Author Topic: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?  (Read 250 times)

Offline Brinybay

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Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« on: November 27, 2017, 12:15:45 PM »
I was doing some errands in a town just north of me, one of which was dropping off our donation items to the Goodwill while I was there.  Of course, I took a quick tour of the Goodwill for phones and any other collectibles or useful stuff I may find, but came up empty.

I spotted a different thrift store across the street.  I've been in there before, but not recently, so I checked it out.  First thing I saw was what appeared to be a black 500 behind the electronics counter.  I asked to look at it, turned out to be a Northern Electric (Canadian) 591.  It appeared to be in good shape, no rust on the bottom, year stamp said 64.  Closer examination when I got it home showed most dates in July 1964, except the ringer which is II-64 (April, May, June).

I gave it a basic wipe-down, hooked it up, fully functions.  When I removed the dial card ring, I found the original dial card underneath.  It was damaged, but it was better looking than just the blank white piece of paper someone had hand-cut.  I would like to replace it with a Bell System Canada dial card if I can find one.  The dial card didn't have an area code, so I researched the area codes of the nearest province to me, which is British Columbia, then searched for the CO number.  Of the four area codes in BC, only three listed a location for the CO number 478.  The choices were Victoria, Haney (downtown Maple Ridge), or Kelowna.   

But wait, there's more!

As I was paying for it, they told me that they're having a 25% store-wide sale.  The sticker price was $14.99, so the discount brought it to $11.24.

But wait, there's more!

They told me they have more old phones!  One of the employees led me to where they were.  One was a WE B1 manual, the other was one of those cheesy "French phones".  Sticker price on the B1 was $39.99, discounted to $29.99, so I grabbed it too.

All totaled after discount and sales tax it came to $45.52.

The B1 has a bullet transmitter and some chips and cracks around the transmitter cap.  I could not get the transmitter cap off.  Given that they were not good transmitters to begin with, I'm going to regulate this one to a display only piece.  The receiver cap came off with a little help from a hair dryer and the vintage clamps (forget what they're called).  It wasn't until I looked at the picture after downloading it to my computer that I saw a date stamp of 329, March 1929.  There was no date stamp in the body that I could see.  If it was on the inside bottom of the base plate, rust has destroyed it.  The handset cord is a bit frayed where it comes out, but it's not too bad.  The line cord is in good shape, I plan to remove it and keep it for better phones of that era, and also add a dial card.  The paint is mostly intact except for some wear around the ears, which is typical, so I'm not going to paint it.

 
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Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2017, 12:30:52 PM »
Great finds, Briny!

Actually, I'd put the B1 ahead of the 591 in terms of which one is the better deal. I bought the bullet transmitter for my dial B1 for more than this whole phone cost you! 1929 is pretty late for B1 production...another year or so newer and it would be a D1!
Christian

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Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2017, 12:41:12 PM »
Nice score! I still don’t have a B1 and all our thrift stores ever have in the way of phones are usually made by Conair! Not a phone manufacturer that I hunt out normally.

Terry

Offline poplar1

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2017, 02:45:39 PM »


  When I removed the dial card ring, I found the original dial card underneath.  It was damaged, but it was better looking than just the blank white piece of paper someone had hand-cut.  I would like to replace it with a Bell System Canada dial card if I can find one.  The dial card didn't have an area code, so I researched the area codes of the nearest province to me, which is British Columbia, then searched for the CO number.  Of the four area codes in BC, only three listed a location for the CO number 478.  The choices were Victoria, Haney (downtown Maple Ridge), or Kelowna.   
 

Perhaps Terry can verify this: there was originally only one area code for BC, so Victoria and Haney could have been 604 at one time. They are now in Telus territory. I don't think Bell Canada existed outside of Ontario and Quebec.

If you know the state or province, it's possible to enter just the state or province (BC), and the NNX (478) in order to include those areas that have been split off into new area codes:

https://www.area-codes.com/search.asp?frmNPA=&frmNXX=478&frmCity=&frmState=BC&frmZip=&frmCounty=&frmCompany=&search.x=13&search.y=10


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Offline poplar1

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2017, 03:02:46 PM »
1929 is pretty late for B1 production...another year or so newer and it would be a D1!

This B1 may actually be older than 3rd quarter 1929 ("329"). They were not dated before "329." The ones made in 1928 have holes, rather than lugs, for attaching the cord stays, so I think Briny's B1 was made in 1928.

Here is one made in III 32  (with the wrong dial):
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Offline Brinybay

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2017, 03:05:32 PM »
Perhaps Terry can verify this: there was originally only one area code for BC, so Victoria and Haney could have been 604 at one time. They are now in Telus territory. I don't think Bell Canada existed outside of Ontario and Quebec.

