Author Topic: Part Swapping: How do you feel  (Read 3040 times)

Offline McHeath

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2009, 10:03:00 PM »
I swap parts about in my phones if it makes for a better date match as I like the phone to be pretty much from an era.  But I don't ever sell my phones, and if I did I'd disclose that it ain't what it seems.  

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"A hard core collector may disagree, but if done properly how would they know"

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When I restore a phone, it's not with the intent to sell it, but of course you never know what will happen to it since we all know the phones will outlive us like they did their original owners

Ay, there's the rub.  Our collections will probably outlive us, some of them will be lost to accident or our heirs thinking they are worthless and throwing them away, but many will be in other hands in a hundred years.  Those folks won't know that I replaced that transmitter, or handset, or cord, unless I leave a note in the case.  Originality gets tricky as the years go by.  The only thing I own of genuine collectable status over a hundred years old is a Trapdoor Springfield, model of 1888.  The breechblock indicates it was made in 1890, but the parts are clearly a mismash and the stock has been steamed at some point and sanded as well, but all a long time ago from the look of it.  Many of our phones may be the same way in another century, by then my early 1951 500 will be nearly 160 years old and who knows what will happen to it after it leaves my care.  (bet it will still work, if there is anything resembling a phone line to connect it to)

I guess there is a legitimate problem here in that we can make an all original date phone and no one will ever know, which is unusual in most areas of collecting.  Unless we leave notes in the phones about what we did no one would ever know, but those notes may be lost as well.  



bellsystemproperty

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2009, 11:17:34 PM »
Lamp phones are evil. Also clock phones, but luckily I think I stopped a potential phone murderer.

Offline foots

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2009, 04:02:53 AM »
  I'm just a small timer here, but as I've said before, I enjoy my phones. My favorite WE 500 is my moss green one with parts from '65 and some from '68 with no refurb markings. I did get a green line cord to replace the flat gray one I had installed so the phone would look better. I like the phone and having different dated parts won't stop me from enjoying it at all. I also have 2 numbers matching '59 WE 500s - the fact that the dates match is simply lagniappe.My 202 is in very nice original refurbed condition (refurbed date is 1951) and I fully intend to leave it as is. To me that phone is original. A subscriber orderd a new phone in 1951 and thats the one they got. 
"Ain't Worryin' 'Bout Nothin"

Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2009, 01:00:43 PM »
I was thinking about this subject late last night, when it hit me like a ton of bricks. One of my phones on my headeboard fell of onto my head.... ::) ::)
No seriously, UNLESS WE PURCHASED A PHONE SEALED IN THE FACTORY BOX, NOT ONE OF US CAN SAY FOR CERTAIN THAT ANY PHONE IS ORIGINAL. :o
D/P

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson

Offline Dan

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2009, 07:39:34 PM »
Correct Dan, but I would swap parts to even up the dates.
"Imagine how weird telephones would look if our ears weren't so close to our mouths." - Steven Wright

Offline bwanna

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2009, 07:45:08 PM »
d/p   that's what i was trying to say, but with too many words ::)
 
as long as the phones are in our possession, we can do whatever we please. i really don't think we have a responsibility to future generations of collectors.

working over a set for re-sale is a different situation. modifications, repairs, etc need to be disclosed.

just my .02cents :)
donna

Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2009, 08:25:51 PM »
Bwanna;

Disclosure or not, how can anyone be sure the phone they list as original all matching dates, is in fact that, just because it came to them in that condition, so basically ignorance is an acceptable excuse ?
I have to say that switching parts as long as the dates are in the same time range, I wouldn't have a problem buying a phone with all matching dates, the problem, then would become one of  has the phone been completely cleaned up, Refurbished, or restored, that is when originality is lost.

D/P

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson

Offline bwanna

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2009, 08:33:11 PM »
you can't d/p. you can only give what information you have. probably only two ways to know if what you have is original factory.

1) hermetically sealed box, kept in a double locked safe, guarded by the national phone police ::)

2) you find it on the wall in an abandoned house with the exact same amount of dust/dirt build up on the phone & surrounding wall. :-\

opt2 would still be speculation :D
donna

Offline benhutcherson

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2009, 09:42:11 PM »
Thanks for the responses and the good discussion, even though I can see that I'm pretty much in the minority on my feelings.

As far as our responsibility to future collectors: that, I suppose, comes down to a question of why we collect in the first place.

For me, with telephones and everything else I collect, I have a real, intense fascination with the object.

While they are very nice to look at, and are fun to get working as well as possible and use, that's not my main reason. For me, the telephones themselves give me insight into the aspects of the telephone which interest me.

Thus, each telephone is, itself, a research object.

That's why I, in general, leave them as found aside from cleaning them up and occasionally some cosmetic work.

I never change parts, however, for the reason that I want them to be a reasonable representation of what would have been in service after a 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 year life in service-replacement parts in all.

By buying "virgin" telephones-that is to say ones which were just removed from service, and left as-is, I'm reasonably assured that they've not been messed with by anyone but people from the Telco.

