Author Topic: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!  (Read 8315 times)

Offline Duffy

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I picked up this 1971 Contempra Speakerphone with dates matching at a local thrift store yesterday for $2.50. I noticed the hand written numbers 22 and 23 in orange on the phone, also the Bell - Northern Research tag. There isnít a model number printed on the bottom or inside that I can see. There is a number stamped on the handset NE H1QAX=71. Bell - Northern Research was an R & D Company formed between Bell and Northern Electric in 1971. So I was thinking that this phone could possibly be a prototype phone. Maybe a Northern Electric employee took it home to test and never returned it??? Northern Electric was a big employer here in Belleville before their Bankruptcy. The phone was set up for a wall phone with the wall mounting bracket. When I took it apart, I noticed the wall cord had been cut. The old cord can be seen right beside the ringer.  I e-mailed other members Dave Hunter and Jeff Lamb looking for information on this phone. Both Dave and Jeff had never seen one like it. Jeff send me some information that makes me believe that it could very well be a rare prototype Contempra phone.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 09:10:16 PM by Autonut »
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Offline Duffy

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2016, 03:49:13 PM »
More pictures show a stock Contempra and the speakerphone. The handset cord is much thicker then the stock cord.
CDN Doug

Offline jsowers

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2016, 04:09:30 PM »
Doug, have you tried hooking it up? Does it work? I would think the speaker part needed a small power supply, maybe a wall wart of some kind. Does it say anything about what voltage?

It certainly does look different from any Contempra I've ever seen. Congratulations on a great find!
Jonathan

Offline Duffy

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2016, 04:21:04 PM »
Doug, have you tried hooking it up? Does it work? I would think the speaker part needed a small power supply, maybe a wall wart of some kind. Does it say anything about what voltage?

It certainly does look different from any Contempra I've ever seen. Congratulations on a great find!

Jonathan,

I haven't tried it yet, I'm off Sunday so I will check it out better then. I'll let you know about the voltage.
CDN Doug

Offline DavePEI

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2016, 06:43:45 PM »
Doug, have you tried hooking it up? Does it work? I would think the speaker part needed a small power supply, maybe a wall wart of some kind. Does it say anything about what voltage?

It certainly does look different from any Contempra I've ever seen. Congratulations on a great find!

Jonathan,

I haven't tried it yet, I'm off Sunday so I will check it out better then. I'll let you know about the voltage.
I suspect that is correct  it would require an external power source - I suspect  15 volts injected through the second pair, as marked on the card. 2012B Transf.... 2012B is rated at 15-18 volts AC.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 10:18:02 PM by AE_Collector »
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Offline DavePEI

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2016, 07:30:57 PM »
Doug:

I took one of you photos - the comparison of the innards of this vs/ a standerd Contempra phone, and added notes. Note the extended switch-hook contacts for A lead control, smaller Princess style ringer t make room for the speaker, and amplifier board, and of course the speaker and controls.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 06:48:37 AM by DavePEI »
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Offline Duffy

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2016, 08:32:26 PM »
Thanks Dave.

I'm at work for the next couple of nights, I'm off Sunday I'll be checking it out more then.
CDN Doug

Offline DavePEI

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2016, 09:27:17 PM »
Doug asked me to post this.. We have had a bit of a discussion going on about this phone on the Museum Facebook page, and Robert Guth, ex-BNR and Nortel had the following comment..

BNR was created in 1971 and the tag shows the original 1971 text signature w/separate logo (referring to the BNR tag on the phone). He also says that he didn't know this version of the Contempra existed..

At first they used this text/graphic logo, then later went to a combined initials/logo version. All lending authenticity to the tag. Later logo shown below.

Robert worked with John Tyson, the designer of the Contempra, but Robert's specialty was architecture.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 09:41:18 PM by DavePEI »
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Offline RotarDad

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2016, 10:05:46 PM »
CNN Doug - This is a great find!  What are the odds that a prototype would in up in a thrift store, and then be found by a phone guy!  I know it's only 4/1, but this phone will get my FOTM vote for April.  And you can't beat the price either!!
Paul

Offline Duffy

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2016, 11:52:32 PM »
CDN Doug - This is a great find!  What are the odds that a prototype would in up in a thrift store, and then be found by a phone guy!  I know it's only 4/1, but this phone will get my FOTM vote for April.  And you can't beat the price either!!

Paul

My odds are good,
 
1 ) I live in the city where Northern Electric made some of the R & D phones.

2 ) The older Northern employees are down sizing or have passed away. Their belonging are being donated.
I truly believe that this is the case with this phone. It was real dirty and I think no one wanted to pick it up. I thought it was a knock off copy when I first seen it. When I picked it up and looked at the bottom, I owned it from that moment on.

3 ) I work 12 hr shifts. On my days off through the week I go on a route to all the thrift stores looking for collectibles.
I have it timed so that I start at the first one at 9:00 when it opens and move on to the next few that open at 10:00. I spent no more than 15 minutes in each place. 

I have found many Northern Electric items on my runs. Last week I picked up a framed picture of some Northern Electric employees standing along side of a large metal cabinet with Pulse written on it. It was from the late 60', early 70's for $2.00 A lady I know who had worked there knew some of the people. I gave it to her. She was happy to get it.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2016, 05:44:00 AM by Autonut »
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Offline paul-f

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2016, 11:56:38 PM »
Wonderful find, Doug.
 
Photos of a blue one surfaced about ten years ago and discussions at the time were inconclusive. Hopefully more info will come to light.
 
   http://www.paul-f.com/Imagination.html#ContempraSpeakerphone
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Offline Duffy

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2016, 12:01:16 AM »
Wonderful find, Doug.
 
Photos of a blue one surfaced about ten years ago and discussions at the time were inconclusive. Hopefully more info will come to light.
 
   http://www.paul-f.com/Imagination.html#ContempraSpeakerphone

Thanks Paul,

I had seen that. Dave Hunter had told me about that one. This one was a mounted on a modular adapter for wall use as well.

I'm thinking that this phone is # 23 of ? because of the hand written numbers.

If you want Paul, feel free to post any of the pictures on your site if you like.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 12:17:39 AM by Autonut »
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Offline paul-f

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2016, 12:06:40 PM »
If you want Paul, feel free to post any of the pictures on your site if you like.

Thanks, Doug.
 
I posted a link to this topic and will add a few of the photos to the page in the future.
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Offline Duffy

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2016, 03:12:57 PM »
Here are some pictures of what the phone looked like before I cleaned it and took it apart. Covered in nicotine and dirt, it was nasty. No wonder no one would pick it up and handle it. It also shows the price of $2.50. It was priced accordingly.
CDN Doug

Offline Duffy

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Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2016, 05:08:23 PM »
The phone works, itís alive! I hooked it up to a Nortel wall wart. 16 Volts at 250 ma and wired it for a desk phone. Hooked it up to the land line and called myself with my Magic Jack phone. Iím going to video it with my iPod and try to post it. The switch set up isnít very good, as a matter of fact in downright cheaply made. It looks like a hack job. The toggle switch is a momentary switch. Push and hold it on and you hear whatever is coming though the handset on the speaker, let it go and it is off. The line cord brought the power into the phone, it has 6 wires just like the Princess Phone.
CDN Doug