Author Topic: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin  (Read 1051 times)

Offline KaiserFrazer67

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Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« on: February 19, 2017, 08:29:09 AM »
Hello everyone!

I'm here in Oakfield, Wisconsin (southwestern Fond du Lac County), which was General Telephone/GTE territory.  Despite being a small community of roughly 1,000 population, nestled between Fond du Lac and Waupun, we still have a Frontier (one of GTE's successor companies) regional office here, of which I am still a customer.  I have been interested in old telephones for most of my adult life--both my parents were collectors of all kinds of antiques and things old--but only within the last couple of months have I decided to pursue this hobby with zeal.

Having GTE, I grew up with a couple of beige Automatic Electric Model 80 "tanks" and a white Model 90 on the kitchen wall.  Mom had the phone company install an extra long handset cord on the AE 90 so it would actually reach across the kitchen and halfway into the dining room!  Later on, after the breakup of Ma Bell and the industry-wide changes it brought with it, my dad took GTE up on the offer to buy our phones outright.  I'm glad he did, because I now have the original three phones with which I grew up, one of which is my current avatar.

My first real exposure to old telephones--at least those which were at that time considered "old"--were a couple phones our old neighbor across the street had given me when I was in my late teens:  a black Western Electric 302 that "followed" him here from his native Chicago, and a Leich Model 901B with the magneto that was used in Oakfield before we had dial service sometime in the 1960's.  I still have and am using the 302, after installing a modular line cord inside of it in the 1990's.  As for the Leich, I still have the handset, Bakelite shell, handset plunger assembly and ringer out of it.  The rest of it I gave to a friend of mine who wants the magneto out of it, and has promised to return it to me after removing the magneto so that I can convert it to common-battery and install a dial in it in the near future (after finding the 2-piece dial adaptor and a suitable AE dial for it).  I actually used the Leich's handset with the 302 for quite some time, since I liked the spitcup and the general shape of the handset better.  I had to put a jumper in the transmitter connections to make it work, but work it did.  The 302 now has the original F1 handset, along with a newly-purchased chrome "dress-up" kit from Oldphoneworks of Kingston, Ontario and a new metal shell from the Old Phone Shop in Franklin, WI.

I've also recently gotten a nice black AE Model 50 from eBay, and discovered much to my delight that it is fully operational after hooking a line cord to it!  It does need considerable cleaning, and the dial does seem a bit slow, so it will need to be serviced.  I'll need a bit of additional expertise regarding this phone--this certainly seems like THE place to be concerning vintage telephones.

(And yes, as you may have guessed from my username, I have a Kaiser automobile--a two-tone blue 1954 Kaiser Manhattan four-door sedan.  My Dad collected Kaiser automobiles and I still own and drive his last one, along with two more which have been in storage since we moved here to Oakfield in 1968.)

I'm glad to have joined your forum, and I look forward to getting to know you.

Best wishes,

-Tom from Oakfield, Wisconsin
-Tom from Oakfield, Wisconsin --  My CO CLLI & switch: OKFDWIXADS0--GTD-5 EAX

"Problems are merely opportunities in workclothes." -Henry J. Kaiser

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2017, 08:55:12 AM »
Hello Tom and welcome to the asylum. I usually give new members a warning about Phoneitis but it seems too late for you, looks like you are alreadt infected! This is a progressive, incurable disese. The only treatment is more phones! Serously, you have found the best forum on the web, there is tons of experience & knowledge here and people who love to share it and help out. We like pictures, please post some of your other phones soon.
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434
TCI

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"

Offline KaiserFrazer67

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2017, 10:04:59 AM »
Hello Tom and welcome to the asylum. I usually give new members a warning about Phoneitis but it seems too late for you, looks like you are already infected! This is a progressive, incurable disease. The only treatment is more phones! Seriously, you have found the best forum on the web, there is tons of experience & knowledge here and people who love to share it and help out. We like pictures, please post some of your other phones soon.
I'll post some soon...  thanks much!
-Tom from Oakfield, Wisconsin --  My CO CLLI & switch: OKFDWIXADS0--GTD-5 EAX

"Problems are merely opportunities in workclothes." -Henry J. Kaiser

Offline jsowers

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2017, 11:53:18 AM »
Welcome to the Forum! I too had parents who were collectors and the collecting bug was passed on to me at an early age. I remember how exciting Saturdays were when they would come home from an auction and we would get to look through the "stuff" they got, with sometimes a radio or an old catalog for me. Here in NC they have always had lots of estate auctions, though today there aren't as many as 30-40 years ago.

I've also liked old cars since I was a kid, and that was in the 1960s when everything on the road had style. I knew what a Buick was before I could even pronouce the name properly. I remember Mr. Link's black 1958 Buick Roadmaster, which I'm told I called a "booick." I've read some about Kaisers and Frazers in car magazines. They had unusual interiors that sometimes didn't wear out. Bambu vinyl and Dragon cloth and stuff with very fancy names. They were also one of the first cars to promote safety and the exteriors were just as unusual as the interiors, with very early vinyl tops on the Kaiser Dragons.

