Author Topic: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?  (Read 8614 times)

Offline McHeath

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2009, 11:22:03 PM »
The Christmas Tree Of Phones™ wins the prize for best phoneia moment, in my opinion.  We should put that on our site during the coming holiday season. 

Offline Jester

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2009, 07:54:43 PM »


The 500 keychains are the hardest to find and come in all the 1954-59 soft plastic colors. I haven't found dark blue or brown yet.



Jonathan,

I just started picking up those 500 fobs a few months ago myself.  I have eleven different colors so far, including dark gray & dark brown.  I don't have dark blue, but am on the lookout for it.  I am also looking for dark beige-- I take it from the quote above that you have one?  Also, did they include black in this set?
Stephen

Offline dsk

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2009, 01:59:47 AM »
I got few bits and pieces, mostly interested in the uniform items, a GPO donkey jacket, set of buttons for my brown (unused) warehouse tunic, a GPO hat metal/enamelled badge (perfect), a couple of GPO hard hats, different designs, a linesman test set, and recently a headset for it and some croc clip leads, so thats nearly complete.

A GPO staff rules book from the 60's, and an internal telephone directory.

Also bought a BT ashtray for peanuts sees much regular use in my "den".

I also collect local bus company items buts thats like a wardrobe full of kit compared to my phoneco stuff!

Very interesting, How small could a telephone company bee in the countryside?

Norway had more than 300 "companies" before the nationalization (witch wnt over a periode of more than 70 years).  Many very small, coopertive companies nearly clubs in a small parish. The lines was buildt by the members, a local switchboard at a farm located in the natural point for connecting the lines, and a line to the next wally. They shared the costs, and payed for their outbound (??) conversations.  The smallest might be as small as 15 telephones, and the local company here in Hakadal had 46 telephones when nationalization in 1946. (We are about 4000 people here today.)

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

Offline jsowers

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2009, 09:02:09 AM »
I just started picking up those 500 fobs a few months ago myself.  I have eleven different colors so far, including dark gray & dark brown.  I don't have dark blue, but am on the lookout for it.  I am also looking for dark beige-- I take it from the quote above that you have one?  Also, did they include black in this set?

Jester, I do have one dark beige 500 keychain. You can see it near the bottom of the tree. The early discontinued colors are the hardest to find, as with the real phones. Though for some reason dark blue has been very elusive in keychains. I have never seen one in black and have also never seen a 500 promo (those little music box-penholder things) in black. I do have a black 500 promo in chalkware, though. I'll post it in a separate post in a few minutes.

Down near the bottom of Paul's 500 set page, just above the color info, there is a small picture of a whole set of the 500-type keychains in the first eight colors. It's titled WE 1953-4 Colors.
Jonathan

Offline jsowers

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2009, 09:29:05 AM »
Below are some very unusual promos I got on eBay in 2005. I haven't seen any others like them.  They look a little homemade, but they have blue Bell System logo number cards on them. My guess is they were used in the early days to promote the new color phones because some are two-tones and some are solid color, though one is black for whatever reason. They seem to be made of plaster. Something like old chalkware figurines. They're quite heavy for their size. The handsets are removable and have two prongs in them that mate up with two holes in the cradle. The base is hollowed out a little and the dial face is a separate casting and attached with a nut from the number card assembly. Or I assume it's done that way. I haven't tried taking them apart. One of the handsets is broken in two, but that's the only major damage.

I assume they must have been made in all the colors for some display and they could be only one person's idea, which is why I haven't seen any others, ever, in ten years of looking. Has anyone ever seen any others?

