorite toys were Fisher Price phones... According to my mom, I would sit in front of the FP "pay phone", put in a plastic coin, dial a number, then giggle or talk, hang up and do it all over again.  For hours at a time...

My first knowledge of phones was from after we moved to Houston in '69 (I was 3 at the time). We had a 2554 on the wall in the kitchen and a Princess in my parents bedroom. When we moved to Spring (out in the country then, but part of Houston metro now), we got our first Trimlines - wall in the kitchen and desk set in my parents bedroom.  From that point, the Trimline was my favorite model of phone. Fast forward until I was in Middle school, and my Grandparents downsized houses, and ended up with a Stromberg Carlson 1543 black desk set, complete with 4 prong plug. I took that thing apart and "rebuilt" it with pieces of wood from the garage (to make it look like a WE 851), put it back together, made a different design, and had a blast with it - I'm not sure where it ended up. When in High School, we lived in GTE territory, but across the main road from my subdivision was Southwestern Bell land. I spent many an afternoon at the local mall doing the Bell Phone Center Store to Radio Shack to the arcade triangle - wishing I could get a real Trimline - not the GTE Trendline...

Finally once I went to college in the mid 80s, the market opened up, and the first AT&T phone I bought was a Red Princess phone (which I still have) - As much as I was intrigued by the Pink Princess (since at that time, it was the only model available in pink, red was a better phone for me. Since then, phones have come and gone: ones I remember included a Stromberg Carlson compact rotary wall (no Touch Tone service available in my apartment at the time), an excess Gray 2-line 510 from the NSA (still had the "Secure" number card in it - I interned there while in college, thus being familiar with the Gray phones), a white 2554 (second phone I bought), and too many more to remember. Along the way, I've moved boxes of phones - and I don't know where they all ended up...

Fast Forward (again) and almost 4 years ago, I left Texas (after 40+ years) for a job in Arlington, Virginia, where I live now. A number of phones did not make the trip (I did not do the packing, and my friend who helped sell my house had several garage sales without confirming what was and wasn't for sale). A year ago, I bought a 1940s townhome in Arlington, and now am starting to redo things (kitchen is on the list, but am saving for that...). Now that I'm somewhat settled, I started looking back at phones. (Getting a working Panasonic KA-TX624 switch from work didn't hurt with being able to connect the phones together, since I didn't have landline service at the time).

When I started looking, I discovered the 354 wall set - which could easily have been used at one time in this house - and I "fell in love" again with a different model. I still love the Trimline, but now I have a second love. I bid on a couple, and several weeks later, I have 4, with a fifth on the way (Darn you, eBay!).  I the found this site and have been digesting as much as I can from the site. With several 354s to choose from, I've verified that they work, and will now start to rehab them. I even went out and got my own internet domain: - right now, it has a borrowed picture of a 354, but I plan to update it with collection information.

I've been a little hooked on eBay in the last few weeks (gotta spend some bonus money somewhere to keep the economy moving, right?), but am slowing down (after 5 354s, a pink Touch Tone Trimline, an aqua blue 10 button Trimline, and a few other phones, I have plenty to keep me busy)

I've posted a little already on the site, and will keep up. I can't wait for my first phone show (though I'll miss the one in PA this summer, as that's the weekend we're celebrating my parent's 50th Anniversary - I'm targeting the show in Michigan in April, if I can sneak away from work... Being born I the 60s, I tend to focus on the "end of the era" with Western Electric/Bell System. I have nothing older than the 354s, but ignore nearly anything after "The Fall of the Ma Bell Empire".

I also am dabbling with VoIP - right now I have 2 ATAs and an Asterisk server running on a Raspberry Pi I all talking. The next step is to connect to C*NET, then start integrating the Panasonic with the setup, and also figure out how far I can go with a PBX for under $50.

I go by Jim, but the compubit handle came from an attempt to start a small business with some friends building computers in the early 90s targeting small companies without a computer staff. The company name was Computer BITS - Building Information Technology Solutions. We never made a dime, but had fun going through the steps to create the company. i captured compubit as a screen name for the company, and it sort of stuck to/with me over the years (I guess over 20 now).

I do have another hobby - I collect local newscasts from TV Stations around the U.S. and the world - with a focus on local (vs. national). I have thousands of hours from travels and trades. At some point, some library's going to end up with 30+ years of history from local newscasts....

Enoguh rambling for now.  Looking forward to lots of good discussions, and hope to meet some folks at shows or other events.

A phone phanatic since I was less than 2 (thanks to Fisher Price); collector since a teenager; now able to afford to play!
Favorite Phone: Western Electric Trimline - it just feels right holding it up to my face!



Doug Rose

Hey Jim....welcome to the forum. Post some pictures of your collection......Doug

Dennis Markham

Glad to have you along, Jim.  As Doug mentioned, we'd love to see photos of your phones.



Welcome to the asylum! Glad you have acknowledged your problem. Now you will not have to waste any time trying to figure out why you want all theses old phones! You have found the best forum on the net with the best people. There is endless knowledge & experience here and people who are always willing to share it!
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434

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