Author Topic: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets  (Read 3475 times)

Offline Jim Stettler

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A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« on: December 24, 2009, 01:44:48 PM »
How to Find a 1949 We 500 set
Locating  a 1949 set is just locating Gold. and, as they say "Gold is where you find it."

With this in mind you need to study the territory and try to determine the most likely location of the gold.

From Statistics we learn that the most likely recurrence is where there has been  a previous occurrence.

This leads me to believe that the most likely place to find a 49er is where 49ers have been.

If you check the available data, you will find a listing of some of the trial cities where 49'ers were stationed. ( hint Paul F. has some cities listed where trials took place, he also co authored an early 500 set article on the TCI newsletter. This article was less than 3 years ago)

This narrows your search by quite a bit.

The next step is to find out where the 49'ers hung out. I would guess the new neighborhoods, these would have been the up scale neighborhoods of 1949.County records and the library will help in this search. I would also concentrate on the newspaper archives. These trials were to be lowkey, but I suspect some of them were subtly announced.

As long as you are at the Library, you may as well check a crisscross directory like Cole's. Print out the names and addresses of the locals. Also print out the current occupants.

Look for long time owners and those with the same surnames. If the address is the same then they are a person of interest.
Contact these folks requesting info regarding old phones that they know of. Run a wanted ad on Craigslist requesting old black telephones. Include an example picture.

Your intro letter is up to you, however, it should be designed to incite some memories of the old timers,with luck your inquires will at least generate some remembrance of rumours.
Follow the rumours, they are your best lead..


When you find 1 you can probably buy it for less than $20.00. Buy it. After verification send the seller a $50.00 tip and thank them.

I expect to see the photos posted to the forum, before the end of 2010.
Jim S.




Jim Stettler
« Last Edit: March 25, 2010, 02:06:58 AM by Jim S. »
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Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2009, 02:19:13 PM »
Jim;
In theory that should at least narrow the search down.
My guess though, most or all were returned for tear down and inspection.
D/P

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Offline Jim Stettler

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2009, 07:31:25 PM »
My guess is most were recovered . A few probably escaped. Of the ones that were turned in, a few more escaped. Another place to research is the town that the phones were returned to.
Jim S.

BTW the 600 set field trial I mentioned on an earlier post was probably in St. Louis. Paul's article mentioned a memo regarding a 600 set test in St Louis. I suspect that memo is where the info in my book came from.

In theory most of my clear phones and most of my swirl telephones don't exsist. but they do.

If you really want to find a 1949 set, it helps to beleive that you can.
Jim S.
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Offline HobieSport

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2009, 10:16:12 PM »
It seems like running a want ad on Craigslist would be a good start.
And if one showed a photo with the circular "operator" text on the early dials,
then sharp eyed folks may recognize it, correct?

Heath, oh educated one with an interest in a '49 500,
how might you word such an ad on Craiglist?
Maybe you wanna try running an ad yourself?
I'd be happy if anyone on the forum gets a '49 500.
I'm already happy with a '52.

And thanks, Jim S., for that good education in research methods. 8)
« Last Edit: December 26, 2009, 10:21:39 PM by HobieSport »
-Matt

Offline bwanna

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2009, 10:24:35 PM »
d/p should get the '49, as it would be his birthday phone ;D
donna

Offline HobieSport

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2009, 10:26:27 PM »
Agreed, and I'd be just as pleased as punch if The Panther found a '49 500. 8)
« Last Edit: December 26, 2009, 10:29:27 PM by HobieSport »
-Matt

Offline Jim Stettler

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2010, 01:25:00 AM »
Here is the thread link for Dan/Panther's earliest known 500 set.

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=2394.0
Jim
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Offline Jim Stettler

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2010, 02:01:59 AM »
Agreed, and I'd be just as pleased as punch if The Panther found a '49 500. 8)
So, Hobie,
I suspect you are pleased as Punch about now.
Jim
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Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2020, 01:41:38 PM »
Reading through this post from 2009, I was thinking about the field trail sets.
My take after thinking about this for awhile. The trial sets were PROBABLY assigned to selected trial set testers, chosen, and cleared, by Bell Labs. They most likely signed paperwork, to ensure, that Bell Labs maintained sole ownership, and they most likely required a non disclosure agreement, and required return of the equipment at the end of the trial period. My guess, at that point, the phones were inspected for parts wear, and breakage. The engineering department updated their records, and made their recommendations for updates.
My thoughts on a final destination for the sets,  they were destroyed, either at the time, or when Ma Bell broke up. Either way I feel since no one appears to have ever produced one, they no longer exist. I do not think they were returned to service for one reason, they were not sure if they were in any way compromised in the field during the testing period, and would not want to risk a failure not related the design.