If you know the state or province, it's possible to enter just the state or province (BC), and the NNX (478) in order to include those areas that have been split off into new area codes:

https://www.area-codes.com/search.asp?frmNPA=&frmNXX=478&frmCity=&frmState=BC&frmZip=&frmCounty=&frmCompany=&search.x=13&search.y=10

That's a better link than the one I used.  My info came from the Wayback Machine.  https://web.archive.org/web/20130627225948/http://www.cnac.ca/co_codes/co_code_status_map.htm
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Offline Brinybay

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2017, 03:13:03 PM »
Great finds, Briny!

Actually, I'd put the B1 ahead of the 591 in terms of which one is the better deal. I bought the bullet transmitter for my dial B1 for more than this whole phone cost you! 1929 is pretty late for B1 production...another year or so newer and it would be a D1!

So what was the last year of production for B1s? 

I'm a little wary of attempting to get at the transmitter.  Last time I had a stubborn and cracked transmitter cap on an E1, I had to bust it off.  Turned out the cap was bonded to the metal with a heavy coat of mold and rust, so at least I felt justified in breaking it.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 03:17:31 PM by Brinybay »
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Offline oldguy

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 11:12:45 PM »
Nice find at a good price Mike.
Gary

Offline Ed Morris

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2017, 11:19:18 PM »
Very nice catch.  I hadn't heard of the B1 sets.  I have some homework to do.
Ed

Offline poplar1

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2017, 11:24:36 PM »
So what was the last year of production for B1s? 


This is only the second one I've seen dated 1932. Most were made 1928-1930. Notice the "improved" rectangular piece that engages the switchhook contacts.
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Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2017, 11:51:06 PM »
Yes all of British Columbia was area code 604 until the province was split keeping 604 for mainly the greater Vancouver area and adding new area code 250 for the rest of the province.

604-478 would have been Belmont CO in Victoria. HIGHLY unlikely for a NECo phone of this vintage to be in use anywhere in British Columbia. NECo phones of the wooden variety, both magneto and common battery were used in BC but by the time dial conversions began in 1926, AE became the main supplier since the Gary company that had owned AE since about 1919 had just bought controlling interest in British Columbia Telephone Company as well.

Terry

Offline Brinybay

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2017, 12:40:37 AM »
Very nice catch.  I hadn't heard of the B1 sets.  I have some homework to do.

Fairly easy to remember, B1s have a round base, D1s have an oval base.
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Offline Brinybay

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2017, 02:48:22 AM »
...
604-478 would have been Belmont CO in Victoria. HIGHLY unlikely for a NECo phone of this vintage to be in use anywhere in British Columbia. NECo phones of the wooden variety, both magneto and common battery were used in BC but by the time dial conversions began in 1926, AE became the main supplier since the Gary company that had owned AE since about 1919 had just bought controlling interest in British Columbia Telephone Company as well.

Terry

So where in the Great White North would NE phones have been in common household use in the mid 60s?  My wife is from Victoria, so it made a good story.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 02:52:37 AM by Brinybay »
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Offline poplar1

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2017, 09:31:54 AM »
Could have been used by an independent phone co. in the US. "591" was furnished without ringer, so that any harmonic (frequency) ringer could be added.

Search under Prefix (NXX) "478" and  Use Type "Landline":

https://www.area-codes.com/search.asp
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Online Ktownphoneco

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Re: Thrift store find, my first Canadian phone, eh?
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2017, 10:01:40 AM »
Brinybay   ....  Good question.   Obviously they would have been used in any province where Bell Canada was the provider, but Northern sold a lot of sets to independent telcos over the years.    Usually some or all of the suffix letters indicated whether the set was sold to Bell Canada or an independent company, but I don't have a good reference catalog in order to determine whether or not your set was sold to Bell or an independent.   Based on that situation, it's hard to nail down exactly where the set was in service.   Terry's post pretty much excludes "BC", but insofar as Canada is concerned, Ontario and Quebec definitely used the 500 series sets, but they were probably also purchased and used by independent and government telephone company's in other parts of the country.    Northern also sold equipment to independents in the U.S.A., so the set may have been in service there as well.

Regarding a dial number card.   I have a fairly large collection of dial cards if your interested in acquiring a dial card, let me know, and I can most likely send you an original in the mail.    I also have some scans of a card that was used by Northern and inserted at the factory before the sets were shipped to the customers.    If interested let me know.

Jeff Lamb