Author Topic: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!  (Read 3008 times)

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3411
  • Grandpa's 1955 Western Electric 500
My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« on: November 29, 2015, 08:21:59 PM »
Well, not quite yet, but I found several major parts that I needed in order to start restoration.

As some of you know, I found two 10 button 3 slot upper housings at a flea market last September. I figured that finding the rest of a 3 slot would be incredibly easy...WRONG!!! Everywhere I looked for a backboard and lower housing, someone would buy it for just a little more than I was willing to pay. Not only that, but I'm looking for parts in duplicate; twice as hard!!!

Fortunately, I managed to pull through on two backboards and one lower housing tonight. The lower housing and one of the backboards are connected to an upper housing, which appears to have been a chrome NE at one point. It's basically a hull of a phone now, so I don't feel too bad about parting it out. I got that for $65. The other backboard was on a beige 233G, and was listed for $11.99. It has a chip in the side, but it should be able to be patched with some powdercoat-safe body putty.

Both upper housings are mostly complete, save for a couple screws that hold the coin return button and coin chute in place. I plan on sending in a sample green G3 handset cap to Columbia Coatings to custom mix a powdercoat batch for both phones.

Before that, I still need to find the rest of the pieces for each, including another lower housing. Anybody have one they would be willing to sell? The rest shouldn't be all that hard, hopefully... :o

Overall, pretty happy that I can finally get this project off the ground!

Original topic: http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=12730

Backboard and lower housing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/371495934273

Backboard: http://www.ebay.com/itm/172012099839
« Last Edit: November 29, 2015, 08:30:13 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline Payphone installer

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 537
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2015, 08:01:51 AM »
You have two very nice upper housing that are very hard to come by. The value of these two phones completed could be anywhere from 1200.00 to 2400.00 dollars. You do not what to throw them together with a bunch of substandard parts. The parts you are looking fo are not that hard to come by and not that expensive. You have found the hard parts. I can help you get very close to completing the parts you need to do this right. Jim

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3411
  • Grandpa's 1955 Western Electric 500
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2015, 10:01:05 AM »
You have two very nice upper housing that are very hard to come by. The value of these two phones completed could be anywhere from 1200.00 to 2400.00 dollars. You do not what to throw them together with a bunch of substandard parts. The parts you are looking fo are not that hard to come by and not that expensive. You have found the hard parts. I can help you get very close to completing the parts you need to do this right. Jim
I sent you a PM.
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3411
  • Grandpa's 1955 Western Electric 500
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2016, 06:16:36 PM »
Okay, take two...

I finally found some worthwhile parts on eBay. $75 for a frankenphone 3-slot without the upper housing. (better off that way, I don't have any idea what I would do with another spare upper housing... :o )

I was a little disappointed when I saw the NE backboard, and although it's completely compatible with WE parts, I was told that these upper housings are worth more than to be used with non-matching parts from different manufacturers. It arrived today, and I was relieved to see that it has a WE lower housing! I have a spare WE backboard (previous post), so they will be assembled together. I can use the rest of the parts with the complete phone after everything is sandblasted and powdercoated.

It appears this was built by someone out of non-matching parts. Experts: What other innards do I need other than what's pictured to bring this to factory-spec for one of my 1234s? Please use layman's terms! ;)

I would like to use matching parts and 1234G parts to use for this, but it won't really matter in the end; everything will end up being sandblasted and powder coated anyway. The rare upper housings themselves have holes drilled in the tops, they were lamps at one point and were once probably considered junk.

I don't have the money to restore these to museum-quality authenticity with matching parts, but I will do the very best I can to restore them to the way they looked out of the factory. So long as the parts are correct WE, or at least impossible to distinguish from correct parts when complete, I'll be happy.

www.ebay.com/itm/152270748554
« Last Edit: October 13, 2016, 06:20:15 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline poplar1

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5772
  • 102C-6 = "Old Brass" Hand Telephone Set
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2016, 08:01:56 PM »
Here is a photo from one of Stan S.'s articles:  (photo attached below)
http://atcaonline.com/WE200payphones.html

Note the terminal board at the top of the phone, and the connector for the plug from the upper housing. Are there other differences compared to a 234G backplate?

