Author Topic: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!  (Read 8358 times)

Offline DavePEI

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4002
  • Telephone Museum of Prince Edward Island
    • The Telephone Museum of Prince Edward Island
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2016, 06:33:20 PM »
As we both told you we are continuing to do. Fact is, John remembers that exact phone - not its type - that exact phone. He was the designer of these. This is not second hand. It is from the horse's mouth. We are and shall continue trying to find out more. Believe it or not, the techniques you use to find more information will not work in Canada. We had a different system from the U.S. It all takes time, and we do not appreciate pressure from you or anyone else, as we continue our research. Give us space, and give us time. It is a huge untold history, and we have the ear of the Godfather of the Contempra. No huge reservoir of information exists which is publicly accessible. Bell records are closed. The Bell archives is manned by only one lady, and is not open to te Public.  This phone never would have made it to it, as Bell decided in their ultimate wisdom not to put it into production.  There is no better resource than the man who designed them.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 06:35:26 PM by DavePEI »
The Telephone Museum of Prince Edward Island:
http://www.islandregister.com/phones/museum.html
Free Admission - Call (902) 651-2762 to arrange a visit!
C*NET 1-651-0001

Offline paul-f

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2808
    • Old Telephones as Entertainment!
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2016, 07:07:41 PM »
Dave,
 
I'm sorry if I gave you the impression I'm trying to pressure you.
 
Believe me, my intent is to be fully supportive and suggest some things that have worked elsewhere.
 
I wouldn't take the time to write if I didn't think it was important.
 
Do you think the info is presented to us in the US on a silver platter? We had to dig and dig to find the sources of information and work over many years to even find any contacts, then had to work for many years to gain credibility to get them to talk with us. For many years, the AT&T Archives were also manned by one man and were closed to the public. They are still nearly impossible to access. Some of the info we have has taken over 20 years to get.  We have still only scratched the surface.
 
In fact, much of the info did not come from the archives, but from examining found sets in collector hands and snippets of information found in employee magazines published in the 1950-70 timeframe.
 
Over the last 20 years, I personally have cultivated relationships with dozens of former Bell System employees. Some have since passed away, so I was lucky to interview them at all. Many other potantial contacts proved to be dead ends -- literally. I was too late.
 
We're hopefully all on the same side here -- trying to preserve the history of telephony.
 
Unfortunately, the sands of time are running out on us, when it comes to getting info from folks with first hand knowledge.
 
While working with John is clearly not an opportunity to be missed, I would encourage the group to continue to seek other contacts to develop in parallel with John. Perhaps he can provide some other leads to other former employees.
 
P.S.  Even if I was trying to pressure you (which I am not), you have the ability to choose how you respond emotionally when reading my messages. In the future, please try to temper your response when reading my messages with the knowledge that I mean well and am enthusiastically supportive of your efforts.
 
If it really bothers you and you want me to stop responding to your messages and offering support, let me know and I'll try to control myself.
 
Visit: paul-f.com         WE 500  Design_Line

.

Dominic_ContempraPhones

  • Guest
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2016, 01:29:23 AM »
Robert Guth told me about this.  I own the medium blue one on Paul's site -- bought it off eBay years ago, and it's boxed up, somewhere in my basement, unless my memory is playing tricks on me.  See Paul, I didn't object to you lifting one of my shots!  It's too bad I missed your auction ... I wanted the faux wooden ones, light, and dark, but I usually go after NIB.

That was not a standard Contempra color (the medium blue speakerphone one) -- it wasn't deep turquoise (MD73), mauve (MD73), or deep blue.  John's memory may be a little fuzzy after all these years, but I have seen prototypes, and they were usually done in clear plastic.  A Vista 350 had the BNR logo imprinted on it.  I saw a few at Aastra's facilities in Vaughan.  Clear Vista 390s I think.  Even the Powertouch 470 -- it was commercially available, and I managed to get one, but it was very difficult.

That Contempra switch was locking and was meant to activate the speaker so that the handset could be placed on the cradle while keeping the line open -- it needed an external mic.  I seriously doubt it was half-duplex.  Many Contempras were capable of A-lead control, not just that one.

