Author Topic: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel  (Read 3555 times)

Offline mdodds

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AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« on: April 12, 2016, 12:00:23 PM »
I just got this AE40 from ebay (Seller took a $24 offer + shipping)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Automatic-Electric-Monophone-4123-ASL-Rotary-Brass-Dial-Telephone-Phone-/262346899356

I haven't done anything to the phone yet except re-orient the finger wheel, it was off 180 degrees. My question is: was the finger wheel originally brass? And if so, what would be the best way to bring back the lustre? I notice there is some black in the center, but I'm not sure if that means anything.
I originally got it to replace some parts on another AE40 that is missing the ringer, but it looks pretty good in person and I'm thinking about keeping it intact  :)

unbeldi

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2016, 12:10:09 PM »
I think it is safe to say that this finger wheel was painted black originally.
They came in black and chrome finish for black Bakelite sets, and also with satin gold finish for colored plastic sets.
I don't think they made a nickel finish anymore for the AE 40.

What happened to the paint on yours is up to speculation, but for some reason some people brass parts out, when they discover the 'golden' color underneath paint.  Brass doesn't retain a polished sheen very long.

There are good spray-can paints available that are easy to use and that will give that FW its original look back.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 12:15:38 PM by unbeldi »

Offline andre_janew

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2016, 12:14:09 PM »
I've heard that people will clear coat brass in order to keep that polished sheen.

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2016, 12:31:00 PM »
But as unbeldi mentioned, polished brass was not an option ever offered from AE. Nothing wrong with doing that if you like that but if you are going for original, brass isn't. The AE fingerwheels were made if either brass or aluminum.

What finish is on the plunger buttons and carry bar (or cradle blocks if it doesnt have a carry bar)? If tgey are chrome then I woukd think that black would likely be best for the finger wheel (or a chrome wheel).

Terry

Offline mdodds

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2016, 12:47:34 PM »
Thanks guys.
I didn't remember ever seeing a brass wheel on those phones, but I don't have nearly the experience y'all do! The plungers are chrome, the carry bar is black (or is that a cradle block? ) I think I'm going to disassemble it and repaint the carry bar and finger wheel back to black and try my hand at the patented Doug Rose steel wool / Skin So Soft method on the bakelite. I finally got a bottle of Skin So Soft a few weeks ago and I have been waiting on an excuse to try it. The inside is in very good shape and all there. The dial works well, but is a bit noisy.
BTW, it's marked as an L 4123 ASL on the botom. Can anything be gleaned from that?

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2016, 01:15:34 PM »
Yes that is the Carry Bar. Black should be good for this one. Frequently the plunger buttons were chromed brass even when everything else was black.

ASL:
A indicates the numbers only dial rather than numbers and letters
SL means you likely lucked out and got a Straight Line ringer that will work on todays phone lines.

L 4123 (Speculation):
Being a 41 rather than 40 it likely has the new slightly smaller biased ringer.
Being a latter model it likely has plastic insulated wiring rather than cloth insulation.

Let us know!

Terry

unbeldi

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2016, 02:43:00 PM »
Were the chrome finger wheel and chrome carrying bar always paired with chrome rings on the handset caps or where those separate options?
In other words, would an otherwise black set have chrome handset rings or an otherwise chrome decorated set have black handset caps?
I am sure in refurbishing things got mixed up, perhaps, but what came from the factory?
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 03:43:31 PM by unbeldi »

Offline jsowers

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2016, 03:42:43 PM »
The party line AE40 my parents had from approx. 1953-1975 had a chrome handhold and black caps and fingerwheel. I have an AE50 I got on eBay from an older lady (not a collector) and it has chrome rings on the handset caps and a black painted fingerwheel. It's pictured below and looks totally original to me, except for a modular mounting cord someone added.

So from what I've seen over the years out in the field, I'm thinking the chrome accents were all available separately and were up to the company who ordered the phone. Also what was standard or optional probably changed over the years since the AE40 was made for almost 20 years. The earlier phones may have had more chrome.

When I was growing up, the phones from the independent telco in my area with the most chrome were the early private line sets or those in the doctor and dentist offices and the local elementary school. They tended to have chrome dial, handset caps and handhold. I don't remember ever seeing a color AE40 anywhere here. The first color phones I saw here were AE80s and Starlites.

Hopefully this will help, but I'm not sure there is a single answer to the question about the chrome parts.

One question I have... Is there a way to tell if an AE40 was factory refurbished? There are no dates to go by.
Jonathan

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2016, 03:48:18 PM »
Anybody have a time machine? I'd love to see a brand new AE40 ordered with Nickel handset bands, a Black painted carry handle, and a Satin Gold fingerwheel! :o

That fingerwheel was definitely Black. There is a little paint left where the dial card should be.
Christian Petterson

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unbeldi

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2016, 04:09:48 PM »
.....
Hopefully this will help, but I'm not sure there is a single answer to the question about the chrome parts.