Also, here is a wiring diagram:
http://telephonecollectors.info/index.php/document-repository/doc_details/3037-506-319-429-i3-coin-collector-1234g-connections-tl  (TCI)
« Last Edit: October 13, 2016, 08:04:22 PM by poplar1 »
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline trainman

  • ****
  • Posts: 475
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2016, 01:25:05 PM »
the extra terminals on the board are for a resistor. the original 685D subset had the resistor in the subset. later the use of 685A subsets eliminated the resistor in the subset and they were mounted in the phone. the resistor can be mounted elsewhere. doesnt need to be on the terminal strip. the resistor is needed to not burn out the transistor in the dial.

i would consult with StanS for more information.

puttng a top flag on the phones should cover the hole they drilled when they made it  lamp, unless they drilled in front of the coin guage.

My black 1234g came from ebay. it was listed three times with only the last auction getting bids. i ended up with mine as a second chnce bid, as the winner couldn't pay. what did i pay? all of $525.  the ones the collectors want are already in collections. new collectors wont pay big bucks. and i wont either. and i doubt i could sell mine for more than what i paid anyway. i dont see the collector base as large as it used to be.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2016, 01:30:26 PM by trainman »

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3411
  • Grandpa's 1955 Western Electric 500
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2017, 03:35:16 PM »
Well, after the disappointing news with my 197G, I decided to set it aside and work on another, more complete, payphone project!

I decided not to use the lower housing/backboard I bought, and figured parts in much better condition would be more correct on a more valuable phone. I can use the broken parts for a different upper housing down the line.

I have a 1966 beige 233G that was completely gutted. I figured, rather than trying to refill it with parts, I think it would be better to use the backboard and lower housing for one of my 1234s.

I just discovered that one of my 1234 upper housings are showing black when I scratch the green surface paint. I think I already know the answer, but can I assume that it was originally Black? It also has a 3-66 date inside, on top of the Green. Because the date here is most likely a refurb date, should I bother re-stamping it after powdercoating (assuming it goes Black)?
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3411
  • Grandpa's 1955 Western Electric 500
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2017, 04:23:59 PM »
Here is a (very bad) picture of the inside scratches and date stamp. Both 1234G upper housings are green and have the same stamping style inside, but it looks like this one was painted black at one point. However, I don't see Green overspray showing bare black anywhere. Pretty strange. Any thoughts?
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline RotarDad

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 593
  • '65 WE 236G
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2017, 05:24:00 PM »
Christian - From what I've seen with 3-slots, I bet many older units were completely stripped of parts, including the worn coin gauges, then repainted and new parts installed.    One of your uppers may have been from a black 233G that was well-worn and refurbed into a "new" unit.   The other thought is perhaps some parts in the WE factory that were painted black were sent back to the paint booth to complete a large, unexpected order for green.  Others here may know for sure what the WE factory or refurb centers may have done.   Payphones were an industrial product, not a home decorator item, so the "fit & finish" was more about security and corrosion protection, rather than beauty.
Paul

Offline RotarDad

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 593
  • '65 WE 236G
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2017, 05:33:12 PM »
One more thought - Those uppers are valuable parts.  A collector would probably assign more value to the original paint they have now, regardless of condition, versus a new powdercoat.   I know there  are two camps in most hobbies about this - should I repaint my classic car or leave the worn, original paint?    My vote would be to leave the uppers as is and have some paint mixed to match the backboard/vault you plan to use.  I am a "preserve the originality where possible" guy.  Again, just a hobby; your choice.....
Paul

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3411
  • Grandpa's 1955 Western Electric 500
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2017, 07:22:24 PM »
Thanks for the info about a probable factory refurbishment. That's probably the only instance of WE refurbishment at the factory that I have ever heard of. What I don't get is: how could they have manipulated the metal under the dial area of a 233G to get the squared off flat plate this 1234G has.

Believe me, I try to preserve paint whenever I can, but this paint is too far gone to preserve. The bottom edge is chipping off, and is very rusted. It also has lighter colored touch-up paint everywhere, which is starting to rust through even more. Someone along the line also drilled a 3/4 inch hole in the top. Plus, the lower housings and backboards are missing, and the effort trying to find a backboard and lower housing in Green with the same level of wear and patina would be better spent giving the phones a well-deserved restoration IMHO. To me, it's just not worth trying to save the paint on the outside of these phones. If it was in great shape, I'd touch it up and powdercoat the lower and backboard, but in the condition they're in, it just won't look right.

My plan before was to sandblast everything and powdercoat it black (what I thought the factory color was), but now that I know it was Green from the factory, I decided that I will strip the outside instead of sandblasting, and the inside will be masked off to preserve the dates and paint.

