Author Topic: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?  (Read 820 times)

Offline mariepr

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Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« on: July 09, 2017, 05:06:23 PM »
Tiny Cecilville, CA was in the news recently when a middle age school teacher abducted a 15 year old student and tried to use its remoteness to hide out.  I had remembered that the Cecilville Farmers' Line was still in use when Bryant Pond went to dial.

Here's the 1984 news article: https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=SG4fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=mGgEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6634%2C8212863

I thought that surely some system would have replaced it by now.  However an ABC News video from last April briefly shows a magneto phone in a tavern at the 45 sec mark: http://abcnews.go.com/US/inside-isolated-cabin-elizabeth-thomas-tad-cummins-found/story?id=46934143

 The sheriff’s captain described Cecilville as an area of a few hundred people that is “off the grid: no electricity, no cellphone coverage, no landlines, as far as phones go.”  This video is the only contemporary reference that I could find that the Cecilville Farmers' Line might be a surviving magneto system.  Anybody have more information on this?  Or is it like the Santa Anita system that connects local cabins and a pack station but doesn't connect to a telephone CO.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 05:10:50 PM by mariepr »

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2017, 06:04:35 PM »
There is a second ABC Exclusive video that interviews the Sheriff and the citizen who "called 911" so they must have something other than that mag phone, which is missing it mouthpiece and may be on the wall in that bar just for show, a relic of the "old" days or still in use. Don't know.

The rest of that bar seems quite modern with a small sound stage with lights and hanging guitar. T-shirts for sale, at least one big screen TV (broadcast or cable or satellite?)

Anyone know for sure? Maybe citizen ringing and saying "Hey, Sarah, would you give me 911?"

            John . . .

              

Alex G. Bell

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2017, 07:35:05 PM »
Here's a gamma adjusted version of the phone.  It looks to me like the front of the cabinet is much taller than the rest of the cabinet.  Where would the ringer mechanism be?  Can this possibly be a real working phone at all, even just connected directly to another magneto phone?

Offline AL_as_needed

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2017, 08:15:36 PM »
Well at least they mounted the only phone in town in such a spot as to not block the big 'ole plasma screen tv (with sound bar) while your trying to ring up the CO  :P..... Yeah, the got power, prob have wifi and all those other wonderful things. Maybe its the lack of 3G wireless that makes it remote?
TWinbrook7

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2017, 08:49:50 PM »
Here's a gamma adjusted version of the phone.  It looks to me like the front of the cabinet is much taller than the rest of the cabinet.  Where would the ringer mechanism be?  Can this possibly be a real working phone at all, even just connected directly to another magneto phone?

Did you catch those 3 heavy hinges facing the camera which looks like the front door would be swung open to use the WE 2500 inside the smaller that front face box. And gongs attached with machine or wood screws with no coils behind the front panel?

Is that some sort of small PBX just above and to the right of the phone (light on) or just building security tied into the 2500 inside the box?
            John . . .

              

Alex G. Bell

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2017, 09:04:52 PM »
Did you catch those 3 heavy hinges facing the camera which looks like the front door would be swung open to use the WE 2500 inside the smaller that front face box. And gongs attached with machine or wood screws with no coils behind the front panel?
Didn't watch the video but gongs attached with screws would explain the front being taller than the rest of the box!

For kicks I google mapped the town to see its location and surrounding town names and searched Telcodata.us for them.  The closest town which is known to have an exchange is Sawyers Bar, about 30 miles away by road, operated by Siskiyou Tel. Co.  The other towns apparently have no known exchange unless it's even further out.  So it's plausible that there's little phone service anywhere around there.  Apparently the Redcom Labs MDX384 is limited to 384 lines, pretty small!

https://www.telcodata.us/view-switch-detail-by-clli?clli=SWBRCAXF462

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2017, 09:43:26 PM »
Didn't watch the video but gongs attached with screws would explain the front being taller than the rest of the box!

No, your enhanced image shows the 3 hinges. No one is shown in the videos in the bar or using the phone.

I just google maps that area and desolate comes to mind. Now, as for that bar with the phone, the ABC news did not name the bar but Google lists it as the Salmon River Saloon with an address of 30001 Cecilville Road which according to the news videos is about 200 yards from the two cabins, one lived in by the guy who called 911. The river is about 200 yards from that bar so that makes sense.