As for the Talias, they were sent to Italy to get the leather stitched on, and the Italians (I'm Italian by the way) did a really good job.  They retailed for $150.  They weren't made in Italy, but they were sold commercially in the US by a telco, can't remember who.  John T. is wrong on that one I'm afraid.  The American Club editions -- those were individually numbered -- same concept -- but no stitching.  Some were tacky (the alligator one), but some were nice.  They weren't "modern" if you know what I mean.  Contempra was a play on words for a contemporary phone, and the color schemes make them look less modern.  I have a 2-liner with voltage message waiting indication, and the smoke 3100 chiming DIGITPULSE -- a typo on the set itself.  It actually chimed when the pulsing caught up to you.  If you pressed the keys and waited for each outpulse to finish, it chimed on each button.  If not, it chimed at the end.  The * inserted a pause for outside line 2nd dial tone.  Nobody was told about that feature, and the handset cord required 7 leads.  It had the soft dial -- not the chu snap action dial.  I have the Talias in rotary and digitone, two BLACK contempras (tone), and mauve NOS (rotary).  Here are some that I have where pictures are on my computer (oxblood was rare).  They were called black pearl, minx, and other weird names I can't recall right now.  I also had the digitone mauve (lavender) but sold it and almost got a deep turquoise NIB rotary.  I guess I was in a rotten mood that day and didn't bid my max.  I did see a 10-button Contempra -- that was a non-production model.  It was an all-numeric TT pad though.

As for whether the speakerphone was a prototype, I'm not sure.  Bell may not have bought any, but those kind of cutouts were normal -- the NE princess sets had them.  I saw Contempra marine radiotelephones and posted shots on Dave's site.

I did write to John but he hasn't responded.  Of course I wasn't there in '71, so I cannot say with absolute certainty, but I have a Vista 360 from the Guelph Mondex trials -- that wasn't a prototype, but you won't see many of those around.  There were other prototypes before the M3000.  The one I've attached below was a later prototype.

If anyone wants more info ... fire away.

Dominic_ContempraPhones

  • Guest
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2016, 01:53:57 AM »
As we both told you we are continuing to do. Fact is, John remembers that exact phone - not its type - that exact phone. He was the designer of these. This is not second hand. It is from the horse's mouth. We are and shall continue trying to find out more. Believe it or not, the techniques you use to find more information will not work in Canada. We had a different system from the U.S. It all takes time, and we do not appreciate pressure from you or anyone else, as we continue our research. Give us space, and give us time. It is a huge untold history, and we have the ear of the Godfather of the Contempra. No huge reservoir of information exists which is publicly accessible. Bell records are closed. The Bell archives is manned by only one lady, and is not open to te Public.  This phone never would have made it to it, as Bell decided in their ultimate wisdom not to put it into production.  There is no better resource than the man who designed them.

Dave, will you relax?  It was 45 years ago.  You can't expect John to remember it perfectly.  I know a lot about Contempra, yet nobody asked me.  You guys couldn't figure out what that thing was in the COs and it was a Norstar ACD unit.  What it was doing in a DMS office I'll never know -- it won't work on DMS line cards.  I have sources.  Chill!

Dominic_ContempraPhones

  • Guest
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #34 on: April 18, 2016, 02:12:54 AM »
All pretty cool stuff! I find it amazing how many different telephone set models NE and NT must have made over the years. Even on relatively boring analog sets say for use behind PBX's there seemed to be endless variations made by NT. I would have two or three almost identical in the same case but a different button or two for some feature and then I would run into yet another version at another installation. Then add in all the sets marketed for residential and all the Norstar, M1 (SL1) Meridain, and NT Centrex sets, then into VOIP and all the other specialty sets not covered in these categories. It boggles the imagination.

I was going to merge the two topics on this phone back together with a title similar to the title on this topic. I think most find it preferable to keep all the talk about a specific phone together in one location. Many times a discussion starts in the Yard Sale or Auction Talk categories but eventually progresses to where it should rightfully be in a different category as it no longer really matters where it came from such as this phone.

But, I cant decide for certain....would Contempras rightfully be a Decorator / Design Line phone? I suspect that Contempra somewhat bridges the divide between more advanced regular Telco property telephones and Customer Owned Decorator type phones.