Don't be shy about posting pictures. We love pictures. That Kaiser Manhattan would be nice to see. Just be sure to reduce the size of the pics to a lower resolution and maybe you won't get the dreaded "security error."
Jonathan

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2017, 12:26:43 PM »
Welcome Tom!

Yes, my very first thought was "we've got another car/phone collector". Always wish that I had an old car or two but I have to settle for way too many phones and just some car magazines and books along with a modern "reliable" vehicle.

I grew up in AE territory as well and because of that they are always my favorite phones. Stick around and soon you will have some 1A's, 40's, 43's, 47's, 50's, 83's, 85's, 86's, 87's, 90's, 95's, 182's, 183's, 880's, 980's.  Then you can start looking for some of the more difficult to find ones such as 34, 35, 82, 88. And of course you can always look for older or newer AE's than those listed above!

Have fun!

Terry

Offline Fabius

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2017, 07:48:53 PM »
Hello everyone!

we still have a Frontier (one of GTE's successor companies)...

Welcome!

GTE merged with Bell Atlantic to form Verizon. Verizon sold off most of their land line companies to Frontier.
Tom Vaughn
La Porte, Indiana
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Offline KaiserFrazer67

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2017, 03:38:55 AM »
Just want to add a larger pic of the beige Automatic Electric Model 80 that is my avatar.  Again, this was one of "the family phones" with which I grew up.  I recently cleaned it up and had the dial serviced, so it works perfectly.  At some point in the future I may install a Rotatone.  I decided to leave the glow-in-the-dark sticker on the handset; it was originally longer, one of the ones given away as a promo during the 1970's.  Mom cut off the advertiser and the phone numbers that didn't pertain to us...  :P  I have seen some from other locations across the US on some of the phones I've looked up on eBay, so I know these things were commonplace back then.  I have asked around Oakfield to see if anyone has an unused one kicking around in a junk drawer or file cabinet that I could have or buy; I'd like to put a whole one back on the handset if I can find one.  I know that would be anathema to some restorers out there, and I certainly wouldn't do it to anything older or rarer; but these things are still pretty common and it would add a nice nostalgic touch to a phone from my childhood.

The area code shown on the dial card no longer pertains to us; the 414 area code was broken up around the late 1990's with the addition of 920 (mine) and 262 area codes.  414 is strictly Milwaukee County now, with tiny bits of Waukesha County and Racine County thrown in.  (Yes, I blanked out my phone number, for security reasons.  It was just rubber-stamped on there per the style of the late 1960's.)
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 03:53:45 AM by KaiserFrazer67 »
-Tom from Oakfield, Wisconsin --  My CO CLLI & switch: OKFDWIXADS0--GTD-5 EAX

"Problems are merely opportunities in workclothes." -Henry J. Kaiser

Online WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2017, 08:23:44 PM »
Welcome! Nice type 80! ;)

I'm in Waukesha, not far from you! We have a couple Wisconsinites here (why couldn't we be called Wisconsiners?!? >:( ), but most are from New England, California, or Canada.
Christian

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Offline Duffy

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2017, 08:51:27 PM »
Welcome Tom,

I'm one of those from the Great White North, AKA Canada.
CDN Doug

Offline KaiserFrazer67

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2017, 04:48:09 AM »
Welcome! Nice type 80! ;)

I'm in Waukesha, not far from you! We have a couple Wisconsinites here (why couldn't we be called Wisconsiners?!? >:( ), but most are from New England, California, or Canada.
Thanks, Christian!  Glad to know there's more of us here from the Badger State!  And "Wisconsinite" isn't that bad, at least to me...  better than "Sconnie" that the college kids came up with...  :P

Very familiar with Waukesha.  Les Paul, God rest his soul, is one of my favorite artists.  My Dad grew up in New Berlin, on the northwest corner of Sunnyslope & Grange.  My dad's paternal grandparents had a 200-acre farm on that corner when they emigrated here from Austrian Poland (Oświęcim/Auschwitz in Galicia) back in 1902.  My grandparents (Dad's parents) took it over in the 1940's and my Grandma still lived there until the 1980's when she sold everything and moved in with my aunt in Milwaukee on East Mabbett Street.

I do visit Milwaukee quite often, at least once a month.  I enjoy dining at the Polonez Polish restaurant on Packard Ave. in St. Francis, just off of Howard Avenue.  I also like to pick up some meat pierogi and other Polish food items at the Old World Deli on 76th and Grange. I occasionally visit the A & J Deli down by 13th and Lincoln, too... can't believe there's still a few Polish holdouts in that neighborhood!