The phone number for the Salmon River Saloon is (530) 462-4685. Someone could call them during the day hours, when it's not loud, and ask what they have for a phone and about the wood phone.

Then again, it could be a different bar.
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Offline mariepr

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2017, 09:51:01 PM »
I didn't closely scrutinize the wall phone in the video but the three heavy duty hinges suggest it may now be just a prop and the inside used to store something else.  I recall that one restorer would not put a dial inside old local battery phones as he said the hinges were meant to be opened just once a year to change the battery and they would no hold up to repeated daily use.  Maybe a modern phone is inside? 

On a board completely unrelated to telephones, I found this 2012 post:
"...At one time I used to use one of the of the crank phone service (possibly) still in use (as far as I know) is in Cecilville, CA (Siskiyou County)...the locals use it to connect to the rest of the world...it was called the "Hoot & Hollar"...a single line run through the trees to the east, perhaps to Gazelle, Callahan, Etna, or Weed...You'd count the long and short rings to see if the call was for you...we'd talk to the operator in Yreka, it wasn't great but it worked as long as everybody kept fresh 1.5 volt battery cells in your phone battery box, and a falling tree didn't bring the line down...it's possible this old phone line is no longer in use, and has been replaced by microwave links (popular in mountain areas and less costly than copper hardwire circuits)"

[Side note: imagine a home office for a medical marijuana company in Weed, CA!]

As for calling the tavern and asking if the wood phone is real or a prop I'd guess that would be the most direct way to solve the mystery.  But then the proprietor would wonder if I was more drunk than any of his customers.   ;D
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 09:57:45 PM by mariepr »

Alex G. Bell

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2017, 09:52:55 PM »
No, your enhanced image shows the 3 hinges. No one is shown in the videos in the bar or using the phone.

I just google maps that area and desolate comes to mind. Now, as for that bar with the phone, the ABC news did not name the bar but Google lists it as the Salmon River Saloon with an address of 30001 Cecilville Road which according to the news videos is about 200 yards from the two cabins, one lived in by the guy who called 911. The river is about 200 yards from that bar so that makes sense.

The phone number for the Salmon River Saloon is (530) 462-4685. Someone could call them during the day hours, when it's not loud, and ask what they have for a phone and about the wood phone.

Then again, it could be a different bar.
Yes, I saw the hinges but any magneto phone would have them and didn't understand what you meant by: "And gongs attached with machine or wood screws with no coils behind the front panel?" so I took it to mean you actually saw someone do that in the video.

530-462 is indeed the exchange operated by Siskiyou Tel. Co that Telcodata.US found, located in Sawyers Bar, 30 miles away from Cecilville.

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2017, 10:25:39 PM »
Front panel and cabinet of the magneto phone looks normal to me. Isn't it the ivory box on the wall near the top of the phone and closer to the camera that is blocking the view of the top of the cabinet making the door of the phone look as though it is much higher than the cabinet.

Terry

Alex G. Bell

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2017, 10:31:43 PM »
Front panel and cabinet of the magneto phone looks normal to me. Isn't it the ivory box on the wall near the top of the phone and closer to the camera that is blocking the view of the top of the cabinet making the door of the phone look as though it is much higher than the cabinet.

Terry
I think you're right.  Also it seems to be a "cathedral top", only part of which is visible.  I could not make sense of it before but now it makes sense.

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2017, 11:43:46 PM »
Ivory box (what ever that is) is conveniently almost the same colour as the wall making it a bit difficult to figure out. Your enhanced picture helped make it more obvious.

Terry

Alex G. Bell

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2017, 01:15:21 AM »
Ivory box (what ever that is) is conveniently almost the same colour as the wall making it a bit difficult to figure out. Your enhanced picture helped make it more obvious.

Terry
You're right!  In the previous reply I was going say: "Clever bit of camouflage" but decided that would imply intent.

Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2017, 12:22:45 PM »
Is that a WE317E  ?

D/P

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Alex G. Bell

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Re: Cecilville, CA magneto still in use?
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2017, 12:46:45 PM »
Is that a WE317E  ?

D/P
I don't think so.  The transmitter arm mounting to the front panel appears to me to be flat, approx. oval and irregularly shaped like this.  WECo's I'm aware of are thicker and rectangular.