If no one has any other opinions on where Contempra's should really be here on CRPF or any objection to merging the two topics, I will do that later today. Meanwhile, keep the great info coming!

I knew that I had a few new spare Contempra cords here so I dug them out. All I have is dark green, red, gold, yellow and Beige. Some are 3 and some 4 conductor, some are 5.5 feet long and some are 13 feet long. Nothing 6 conductor. Somewhere I have a 2 line Contempra in either white or Ivory which I bet would have had a 6 conductor cord but no idea if it does now or not.

Terry

There were 5 conductor cords for digitone, and 7 for digipulse (the 70s versions).

SL-1/Meridian-1 wedgies, compact M1x, Aries I and II M2x and Taurus M390x, Meridian Digital Centrex M5x, Meridian ISDN M7?, Meridian Norstar M and T, and Meridian Analog 8000 and 9000 series were all variations because of the protocol underneath.  Norstar was a truncated version of Meridian ISDN, but also a derivative of SL-1/M-1.  No 2nd bearer channel on Norstar.  What else, the analogs morphed into Type 2 caller ID and FSK MWI near the end.  The basic version was still VMWI off Option 11 analog MW line cards (the 8000s).  Then there was the collective brain Venture DTAD system which essentially made small Norstar systems obsolete.  A key system with no centralized hardware.  They morphed Norstar into full PBX with digital trunk interfaces, etc.  The hybrid Vantage was very entertaining too.

Contempra was rental-only, as was Solo.  Symphony was retail.  Imagination sets were like Design Line in the US.

Unistim IP started with i2004, then i2002 (in purple) -- phase 0, then went to phase 1, then phase 2 (bevel).  Then came the i2007.  Then came the 11x and 12x, and finally the 1535 video SIP.  The 1165e was probably the most sophisticated one.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2016, 07:46:09 AM by Dominic_ContempraPhones »

Offline AE_Collector

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6506
  • AE 2 - AECo's 1st Self Contained Desk Phone 1925
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2016, 04:08:14 PM »
Dave, will you relax?  It was 45 years ago.  You can't expect John to remember it perfectly.  I know a lot about Contempra, yet nobody asked me.  You guys couldn't figure out what that thing was in the COs and it was a Norstar ACD unit.  What it was doing in a DMS office I'll never know -- it won't work on DMS line cards.  I have sources.  Chill!

I would expect that Norstar gizmo was in a CO as part of the CO phone system, nothing to do with the fact that it happened to be a DMS office. I had never seen one before either yet I have been in lots of CO's in British Columbia, most equipped with Norstar phone systems and I have installed many Norstar and BCM phone systems for other customers.

Here is topic about the Norstar Unit that you are referring to I believe. Maybe you can add some insite to the topic for us.

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=14909.0

Dave was just getting a bit bent out of shape about some of the questioning of the info being presented. He is fine now about it...it all smoothed over! Too many experts is a GOOD think I think!

Speaking of which Dominic, you bring some very good info to the forum. Can you enlighten us as to who you are and/or what your career was etc. You have some very good NT info. There is a New Member Introductions area under Forum News I believe, maybe when you have time you could give us a quick intro?

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?board=49.0

Terry
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 12:05:07 PM by AE_Collector »

Dominic_ContempraPhones

  • Guest
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2016, 06:02:07 PM »
Speaking of which Dominic, you bring some very good info to the forum. Can you enlighten us as to who you are and/or what your career was etc. You have some very good NT info. There is a New Member Introductions area under Forum News I believe, maybe when you have time you could give us a quick intro?

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?board=49.0

Terry

Sure -- I worked for both Bell Canada and Nortel -- Bell first.  My brother worked for Nortel also.  Neighbor worked at the phone refurb plant, who used to swipe new Contempras like hotcakes by the way.

I didn't work for BNR proper but I knew what they were working on, and I knew a lot of people throughout the organization.  I understood the underlying technology, who and what drove it, plus all of the infighting there between the various groups.  At one point the DMS and Meridian groups were not on speaking terms, and DMS was moved to the US.  I'm certainly not that old, but I heard lots of stories from old-timers while I was there, plus I had access to all sorts of documentation on the internals.  I was a computer science major so it was easy to pick up on that.  I thought their interfaces stunk though, and I made that known many times.  When I worked on the Bell side, there were people there from the early 60s who also liked to talk.

