Author Topic: 1958 ABS shell?  (Read 392 times)

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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1958 ABS shell?
« on: June 22, 2016, 07:03:03 PM »
I recently received a Gray 500, dates matching September 1958. I opened it up, and the housing is also dated September '58.

I eventually realized that the plastic doesn't seem at all like Tenite. It has a sharp tap, doesn't feel 'sticky', and also feels lighter than similar '58 plastics. Believe me, I have a pretty good grasp on the differences between the two plastic types! :P

Was this made of ABS instead? I know that every other ABS example I have seen was made in May 1959 at the earliest. I'm also absolutely positive the date says 1958 instead of 59, it's consistent all over the phone.

Does anyone have a 500 made this early that feels like ABS to them?
Christian Petterson

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

Offline jsowers

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Re: 1958 ABS shell?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2016, 09:59:10 PM »
Maybe they did some early experimentation and this is the result? Have you tried some denatured alcohol on a paper towel, rubbing on the inside of the housing so you don't mess up the finish? If it just shines up the plastic, then it's ABS. If it dulls the plastic, then it's likely a form of Tenite. They may have been experimenting with ABS in those months before the Princess phone debuted and they didn't want to throw perfectly good housings away.

I've seen handset caps from late 1958 that I wasn't sure were Tenite, from tapping them. They were usually those with the incised mark as opposed to the ink stamp.

How about the rest of the phone? Are the handset parts Tenite? Anything faded? As you know, the phones with differing plastics often had parts of different shades due to the way the plastics faded differently.
Jonathan

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: 1958 ABS shell?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2016, 10:11:07 PM »
It looks like tenite to me.  If you can scratch the surface with your fingernail, it is not ABS.

Larry

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: 1958 ABS shell?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2016, 10:12:30 PM »
Christian, that would be an early ABS housing but like Jonathan said, it's possible they were working with the transition.  The numbers look to be more of an orange color on my monitor.  I don't remember seeing dates stamped in that color before.

Interesting.

~Dennis

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: 1958 ABS shell?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2016, 10:29:53 PM »
I tried denatured alcohol and it doesn't touch the surface. I commonly use denatured alcohol to chemically polish Tenite.

It's very possible the housing is the only part that's ABS. The rest of the plastics seem to be less affected by nicotine staining (the housing is very brown from smoke). What I don't get is the lift also seems like ABS, yet it's a perfect Gray.

The ink stamp looks Vermilion to me. I believe a lot of 1958/1959 Light Grays were stamped in Vermilion, yet the handset has a Green stamp (caps are engraved).
Christian Petterson

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