Author Topic: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest  (Read 925 times)

Offline Doug Rose

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Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« on: December 18, 2016, 10:24:36 AM »
I found a couple  of these a while back, One is complete and the other is missing the headset rest. Any info is greatly appreciated....Doug
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Offline poplar1

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2016, 11:32:24 AM »
Western Electric G4 handset. Reversible for left or right shoulder. Offered by the Bell companies for a one-time charge. I believe that was about $4 in the 60s.
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline Doug Rose

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2016, 11:51:31 AM »
thanks David....I have never seen one before, are they common?....Doug
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Offline paul-f

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2016, 12:42:20 PM »
There's more info and BSP references here:

  http://www.paul-f.com/we500typ.htm#G4

And photos have been on the site since at least 2002.

   http://www.paul-f.com/handrest.htm

They are obviously a lot less common than G1, G3 or G15 handsets, but do turn up fairly regularly.  I removed quite a few of them from yard sale and flea market finds in the 1990s and early 2000s. They were found occasionally on just about any set that would accommodate a G-type handset.

IMHO, they look a bit strange on a Princess, but I found several of them removed from service.
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Victor Laszlo

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2016, 12:53:27 PM »
Referred to as the "vampire" handset in phone man slang.

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2016, 01:28:13 PM »
They are painful to use for people who do not have long necks.

Larry

Offline Dave F

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2016, 03:31:12 PM »
I collect G4 handsets and have specimens in all but a few colors.  G4s were created in the mid 1950s by WE in response to the spate of aftermarket attachable shoulder-rests appearing at that time.  Apparently, the Bell System just couldn't stomach anybody else siphoning off any possible profits, however miniscule they might be.  The first black G4s, which appeared in about 1956, were actually marked G4 (as opposed to G1 or G3).  All the later G4s, including all that came in colors other than black, are actually just G3s which have the metal mounting receptacles installed in them.  G4s were made until the end of the WE era, and the later ones were modular (G4BM).

The main reason that most people have never seen one of these WE shoulder-rest handsets is that they didn't fit comfortably and were therefore not very popular.  Many of the aftermarket versions fit the shoulder much better.  It is surprising that the Bell System, known for extensive research and the production of only the best equipment, would have allowed such a mediocre product to enter the public domain.  On the bright side, the rarity of G4s, especially in the uncommon colors, makes them ideal items for the wish-lists of obsessive collectors.  They do look nice on a 500 or 2500.  I recently found a pink G4 complete with attached shoulder-rest, the only pink one I have ever seen.

DF
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 09:44:18 PM by Dave F »

unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2016, 04:56:18 PM »
I believe the earliest advertisements for them are in the 1955 Bell Telephone Almanac, IIRC.
However, the BSP is dated in April 1954.  Perhaps it was the 54 Almanac...
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 05:17:56 PM by unbeldi »

Offline paul-f

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2016, 05:02:53 PM »
I believe the earliest advertisements for them are in the 1955 Bell Telephone Almanac, IIRC.

There was a press release dated June 1, 1954.  The handset is listed in Events in Telecommunication History (AT&T) on June 18, 1954.

See Singing Wires, April 2009, p. 9.
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Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2016, 07:05:08 PM »
I have seen them in real life, but many years ago, and not that often.


On the other hand, I can remember when 302's were pretty standard and not uncommon to see the occasional 202.
-Bill G

Offline Dave F

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2016, 10:38:14 PM »
Here's an old (marked) G4 that I stuck on a nice rare Princess phone.

DF

unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2016, 08:28:05 AM »
Here's an old (marked) G4 that I stuck on a nice rare Princess phone.

DF

Doesn't that look like a G4A handset made from Bakelite ? The cap doesn't have the center hole.
Princesses should have used the G4B.

Offline Dave F

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Re: Western Electric 500 Set Headsets with Ear Rest
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2016, 02:33:16 PM »
Doesn't that look like a G4A handset made from Bakelite ? The cap doesn't have the center hole.
Princesses should have used the G4B.
Yup, but at the time this was the handiest black hard-wired G4 I could easily locate in my vast mess, so I used it.  All but the most observant viewers wouldn't know the difference!

DF