Author Topic: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration  (Read 1477 times)

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« on: January 20, 2017, 05:42:22 PM »
I purchased this crusty old top box off of eBay recently.  The box was made by the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company out of parts from a variety of early American Bell vendors.  There is a large shield-shaped escutcheon covering the magneto handle hole, and it is engraved "N.E.T.&T. Co. 1890".  It is made of quarter-sawn oak.  The box was mostly there with the exception of the hook, crank handle and a few smaller pieces.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2017, 05:47:59 PM »
The auction closed on Saturday evening and the box arrived on Monday (thanks UPS!) and I got to take a look at the box up close.  The pictures from the auction were excellent:


The front of the box had a protective layer or dirt, bit there are several scratches and scrapes.  There are holes from various attachments or plates that were attached over the years.  The shellac has darkened with age, as can be seen in the rectangular space and around the bell mount. The bells are steel.


Right side showing the magneto shield.  There are a number scrapes and scratches as well as embedded grime. 



A picture of the left side showing the exclusion switch.  This side is in much better shape.  The missing half of the hook escutcheon was found in the bag of spare parts.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 05:59:54 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2017, 06:03:42 PM »

The top of the box was rough, as they often are.  The shellac had turned to black crud.  One of the missing posts was found in the parts bag. 



The bottom was in better shape, despite several holes from something mounted on the bottom at some point.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2017, 06:08:24 PM »


Interior of the box showing the magneto and ringer.



Charles Williams style magneto.  The blades are for a Post & Co./Standard Electric hook.  The missing one was found in the parts bag,



The Williams-Abbott ringer is a later addition post-1895. Judging from the mounting holes inside the door, the box once had an older ringer.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 06:17:27 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2017, 06:46:25 PM »
Although this phone is in great condition considering that it is 127 years old it will need a top to bottom rehab.  The first step is to disassemble the box.

Luckily, phones this old did not rely on the copious amounts of solder that later phones used.  Most of the wiring is wrapped, not soldered.  There are no nickel straps either.  Disassembly involves removing screws.

Once the screws were removed, the metal parts were deposited in a barrel tumbler with stainless steel shot and water.  Place a drop or two of liquid detergent into the water before sealing. The pieces were tumbled for 2 hours.  They were removed and placed in 175 degree oven for 20 minutes to dry the remaining moisture. 

The oak pieces were examined and it was determined that the backboard did not need to be refinished.  The other parts were coated with Citru-Strip and the shellac was removed.  The door needed to be treated twice, as some of the shellac clung to the moulded edges of the door.  Use a toothbrush or scrub brush to remove the remaining stripper while rinsing under warm water.  Once the stripper is removed, place wood pieces in a warm oven to dry them for 30 minutes.

The front door and the left side had some rough spots that required sanding.  For oak, which is coarse grained, I used 80 grit sandpaper (I use a finer grain for walnut) 

To restore the finish, I used a Preval Spray System with a mixture of amber shellac.  I have some red shellac flakes that I dissolve and add to a commercial shellac. 

Spray wooden parts from all angles.  Make sure that the front of the box is face down so that you do not get shellac on the front edge of the box.  If you get some on the back side it is okay because that side will not show.  I apply three coats.  Between coats I let the shellac dry then rub it down with a #0000 steel wool to cut down the shine.  Use a tacky cloth to wipe down the steel wool chaff before applying another coat. 
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2017, 06:56:50 PM »
Here is the box re-assembled after the finish was restored and metal parts cleaned:

 





The backboard has not been restored, the finish is original.  The rest of the phone is a pretty good match if I don't say so myself!


Post & Co. Standard Electrical Works lightning arrestor

« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 01:04:24 AM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2017, 07:13:20 PM »
Here is what the interior looks like:

« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 01:05:20 AM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2017, 09:43:14 PM »
I can see them all so it must be a security setting on Google Images.  Google Images does not give you much flexibility in the way of sharing options.  I put all tyhe pictures in a shared folder.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline rbouch

  • ***
  • Posts: 140
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2017, 11:20:52 PM »
Found more pictures in the wood phone section, what a beautiful box!

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2017, 12:55:01 AM »
Luckily there is a wiring diagram of this exact set up in Mountjoys 100 Years of Bell Telephones

« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 01:09:12 AM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2017, 12:16:22 AM »
I was able to locate the correct Standard Electrical Works switch hook thanks to another collector.  It is certainly an interesting arrangement. I swapped some other steel bells I had from an old WECo top box.  Starting to look like a phone.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2017, 01:07:50 AM »
Added an old receiver cord and pinched a crank from an old WE top box.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 01:16:09 AM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline RotarDad

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 655
  • '65 WE 236G
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2017, 01:18:14 AM »
Really looks great!!  I appreciate you restoration work, especially your leaving the original finish, and the ageing, on the parts.  Will this be matched up with the other 2 boxes eventually?
Paul

Offline Sargeguy

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4542
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2017, 11:24:36 PM »
I am working on acquiring a backboard and battery box.  The Blake may need to wait.  I do have a #5 arm that should come in handy.  Right now my Priority is locating the correct ringer.

Measurements for the spread of the ringer holes =2.5 inches
The clapper hole is 1" to 1 1/16th" below the line between the two holes. The holes are at a slightly different positions and the line is at a slight angle to the hole.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 11:32:05 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline RotarDad

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 655
  • '65 WE 236G
Re: 1890 N.E.T.&T. CO. three boxer restoration
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2017, 01:21:59 AM »
Finding parts for these must be a challenge.  I know you focus on the early phones, so you probably have your sources and a parts stash, but that's quite a bit different from my working on 500s where probably millions still exist, and date-correct parts are readily available in most cases.





Paul