Author Topic: 50AL question  (Read 3659 times)

Offline Alex Wander

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50AL question
« on: November 12, 2015, 10:31:07 PM »
Hoping someone can shed some light on a brass(?) 50AL that's been in the family for years.
All the info I've found show it should be black not brass. I'm also curious if the 323 on the plate is the serial number. Thanks in advance for the info.

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 12:45:49 AM »
Alex, welcome to the forum!

The 323 is the model of the transmitter itself.  Not a serial number.  If the phone has been in the family for years, then either someone in your family or some prior owner has intentionally "brassed" it out.  The tranmitter cup looks suspiciously like a reproduction, as does the "323" transmitter tag.  The blue and white vinyl coated transmitter wires are not original, and their presence suggests that the original transmitter "guts" have perhaps been replaced with a modern transmitter element.  The old original transmitters sounded awful and so quite often people have replaced them with modern components.  Your receiver cord looks new, and almost looks like a fabric covered lamp cord as opposed to an authentic receiver cord.  It does not look like there is a deskstand cord that would go from the phone to the subset.  You might want to also check the innards of the receiver to see whether it is original or something more modern.  Also check the internal wiring and the felt cover on the base.

These phones, while made of brass were NEVER left unpainted.  They were pretty much always black.  Unfortunately, many non-collectors think bare brass is how these phones originally looked.  It was felt at the time that bare brass was cheap-looking, and besides, without some sort of clear-coat, brass is impossible to keep up a shine.

Deskstands ("candlestick" phones) also needed a separate wall unit called a subset which includes the ringer, induction coil, and capacitor.  The induction coil and capacitor are the electronics that match the receiver and transmitter of the phone to the phone line.

Does your phone have the subset?

Now, I know this may all sound critical, but I thought I should tell you what you have.  At least know this:  Even though a phone collector would be critical of the phone's originality, it is a fact that 99.9% of others won't know the difference, and your phone will at least be something to display and have a conversation piece.  :)

Enjoy!
« Last Edit: November 13, 2015, 01:06:04 AM by Phonesrfun »
-Bill G

Offline Jack Ryan

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2015, 12:49:39 AM »
Hello Alex, welcome to the list.

The 50 AL should indeed be black but yours has been "brassed out" as many have to make it look "better" in a 1970s living room.

The tag on the transmitter describes the transmitter itself - it is a model 323.

Is there wiring inside? Sometimes, in addition to brassing out, the transmitter (microphone) and receiver elements are changed to modern items.

Do you want to get it working?

Regards
Jack

Offline Alex Wander

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2015, 05:29:06 AM »
Thanks Bill G!! 
You're spot on with the receiver cup and I did change the guts on it last winter, new cords as well.
I used to play with this phone as a kid. It had been converted to a desk lamp and was not a functioning phone. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and it is a wonderful conversation piece. The smiles never end when guests find out it actually works!
As for the subset, that I've clever seen...

Offline rdelius

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2015, 11:26:47 AM »
The cup and faceplate are not reproduction.Cup is the earlier style that has the lug changed and the hole for the wire plugged

Offline Alex Wander

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2015, 04:43:38 PM »
Hi Jack, thanks for the reply
The phone does have all the original wiring. Earlier this year I got it working, installed a "network" from Old Phone Guy and replaced the receiver as well. In my response to Bill G I erroneously said the transmitter cup was replaced, meant the receiver. 
The speaker in my original receiver is MIA. Probably my fault for loosing it when I was a kid. 
I would be interested in getting it back to original condition and adding a subset. It such a great phone with so many memories from my youth. I'd love to do it justice and get it back to it's original setup.

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2015, 05:04:44 PM »
Great phone, Alex!!

I would vote that you paint it black, or have a company powdercoat it for you in gloss black. Those dial sticks don't look good in bare brass IMO; they look beautiful in black!! 8)

As for the subset, you might want to get a '70s version if you just want functionality over authenticity; period-correct subsets from the '20s tend to go for $60-$100 in good shape online. However, I expect you could get a later version for around $20.

Another option is getting a dial card installed. Telephone Archive has great copies available for printout. (Use the selectable ones, those are high-resolution. Copy it into a Word document or Photoshop and resize it to 32 percent of its original size.)

http://www.telephonearchive.com/numbercards/index.html

Here's a nice example of a black-painted 50AL:
« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 05:14:08 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian Petterson

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Offline Sargeguy

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2015, 05:52:59 PM »
Can you show a side view of the dial and fingerstop?

The transmitter and cup are a little unexpected for a 50Al.  The cup is an older design that was re-used by the Bell System for this phone, but is otherwise correct.  Typically the transmitter tag should have AT&T markings on it, but may not if it was modified. Is the 50-AL mark crossed out?
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Alex Wander

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2015, 07:06:37 PM »
Here you go Sargeguy, The 50AL is not crossed out.
Thanks for the info on the dial card Christian! I just printed one up!

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2015, 02:31:52 PM »
That is not the dial that a 50-AL would have had originally, it is a later addition.  A 50-AL would have had a 2AA or 2AB most likely.  This looks like a 4H or 5H.  Do you have pictures of the phone with the base removed?  It would help to see the wiring and the back of the dial. 
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Alex Wander

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2015, 07:18:08 PM »
Sorry for the delay Sargeguy, Here's a shot of the underneath.

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2015, 07:53:12 PM »
A 5M dial with new wiring.  What are your intentions for this?  Do you want to get it back into all original condition?  Or do you just want to have it look like it is in original condition?
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

unbeldi

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2015, 08:08:43 PM »
I am sure a lot of desk stands were revived after the war with 5H dials, so it is not wrong, just not original.

A 5M is a bit surprising.  It's a 5H adapted for use in 5302 sets from 1955-1965, now reverted to the original type of number plate.

Offline Alex Wander

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2015, 08:40:53 PM »
Hi Greg (can I call you Greg?)
Not really sure of my intentions at this point. The phone was a lamp/desk ornament for my first 47 years, now it's a "working" candlestick which I am absolutely thrilled about! I guess to answer your question, I'd have to ask you a question. What would getting it back to original condition entail? The more I think about it, the more interesting the prospect becomes!

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: 50AL question
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2015, 09:48:24 PM »
For a 50-Al  you will need a 2AB dial, a 50-Al wiring harness and a couple of replica cords.  You will also need a 144AW receiver and a 295A or 335 subset.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409