The powder will be custom color matched by the powdercoating company.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2017, 09:58:44 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline RotarDad

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 593
  • '65 WE 236G
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2017, 11:46:34 PM »
Christian - I was speculating about the reason for the black underneath the green paint.  I could certainly be wrong.  I didn't know about the touch tone version having a different hole config under that large stainless panel - unlikely rotary models were refurbed in that case.  Hopefully someone else with greater knowledge will chime in.

I understand about the paint - if it's too far gone, you are probably better off repainting.  Always nice to preserve the ink stamps if possible.... Paul
Paul

Offline Stan S

  • ****
  • Posts: 327
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2017, 01:02:04 AM »
"My plan before was to sandblast everything and powdercoat it black (what I thought the factory color was), but now that I know it was Green from the factory, I decided that I will strip the outside instead of sandblasting, and the inside will be masked off to preserve the dates and paint.

The powder will be custom color matched by the powdercoating company."

Christian
You obviously have never attempted to refinish a 3-slot top.
If you take a close look at the coin gauge assembly you'll find that it's mounted on a separate plate from the rest of the top.
The coin gauge assembly has 3 washer rejectors that are nylon. If you sandblast and powder coat the top as one piece when you go to cure the powder (300-400 degrees) the washer rejectors will turn into cinders. You can then take the top and toss it in the garbage.

You will have to grind or drill out the rivets that hold the plate with the gauge assembly and paint that assembly separately- not with powder or any liquid paint that needs high temp. to cure.

Assuming you accomplish all this and you can find liquid paint that matches the custom blended green powder, where are you going the find the rivets to put it all back together. Even more importantly where are you going to find the press and the fixtures to position the top so it can be re-riveted. There's very little room on the inside of that top.

All of the 3-slot tops where stamped from a flat piece of sheet metal. They were then bent and seam welded. The top of that Touch Tone phone was never for a rotary dial. There's a large square cut that's under the front chrome plate. I suspect that the black that's under the green is nothing but a primer or a rust inhibitor. You'll find that the factory green and beige paint that Western used on those payphones was a totally different formula than the black paint. I've stripped hundreds of black 200 series Westerns with sodium hydroxide and hot water. I DON'T SANDBLAST THEM! Green and beige Westerns laugh at sodium hydroxide. Might as well be soap and water. Original Western green and beige paint is bullet proof. I've tried every paint stripper on the market. NOTHING WORKS.

The only way you will be able to refinish that payphone is have all the metal sandblasted. Then take it to an auto body shop and have all the case parts painted with liquid paint and cured at a very low temperature to protect the nylon washer rejectors (which you will have to mask).  I don't know where you live, but in New York City with all the environmental laws you are talking about A LOT OF MONEY.

Stan S.

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3411
  • Grandpa's 1955 Western Electric 500
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2017, 01:49:38 AM »
Stan:

As for the coin gauge: it's already removed, and the nylon rejectors are out safe and sound. I had to take a Dremel to the old rivets for the coin gauge and drill them out, but everything worked out smoothly. I've made myself 100% sure that there is nothing on the upper that could be melted in the oven. Right now, the upper is completely disassembled, and all of the parts are organized in bags. The only part not removed is the arm that controls the coin release button, but it will be masked off with heat-resistant powdercoating tape I've used before. Is the coin gauge plate something other than metal?

I have used Rustoleum Aircraft Remover with great success on every paint I've tried it on. I don't know what paints you've worked with in the past, but this stuff melts off like a dream when I tested a spot with Acetone. It took about 5 seconds of rubbing to get down to bare metal. I'm sure paint stripper will take it off like nothing. Because the upper has dates and paint inside that I will be preserving, and the mismatched lower and backboard don't, the latter two will be sandblasted. My Dad has a sandblaster, and we do our own powdercoating. The only out-of-pocket cost will be the price of the powder.

Instead of the press-on rivets, I will probably use self-tapping rivets, like the kind used on coin return plates for Grays and early WEs. If the ones on Old Phone Shop aren't the right size, I can always visit my local Fastenal and see if they have the right type. What I like about the self-tapping is that they look correct, you don't need to mechanically press them in place, and if they don't work out or someone wants to replace them in the future, they can always be removed. I was also thinking about possibly using a bolt with a rivet head (like the bolts for the instruction flag), just to make the system a little more normal.

PS: I have sandblasted and powdercoated a 3 slot upper before. It was an AE, so it didn't have the coin release arm in the way. I believe I also took a different approach to re-mounting the coin gauge...
« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 02:06:22 AM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline Stan S

  • ****
  • Posts: 327
Re: My 1234Gs, Finally Being Restored!!
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2017, 02:34:27 AM »
Christian
Good luck!
Stan S.