D/P

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Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2020, 01:45:38 PM »
My guess is most were recovered . A few probably escaped. Of the ones that were turned in, a few more escaped. Another place to research is the town that the phones were returned to.
Jim S.

That is EXACTLY where my 48/500 came from a seller on eBay that lives in Murray Hills, New Jersey. HOME of Bell Labs.
If you want to find a 49/500 field trial phone, find the Bell Labs landfill in 1950.

D/P
« Last Edit: February 18, 2020, 01:51:04 PM by Dan/Panther »

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Offline Jim Stettler

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2020, 01:56:27 PM »
Reading through this post from 2009, I was thinking about the field trail sets.
My take after thinking about this for awhile. The trial sets were PROBABLY assigned to selected trial set testers, chosen, and cleared, by Bell Labs. They most likely signed paperwork, to ensure, that Bell Labs maintained sole ownership, and they most likely required a non disclosure agreement, and required return of the equipment at the end of the trial period. My guess, at that point, the phones were inspected for parts wear, and breakage. The engineering department updated their records, and made their recommendations for updates.
My thoughts on a final destination for the sets,  they were destroyed, either at the time, or when Ma Bell broke up. Either way I feel since no one appears to have ever produced one, they no longer exist. I do not think they were returned to service for one reason, they were not sure if they were in any way compromised in the field during the testing period, and would not want to risk a failure not related the design.

D/P
I met a field trial person once. She had a friend who was a Bell Labs Engginner. She had trialed Home  Interphone, a panel phone, Schmoo and 500 set.

The panel phone in her home was not the original field trial set. They talked her into leaving it in NJ. They provided another panel phone and the interphone documentation. She did not ever hook up the Schmoo. The base would not hold the signal buttons for the Interphone.
The 500 set she had, had the sticker on the front (like on Paul F.'s site.)
She said it wasn't theoriginal set she had. They made her turn it in. She said the original 500 "looked" different.
She pretty much got to keep all the sets she field trialed except for the 500 and original Panel phone.

That is why I think your set may of  matched the patent drawings.
Jim
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Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2020, 02:25:48 PM »
When was she testing the 500, did she say  ?

D/P

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Offline Jim Stettler

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2020, 02:32:13 PM »
When was she testing the 500, did she say  ?

D/P

My guess was she was first round. I think they did about 10 rounds.
She was quite miffed she didn't get to keep the set. The display set didn't really set well with here. She was used to keeping the sets.
This was the early 1990's, she was older and lived in the Broadmoor (fancy) area of town.
Jim
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Offline paul-f

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2020, 06:47:06 PM »
I think they did about 10 rounds.

Jim,

Any more info would be welcomed. Do you have a list with locations and approximate dates for each round you've heard about?

Noting the source for each, whether documented or not, will help piece together the history of the trials. Having one group list in a forum topic will help us organize the research.
Visit: paul-f.com         WE 500  Design_Line

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Offline Jim Stettler

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Re: A telephone treasure Map for 1949 WE 500 sets
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2020, 07:05:13 PM »
Jim,

Any more info would be welcomed. Do you have a list with locations and approximate dates for each round you've heard about?

Noting the source for each, whether documented or not, will help piece together the history of the trials. Having one group list in a forum topic will help us organize the research.

She made a mention that the phones went thru about 10 people each on the 500's. They swapped around some parts as part of the trial. I think these were cosmetic , like the number wheel. I think the body may of evolved between the patent drawings and the 500 housing.

My Impression was the 500 trials went thru people like her that that tested phones for Bell Labs. Another impression was that many/most folks involved were in Murray Hill area. and friends or family of the involved engineers.

Bell seemed to like to use 200 sets for field trials. There may of been as many as 200 sets made, then they ran each set thru several different people for marketing feedback on the dial ring and housing.
This is all 30 year old memories and impressions.

It was  30 years ago that I met her.
I keep hoping the shcmoo in original box will show up at an eststae sale.
Jim

<Edit>They made of made a small number of the 500 sets, and that is why the sets cycled thru many users. All other sets she got to keep.<Edit>
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