The colors, from left to right, are dark beige, red two-tone, black, ivory two-tone and dark brown. The second and third pictures are of the dark brown promo. I also included a shot of a dark beige 500 (an unfinished phone) to show the color matches and the relative size. I think it's funny they even cut the feet of the phone in the same general shape as the real feet.
Jonathan

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2009, 10:21:41 AM »
Jonathan, those are definitely "cool" and a very nice find.  I have not seen anything like them before.  I noticed that the handsets have the groove like the G1 handset even though as we all know the G3 (colored handsets) do not have the groove.  I wonder if these were some type of prototype model for future colors??  I especially like the two-tone sets as I have two-tone 500's in both of those colors.

Offline gpo706

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2009, 04:52:00 PM »
Those are really nice, wish GPO had made something similar.
"now this should take five minutes, where's me screwdriver went now..?"

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2009, 12:26:45 AM »
Here are a couple of items that I picked up along the way.  They were not purchased together but both advertise the 8 "new" colors.  The pocket calendar is from 1955...hmmm, a good year.  The accompanying match book also mentions the 8 colors.  Both items ironically from Southern Bell.

Offline Jester

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2009, 02:01:56 PM »
This picture shows my assortment of Bell System advertising & promotional items--& some extra stuff.  It may appear that you're seeing double with the trimline keychains.  That is because each color was offered with either a rotary handset or a ten button one-- just like the real phones!  There are seven different colors these were offered in that I know of-- I am missing one in moss green, and I only have the rotary version of light yellow.  The hardhat-shaped bottle opener is an interesting item, & I really like the D1 shaped paperweight from Northern Electric.
Stephen

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2009, 05:44:24 PM »
Nice stuff Stephen.  How long has it taken you to accumulate those items?

Offline Jester

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2009, 06:36:32 PM »
Dennis,
The picture above is about twenty years of collecting, but many items are very recent additions.  I've had most of the princess keychains forever, and one or two of the trimline keychains I found on ebay eight or nine years ago.  I found all eleven 500 keychains & the other trimline keychains over a 3 month period beginning in March.  The light gray pen holder is also recent.  It came from Oklahoma City, and the pen is marked Southwestern Bell.
Stephen

Offline McHeath

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2009, 07:22:55 PM »
Cool collection.  I've never seen most of this stuff. 

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2009, 07:23:09 PM »
Stephen, those are some very nice things that you have collected over the years.  It's funny how collector's tastes often parallel.  One of the first things I bought when I started buying telephones was a Bell hard hat from Ohio.  Don't ask me why because I can't give a reasonable answer.  In addition to the match book and calender above, I also picked up a couple of those model 500 replicas that are pen holders.  I also have one Princess and a 500 music box.  Your collection has prompted me to post the accompanying photographs of one of the 500's.  It was apparently a gift to an employee of Southwestern Bell Tel. Co.  The handset reads:

Mrs. Hellen Binkley
5 years perfect attendence
Southwestern Bell Tel Co

I can't believe that someone would sell this keepsake on eBay.  One would think the family of Mrs. Binkley would want to keep it.  But I bought it off eBay because I thought it was unique.  On the bottom, molded into the plastic it says Mastercraft, Inc.  Tel-O-Pen, Monterey, Calif.  There is a sticker on the bottom for $3.95, F.E. Tax Included.  This one is relatively heavy and solid, unlike another that is hollow underneath and very lightweight.  It may have been a music box too but the internal parts are missing.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2009, 09:33:46 PM by Dennis Markham »

Offline Jester

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2009, 08:34:47 PM »
Dennis,
That is a nice looking pen holder.  I haven't seen one with printing on the handset before.  I also wonder why family members get rid of keepsakes like that.  I've been known to buy little trinkets my parents described to me just because they sounded interesting, so I doubt I'd get rid of something related to their work history.
Stephen

Offline benhutcherson

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Re: Anyone collect old phone company ephemera?
« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2009, 08:56:31 PM »
A local antique shop has a Bell system first aide kit that I've been eyeing. It's a tin box with about a dozen separate smaller boxes holding the individual items, all with the bell logo on them.

I've also seen a couple of Bell system "not for sale" kerosine cans over the years, none of which I've bought but have certainly tempted me.