One of these days, such finds are going to mostly dry up. While 500 sets are still common(there are probably more out there than those in collections), try to find a wooden wall phone like that now. Thus, I'm doing my best now to document what I can and leave things as is so that future collectors can benefit from it.

A noble and lofty goal, I realize, but it sounds good at least  :)

I should also mention that I've been at this for nearly 6 years now, and I've gotten a lot more picky about these sorts of things. I look at some of my first acquisitions now, and am sorry that I, for example, completely rewired my AE40.

Like I said, thanks again for all of the thoughts. I'll shut up and quit rambling now  :)

Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2009, 12:11:52 AM »
Ben;
I don't necessarily disagree with you, I'm just convinced we can not assure an original phone, so the next best thing to me is keep as many phones as original as we can, so basically the only way to accomplish that, is what you suggest, don't ever swap parts, then at least what we have now will remain that way.
But I think most that colect will swap to satisfy their own desire for a collection of many dates, all with matching numbers, and since we are the collectors that will be doing that, we are our own worst preserver of the flame. Average people that we obtain our phones from,  wouldn't have the means or desire to switch parts to enhance a phones desirability. We for the most part have to ask a seller if the phone has any markings or dates.
We do it to ourselves. Not to be desceptive, but rather because deep down inside we feel that is the way a phone was meant to be, all matching dates.
D/P

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson

Offline McHeath

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2009, 08:09:54 PM »
Historical sites such as Fort Point California, or Guinea Station Virginia where Stonewall Jackson died, certainly have an issue with originality.  As I recall, when I visited the Guinea Station house a few years ago the rangers told me that about 40% of the building was still time period, so at that point you are starting to look at a replica of the original house.  As the years go by more and more of the fabric of old sites is replaced and eventually you get that old joke about great-grandpa's axe.

This is my great-grandpa's axe.  Grandpa replaced the handle, dad replaced the head.  But this is my great-grandpa's axe.

As for obligations to the future, I would be on the side that we do have one, though I understand not everyone sees it that way.  And I have considered for some time now putting notes in my phones that I modify to detail changes, but only in the more valuable phones that seemed to have been all original or were darn good fakes and fooled me.


bellsystemproperty

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2009, 08:37:08 PM »
I agree with keeping them original. I try to clean them up a bit cosmetically and get them working again, but to keep all the parts that work and only replace broken parts. (actually my phones are tanks and no parts have broken, but that's what I would do)

Offline bwanna

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2009, 09:18:42 PM »
i think all of us here have a desire to preserve history. that is why we collect the things we do.

i like to keep my phones & old furniture as original as possible. if i buy, say a hoosier cupboard that some one has converted into a tool box, i do my best to replicate the original condition. i accomplish this by using salvaged old parts or reproduction parts.

my brother inherited grandma's formica dinette set. granny had recovered the chairs with brown naugahyde.  i suggested to bro that we have the chairs re-done, in vinyl to that they match the table, like they would have when the set was new. he wanted to keep them the way granny liked them.  which opinion is correct?

so, same with the phones. leave them with their history....years of re furb? or replicate as original condition as we can? it goes back to personal choice.

ps..... am i just beating a dead horse at this point?
« Last Edit: November 06, 2009, 07:44:56 PM by bwanna »
donna

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2009, 10:20:59 PM »
Donna, that always give me the opportunity to post this.........

Offline Stephen Furley

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Re: Part Swapping: How do you feel
« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2009, 06:57:28 PM »
I'm generally in favour of keeping them as original as possible, but I will replace missing broken o inappropriate parts, e.g. coiled handset cords on old 'phones where they would not originally have been used.  I'm not really worried about matching dates; The GPO did much swapping of parts, so it's quite normal here to find an early body with a later dial etc., but I would replace a part which belonged on a totally different model.  Most of my 'phones came to me without dial cards, so I have fitted reproduction ones to the American ones, and old ones to the British ones.  I haven't found any good reproduction GPO cards; there are plenty on Ebay, but all the ones I've seen are home printed on inkjet printers, and don't look like the originals.

Unfortunately, many dealers convert telephones for 'use', which usually involves things like replacing the original transmitter with a modern electronic one. Worse still, things like contact springs and screws are often discarded, making restoration to original condition difficult and expensive.  My AE40 which I bought here had the original transmitter replaced by a small electronic one, the size of the one used in the WE500.  This has both contacts for use in a 500, and screw terminals for use with spades.  A new cord had been fitted, with spades attached to these terminals, and held in place by a small piece of bubblewrap behind it, so I couldn't simply swap back to an appropriate transmitter, I ended up having to by another handset to obtain the missing parts to install in the original one.

I replaced the original rubber-covered wiring in my Kellogg 1000 with modern plastic covered because the rubber was all totally rotten, and plastic was the nearest I could get to the original rubber.  Luckily, there isn't much wiring in these 'phones.  I also replaced the cords, one rotten and one cut short, with modern reproductions, cloth covered, but with plastic inner insulation rather than the cloth type, a it was closer to the original rubber.