Author Topic: W.E. 543 06/2016  (Read 740 times)

Offline Babybearjs

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W.E. 543 06/2016
« on: June 27, 2016, 03:48:12 AM »
I was watching a auction on a beige W.E. 543 hotel phone and it went for a whopping $106.00! given the fact that there are umpteen hotels across America, and the fact that these systems pretty much stay in place with time.... I wonder how many more will show up on ebay, or will they??? the phone is quite rare and modern. So, do hotels ever upgrade their telecom system when its working fine....? BUT.... because this is a phone that was mad in the 1970's.... are there any left????
John

Offline paul-f

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Re: W.E. 543 06/2016
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2016, 11:04:50 AM »
While there were lots of motels, very few apparently bought the system. I can't remember ever staying in a hotel or motel that used the 543s, even while traveling a lot during the 70s and 80s on business.

Check out the previous discussion:
  http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=4843.0
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Offline jsowers

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Re: W.E. 543 06/2016
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2016, 12:23:06 PM »
I found the auction and posted some pictures for posterity. You really don't see many 543s and I don't ever remember seeing one up for bids.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/191896751743

Paul, I did some limited research--I should try again--on which motel those two 543s came from and never found anything showing the inside of the motel rooms in Winston-Salem, NC where they came from. It's a shame my uncle died 22 years ago, because he would have known. He worked on projects like that in the same city for Southern Bell.

John, those phones are very well made, but I would guess with the complexity of that console (see the link Paul posted for a picture of one) and it being rotary, there are likely no hotel/motel installations left with 543s and all the ones you see are the few that escaped the landfill.
Jonathan

Offline Babybearjs

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Re: W.E. 543 06/2016
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2016, 12:33:45 PM »
based on my reading of an earlier article about these, they were marketed basically by Southern Bell.... did they ever go nation wide? or are these a experiment failed? I wish I had been able to grab one, I have a 544B that could use some updating.... I'd love to see a 544 in a new package.... just switch out the key assembly, and you're good to go.... But, I'm told there already was one.... a 543DBC....
John

Offline jsowers

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Re: W.E. 543 06/2016
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2016, 02:15:42 PM »
The article says five trial locations were also done in the Mountain States Bell territory, so it was wider than just the South, at least in the trial period. But from the lack of surviving phones, as Paul says, apparently few bought the system. There's no touch-tone version of the same system, so it must've been discontinued sometime in the 1960s, with only replacement phones being made afterward.

My advice would be not to destroy a 543 to make something else out of it. It's worth more intact.
Jonathan

Offline poplar1

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Re: W.E. 543 06/2016
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2016, 06:38:56 PM »
We once stayed in a motel in Florida that had these sets in the rooms. Alas, they were not yet operational. The hotel manager told us that the needed material (copper?) for installation had been impounded by LBJ for the Vietnam war.

761s did not permit room-to-room dialing. To call another room, you had to go through the attendant.

There was an early type 761 PBX in a motel on Buford Highway in NE Atlanta. This one used single line 500Y phones, all aqua blue IIRC. (On the earlier 761s, you had to dial a code rather than push a key for the front desk, outside line, or toll call.)  I probably could have had it for the asking in the 1980s, as the motel had already purchased a PBX from an independent vendor. Despite repeated requests from the motel, the phone company would never come pick up the 761. It had been installed in the lobby, behind the counter, so it was really in the way, especially since it was no longer operational.

That was a time when the PBX techs would tag the disconnected PBXs for pickup, but often the equipment was just abandoned. My 756A Crossbar PBX was similarly abandoned at the Fernbank Science Center in Decatur, GA. (It was replaced by an Oki PBX that lasted about 6 months before being destroyed by lightning.)
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline Babybearjs

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Re: W.E. 543 06/2016
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2016, 10:28:58 PM »
the best way to preserve these is to keep them as they are, or if you do have a old 544B, switch out the 588 key set assembly to the 543 to bring it up to a 3 line phone. I was surprised to see photos of the phone both with round and square keys.... kind of tells me that they were around in the 1950's-60's.... wonder how many systems they could have sold if they had included it in a home interphone system.... it just too bad these phones are so rare.... this was the first one I'd ever seen on Ebay since I started to collect phones through Ebay.
John