Speaking of Wisconsin/Milwaukee, do you know Mark Treutelaar from the Old Phone Shop out of Franklin?  I've bought a few things from him online, but haven't dealt with him outside of that.  He does have a lot of very nice stuff on his shop website.  I'm wondering if he visits this forum at all.  I had him service the dial for the AE 80 pictured above along with a couple other AE 80/90 dials about a month ago.  At the time I had called and left a message saying I wanted to come down and see what he has for sale as well as drop the dials off, but he returned my call saying he really doesn't have a brick-and-mortar shop per se.  Without him saying as much, I kind of got the impression that he really didn't seem interested in anyone stopping by; he mentions on his website that he is usually very busy and the best way to get hold of him is by E-mail.

I sure wouldn't mind meeting others from the area who are interested in old phones.  I have held an interest in them in the general sense for most of my adult life, growing up in a household with antiques and collectibles, but only recently within the past few months have I decided to focus on actually collecting and repairing/restoring them as a hobby.  I've had electronics courses in tech school back in the early 1990's, but besides that I don't have very much expertise in the technical aspect of telecommunications; even just up until about a month ago, while reading about this stuff, did I even really find out about the concept of "common battery" as far as the POTS system is concerned and the basics of how it worked.  I've always wondered what made the phones keep working when the regular power went out...  ::)  I'm always interested in learning all I can about these old phones:  how the circuits work, troubleshooting problems and how to fix them (I've already discovered it can get expensive paying others to do it for you!), getting parts, the finer points of how phone systems in general work, etc.

I have Frontier POTS to my house, I love it, it almost never fails, and I will probably be the last @$%&#! POTS holdout on the planet to keep it if I can have my way... especially since I can hardly get cellphone signal in my own house with my TracFone!  Frontier still has their regional CO here in Oakfield, right up on the south side of this little podunk town about a 15-minute walk from me--the original one that had belonged to General Telephone/GTE.  It's a small, unassuming brick building with no windows--in fact, you'd never think it was an office staffed with people every weekday; it looks much more like a utility storage building.  But from what they've told me when they replaced my connection box back in December (that's another story!), there's copper from there down to my house.  So yeah, I've still got that 99.999% POTS reliability that (so I've heard) is required by law.

I'd especially like to know if telephone collectors have regular conventions, shows/swap meets, especially in the Wisconsin area.  I'd love to attend one and meet others in this hobby, maybe even spend some more of my hard-earned dough on a nice-looking, nice-working phone, or even a good-looking fixer-upper like the AE 50 I just got from eBay (which will be the subject of an upcoming post, probably in the appropriate board for tech/restoration help).

-Tom from Oakfield, Wisconsin
-Tom from Oakfield, Wisconsin --  My CO CLLI & switch: OKFDWIXADS0--GTD-5 EAX

"Problems are merely opportunities in workclothes." -Henry J. Kaiser

Online WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2017, 12:17:04 PM »
I don't like 'Wisconsinite' at all. It makes us sound like some sort of mideval group of warriors... ;D

I was actually born and raised in New Berlin, we moved when I was 7. My grandparents lived down the road in West Allis, just outside of New Berlin.

I love going down to Milwaukee. My family takes a mini vacation there once in awhile on a nice day during the summer (but NOT during Summerfest...I went there once, never again!  :o ) and we go to lunch, antique stores, shops, and dinner.

I frequently buy phone parts from Old Phone Shop, but I don't know anyone there personally. I'm going to be using them for nickel plating from now on, since one of our members recently stopped due to health concerns.
Christian

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Offline Jim S.

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2017, 06:01:18 PM »
there are 2 main US based telephone clubs that host shows. ATCA (Antique Telephone Collectors Association), and TCI (Telephone Collectors International).
Sometimes the shows get posted here:

 http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?board=12.0

I have been attending the KS show every year since 1991. It is a lot of fun and some great deals.

JMO,
Jim S.
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You die, you forget it all.

Offline Fabius

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2017, 10:42:54 AM »

I'd especially like to know if telephone collectors have regular conventions, shows/swap meets, especially in the Wisconsin area.  I'd love to attend one and meet others in this hobby, maybe even spend some more of my hard-earned dough on a nice-looking, nice-working phone, or even a good-looking fixer-upper like the AE 50 I just got from eBay (which will be the subject of an upcoming post, probably in the appropriate board for tech/restoration help).

-Tom from Oakfield, Wisconsin

There's a non-denominational antique telephone show March 31 - April 1 in Shipshewana Indiana. About a 4.5 hours from Milwaukee.
Tom Vaughn
La Porte, Indiana
ATCA Past President
ATCA #765
C*NET 1+ 821-9905

Offline tipnring

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2017, 10:03:56 PM »
Welcome to the forum Tom. Everybody in the forum has some great advice when you need it, just ask. And put it in pictures!  And Terry what he heck is a model 82????

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Re: Hello from Southeast Wisconsin
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2017, 10:43:15 PM »