Author Topic: western 554  (Read 1564 times)

Offline rotary63

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western 554
« on: August 20, 2015, 04:00:44 PM »
Does anyone have a reliable source for when the 554 first appeared and in what colors?
I have heard that '55 was the first year, and have seen a base with that date, however, I can't find and definitive info. esp. on the appearance of colored sets.
S.D. Hudson

unbeldi

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Re: western 554
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2015, 04:22:49 PM »
According to  AT&T Events in Telephone History the 554 was announced November 1954, and indeed the earliest found sets appears to be from 1955, although I have heard one claim of 1954.

The BSP appeared in February 1955.  C32.559.
The 1955 colors were black, 50, 51, 53, and 55, but only ivory had matching cords, as the colored cords were not available initially, just like on the desk sets.


http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=1510.0
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 04:40:03 PM by unbeldi »

Offline rotary63

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Re: western 554
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2015, 04:43:46 PM »
Thanks,
S.D. Hudson

Offline jsowers

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Re: western 554
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2015, 05:02:27 PM »
The 554 first appeared in black, with a black switchhook. All the earliest sets found have been black and from mid-1955. They were still selling the ivory 354 at that time. Later in 1955 came the ivory 554 with ivory cords and a chrome switchhook, or at least I have one in my kitchen from late 1955, and other colors like dark beige with gray cords were also made in late 1955 and by then black had a chrome switchhook too. By 1956 the entire color spectrum was available (all eight colors) with gray cords at first on dark beige, green, dark gray and dark blue. By that time red had a color-matched cord and yellow was soon to follow and then dark beige and finally green in 1957. Dark blue and dark gray always had dark gray cords. Ivory and brown also had color-matching cords from the start.
 
I have 1956 magazine ads with the 554 colors pictured and 1955 catalogs with the black switchhook 554 pictured. There has been no concrete evidence of a 1954 554 but I would love to see pictures of one. Sometimes I wonder if someone looked at the model number and thought it was the date. As in 554 means 5-54? I've been looking for about 15 years and haven't seen a 1954 model yet. But never say never, as they say. You would think a prototype would show up, or a field trial set, but no.
 
For more information you can look at this thread on early 554s...
 
http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=1161.0
 
Also search with "soft plastic 554" as the search term and you may find all kinds of discussion. In one thread Dennis and I listed all our 554s and the color and switchhook info. Only with a large number of these phones can you see the progression of features changing. Assembling a complete collection of every color made--well, we're still trying.
 
I like your avatar, rotary63! Yellow with gray cords is a favorite combination of mine. Below is a link with some Bell Magazine pictures featuring a yellow-gray and a rare dark beige-gray 554, and my attempt at funny captions. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when they unveiled that yellow phone with gray cords just to hear the comments.
 
http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=1245.msg15728#msg15728
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 05:04:50 PM by jsowers »
Jonathan

Offline rotary63

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Re: western 554
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2015, 02:09:11 PM »
Hello all,
I haven't been online for a while. Since I asked you about the first year of the 554 I have acquired a 1955 red 554 which has the gray handset cord. Also, I was able to acquire a 1956 Mediterranean blue set with gray handset cord. They are the prizes of my collection.
S.D. Hudson

unbeldi

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Re: western 554
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2015, 02:16:06 PM »
Hello all,
I haven't been online for a while. Since I asked you about the first year of the 554 I have acquired a 1955 red 554 which has the gray handset cord. Also, I was able to acquire a 1956 Mediterranean blue set with gray handset cord. They are the prizes of my collection.

I only have a med-blue wooden back board.

Offline paul-f

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Re: western 554
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2015, 02:19:28 PM »
Hello all,
I haven't been online for a while. Since I asked you about the first year of the 554 I have acquired a 1955 red 554 which has the gray handset cord. Also, I was able to acquire a 1956 Mediterranean blue set with gray handset cord. They are the prizes of my collection.

Congratulations!
 
We'd enjoy seeing photos.
Visit: paul-f.com         WE 500  Design_Line

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Offline rotary63

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Re: western 554
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2015, 02:46:47 PM »
I keep saying that I will post some photos, then get sidetracked. I have a long weekend coming up, so maybe I can find time to get some decent photos posted.
S.D. Hudson

Offline Babybearjs

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Re: western 554
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2015, 11:53:12 PM »
does anyone know why the 554 was discontinued? I've got both 444 and 464 phones, but only have 564's in my collection.... you would have though they would have kept it in inventory, so you had both small and large systems....
John

Offline jsowers

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Re: western 554
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2015, 09:54:16 AM »
does anyone know why the 554 was discontinued? I've got both 444 and 464 phones, but only have 564's in my collection.... you would have though they would have kept it in inventory, so you had both small and large systems....

You may be thinking of 544 4-button keysets, but the 554 is a single-line wall phone that was never discontinued, made up until divestiture and a little while afterward by AT&T. They probably discontinued the 544 because the 564 could be employed and some of the lines just left empty. I remember seeing many phones in the school system with empty line buttons on the right.
Jonathan

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: western 554
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2015, 10:04:36 AM »
does anyone know why the 554 was discontinued? I've got both 444 and 464 phones, but only have 564's in my collection.... you would have though they would have kept it in inventory, so you had both small and large systems....

You may be thinking of 544 4-button keysets, but the 554 is a single-line wall phone that was never discontinued, made up until divestiture and a little while afterward by AT&T. They probably discontinued the 544 because the 564 could be employed and some of the lines just left empty. I remember seeing many phones in the school system with empty line buttons on the right.
In fact, I have several multilines that were only wired to work with one other line. It makes me wonder why they didn't just order a 511 or 510, if it's just handling one other line...
Christian Petterson

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Offline AE_Collector

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Re: western 554
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2015, 11:23:09 AM »
The one line on many keysets likely also appeared on one or more reception keysets along with all the other single lines in the office. In instances where the lines were CO lines as opposed to PABX extensions o the keysets, quite often there woukd be a second key used for an intercom between all of the keysets.

Terry