Unfortunately, Bell Labs made fun of NE's exploratory digital research in the late 60s and early 70s, which never sat well with them and kinda created a permanent rift that never really healed, especially when they got it to work.  So, they never licensed another WE design -- no card dialers, etc.  That's why they developed Logic on the 1A2 side.  NE got lucky actually.  Bell Canada had deep pockets and they had some brilliant people who formed BNR and pulled it off.  They were truly scared, as they had relied on WE/Bell Labs, but it was sink or swim, so they had to do something radical.  It was so complicated because the computer processors back then just weren't fast enough and they were locked into the clock speeds available at that time.  NT would have died a lot sooner if Reagan hadn't dismantled the Bell System and allowed us back in to the US RBOC market.  Well, that's a brief synopsis anyway.  WE sort of lost their direction by around 1970.  They had lots of good ideas, but never really followed through.  SG-1 was a Western Electric idea from the early 60s.  SP-1 was a Bell Canada mandate for smaller forms of 1ESS.  At one point, one of the engineers just said, let's just make the whole thing digital, and it was as simple as that.  WE laughed, and Bell was skeptical, but they bought into the idea because the engineers convinced them that a switch with no moving parts would save them money, so from SL-1 they scaled up to DMS.  PULSE -- they called it that because it used Analog PAM (Pulse Amplitude Modulation) on the voice path, but it could only handle a limited number of simultaneous calls, so it wouldn't be able to handle the call volume in a central office.

There's lots I could talk about, but there was so much going on there.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 12:28:44 AM by Dominic_ContempraPhones »

Offline Duffy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1144
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2016, 05:15:49 AM »
On April 14th 2016, I ordered John Tysonís book ďAdventures In InnovationĒ from Amazon.ca. It gives good insight on the man, the job and the company. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his book. I would recommend this book, itís worth the read.

http://www.adventuresininnovation.ca/
CDN Doug

Offline Contempra

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 926
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #38 on: June 06, 2016, 03:29:15 PM »
If i find one like this, i will keep it in my collection...Nice one anyway
Denis

Offline Duffy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1144
1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop! UPDATED
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2016, 10:29:06 PM »
Today I received a signed letter of provenance from John Tyson for the Prototype Contempra Speaker Phone that I own. The pictures he signed are the ones he returned to me, I had sent them to him when I was first looking for information on this phone. The attached pictures are self explanatory. Sorry for the watermarking's on the pictures, but I was advised to do it.
CDN Doug

Offline Duffy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1144
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #40 on: June 13, 2016, 10:30:04 PM »
The rest of the pictures.
CDN Doug

Offline DavePEI

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4002
  • Telephone Museum of Prince Edward Island
    • The Telephone Museum of Prince Edward Island
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #41 on: June 13, 2016, 10:37:47 PM »
Congratulations, Doug!
The Telephone Museum of Prince Edward Island:
http://www.islandregister.com/phones/museum.html
Free Admission - Call (902) 651-2762 to arrange a visit!
C*NET 1-651-0001

Online TelePlay

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6501
  • A Ringy-Dingy Thingy
    • . . . been good so far
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #42 on: June 13, 2016, 10:44:34 PM »
Very nice, Doug.

Now you have the whole package for posterity, a one of a kind without a doubt.

            John . . .

              

Offline Dennis Markham

  • VintageRotaryPhones.com
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5583
    • VintageRotaryPhones.com
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #43 on: June 14, 2016, 05:48:09 AM »
Very cool, Doug!  Congratulations.

~Dennis

Offline Jim S.

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3087
Re: 1971 NE Contempra Speakerphone Prototype found at a Thrift Shop!
« Reply #44 on: June 14, 2016, 09:19:42 AM »
It was great you were able to get documentation, It was great that you were even able to get the lead to start the conversation leading up to getting the letter. 

The thread regarding your phone is part of the documentation as well.
Great job,
Jim S.
You live, You learn,
You die, you forget it all.