One question I have... Is there a way to tell if an AE40 was factory refurbished? There are no dates to go by.
Ok, thanks for your actual experiences.

I am usually looking for, or looking at, sets that I think have come straight from the "field", i.e. through estate sales not through someone that could have a motivation or even the parts to change something. However, I couldn't draw any conclusions from those observations, or from my sets, as I do not know whether they may have been refurbished in a formal manner. I do have one very late set from Northlake, that probably didn't see many changes, and it is all black, except for the finger stop and the cradle plungers.

One question I have... Is there a way to tell if an AE40 was factory refurbished? There are no dates to go by.

That's the crux of the problem. However, when you say "factory refurbished", to you mean "telco" refurbished?
Since these sets were sold to the telcos, I don't think they ever made it back to the factory.  Or did AE also have a refurbishing business?
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 04:12:12 PM by unbeldi »

Offline mdodds

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2016, 04:37:09 PM »
Good news on the ringer. I have a couple other phones with frequency ringers in them. My other 40 has black plungers and a chrome dial. Go figure :) 
This one IS old enough to have the cloth wiring though. The only thing that jumps out as having been replaced is the microphone element, since it's marked GTE.
I kinda figured the finger wheel was originally black. Brass would look cool, but still look wrong. Someone obviously must have stripped it at some point because even the edges are bare brass.
So this one was apparently black finger wheel, black carry bar and chrome plungers with numbers-only dial plate. My other one is chrome finger wheel, black carry bar and black plungers and alpha-numeric dial plate. Funny how there are so many combinations in the same model.
Of course either one may have been refurbed at some point with mismatched parts. I guess WE is the only one that marked the refurbs.

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2016, 01:09:30 AM »
Officially I believe that these sets were either black or chrome trimmed or gold matte trimmed. But it seems to me from reading various notes and comments in AE Catalogs that AE would put just about any combination of equipment together that a customer would pay for in order to satisfy the customer and to make the sale. Therefore I have little doubt that a telco could order almost any trim combination that they wanted, maybe they would have to wait a bit longer than if it was an off the shelf item.

Certainly refurbishing led to many mixups of trim parts as well as equipment repair and changes in the field. I believe that there was some "in house (factory) refurbishing" done....was it Etelco Autelco that did refurbishing for AE? I could be wrong. Probably most AE phones were refurbished by the actual telco, a large number of which were faurly small companies. BC Tel was a fairly large GTE Telco and we did all of our refurbishing in house.

There are other scenarios that were likely changes made over the years. It seems to me that the majority of AE 40's and even AE 34's had chromed brass plungers even if everything else was black. But there were black bakelite plungers. Was this due to cost reductions later on or maybe metal savings during the war?  There seem to be a lot more chromed Carry Bars out there as compared to chromed handset bands or chromed fingerwheels. Was a chromed Carry Bar "standard" at some point in time no matter the trim level or were only chrome versions supplied as older 40's that either had Buttlers Handles or no Carry Bar were upgraded to Carry Bars at refurbishment?

Colored 40/50's were only supplied with chrome or gold matte trim, IE: no "non trimmed" versions. Thus all fingerwheels on colored 40/50's were other than black. But it seems to me that the earliest of colored 80/90's and other plastic cased AE phones had chromed fingerwheels maybe waiting for the first design of clear lucite fingerwheel with chrome ring number card holder to be ready. Same for the plungers onarly colored plastic sets ...chromed brass before they finally changed to clear lucite. My point here being...any way to get the product out the door using what was available at the time.

Terry
« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 09:54:40 AM by AE_Collector »

Offline rdelius

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2016, 09:48:40 AM »
Autelco was AEs rebuilding service trade mark was AR in a circle. Not to be confused with  AEs Autelco paystation or Autelco factory in Italy which made local versions of AE sets

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2016, 10:07:06 AM »
I had both Autelco and Etelco in my mind but I associate the Autelco name with the Italian version of AE equipment so thought it must be Etelco that did the refurbishing. I forgot about Autelco Paystations. Robby, do you know if that was just a marketing name for AE's North American 3 slot payphones?

Does anyone know where the Etelco Autelco refurbishing was done or what eventually happened to the company? (Or was it a division of AE?) Could it have become or been taken over by one of the other large refurbishers like TRS?

Terry
« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 10:23:20 AM by AE_Collector »

Offline rdelius

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Re: AE40 from ebay. Question about finger wheel
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2016, 10:15:38 AM »
It was Autelco ,have old ads out of telephony.I think they seem to have been gone by the 1950s or they no longer adverised .You could send in your old scrap telephones to be rebuilt not just AE sets
That is why you can find Kellogg,WE non dial sticks with modified AE dial bases added for wartime shortages.I think the Autelco paystation trademark was for the semi postpay only.