Author Topic: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones  (Read 812 times)

Offline AE_Collector

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Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« on: January 27, 2018, 12:25:47 PM »
I didnít realize that we didnít have a specific topic about this, just numerous mentions of it in other topics.

Iím wondering if anyone knows if this is all history now? Others please add your knowledge to this topic.

Bob Prosser and the Turtle Lake Teleohone Company planned on going into the Phone refurbishing business, maybe a retirement plan Bob had. He began buying thousands of Telco surplus takeouts and storing them in barns on his property. Many came from the Canadian Provincial Government owned Telcos of Manitoba Tel and Sask Tel. Some estimates were that he potentially had a million phones in the end.

Iím not certain if Bob died or just lost interest but nothing happened with them until eventually someone wanted to buy or sell the property. People went there digging through the barns for occasional great finds amidst the more mundane stuff.

I have these three pictures that I was sent from inside one of the barns.

Terry


Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2018, 12:26:54 PM »
My only connection to Turtle Lake is a Collector Will Downing who was making regular trips there from around Milwaukee I think. This was 10-15 years ago now. He said it was either 6 hour round trip or was it six hours each way...John? 

Will was searching the barns for specific items of interest saying that since all takeouts were sent there from some Telcos, the loads had occasional much older phones mixed in with the mostly newer stuff. I asked if he could watch for AE Stylelines for me. I was at a point where I had just realized that I had kept virtually no AE Stylelines in my collection and thought I had better get to work on finding some. Will reported back that he found a corner of one barn where Stylelines seemed to have been all put but they were primarily all wall sets. PhoneCo had scooped up most of the more saleable Desk Stylelines a number of years earlier.

Will reported that there were no lights inside the barns and it was very difficult to determine what colour and the condition using a flash lite. I asked how many he thought there were. He said maybe 150-200. I asked if he had any interest in just hauling them all out and back home with him to box up and send to me to which he agreed. This made it easier for him to not have to spend time looking for the best of each colour and type and he could spend the time boxing and shipping from home instead. And I could then go through them leisurely finding the ones I wanted for my collection and eventually selling off the rest. Will made a little cash for his effort but he was extremely generous in his pricing to me plus he had a friend who worked for FedEx who got a great deal on shipping! An opportunity like this would never come around for me again.

Almost all of these Stylelines were the early versions with round handset cords with the BIG plugs like Trimlines and the heavy cast metal bases, not the later plastic bases. I was amazed at the condition of the plastics, virtually none of them had any discolouration as though they were either never really in service, maybe from disllaysvin phone stores showing all the colours.

Here is a spot where I wrote about it in my phone collection topic:

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=8222.msg89482#msg89482

And below are the boxes of phones when they arrived and then unpacking, cleaning and sorting. Finally the end product in both desk and wall Stylelines. Not all in the collection pictures were from Turtle Lake but a large majority are.

Terry
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 01:06:06 PM by AE_Collector »

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2018, 12:42:31 PM »
Her is a gray keyset cord on a Sand Beige AE 186 for Christians project. This is zoomed in on the very first picture I posted above.

Terry

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2018, 12:53:30 PM »
Oh yeah, thanks for pointing that out, Terry!

I believe those are silver satin instead of Gray. I have a 10 button keyset that has the original cord, but it was painted silver satin when it was updated to modular. I think they did that the match the modular single line line cords used around the same time.

Even so, I think one of those would look great on my phone!
Christian Petterson

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Offline kleenax

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2018, 01:20:38 PM »
Paul Vaverchak and Ron Knappen both got a full semi-truck load of 3-slot payphones from there about 30 years ago. I remember how they both complained to me how the other guy got the best deal!
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Offline TelePlay

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2018, 02:47:41 PM »
Milwaukee to Turtle Lake by way of interstate is about 4 1/2 hours (310 miles) each way. Turtle Lake is just a short drive to the north east from Minneapolis.

It's not the end of the world but you can see it from there.
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Offline Payphone installer

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2018, 11:25:19 AM »
Somewhere I think I have a disk of the entire collection for sale. I have heard many stories from the guys who were there and on the scale of what was there. It was in a huge dairy barn. Ron Knappen and Paul Vaverchak bought a lot of phones from that warehouse some of the stuff I sell on ebay was from that warehouse.

Offline paul-f

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2018, 11:56:36 AM »
Here are some photos from 2003 and a few from the clean-up in about 2011.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 04:53:05 PM by paul-f »
Visit: paul-f.com         WE 500  Design_Line

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Offline Payphone installer

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2018, 12:08:46 PM »
The last 3 pictures look like telephone engineering in PA I was there at the end and brought a tractor trailer full home.

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2018, 12:27:21 PM »
~

These pictures lead me to believe that the term "rare" as often applied to old phones is not always entirely accurate.......
Benny

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Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2018, 12:58:51 PM »
Sure glad I got all (? Most?) of the Stylelines out of there first.

There also used to be an eBay Seller at or close to Turtle Lake selling phones he got from there. I know that Will and the friend he travelled there with each time were selling the treasures they found there on eBay.

Terry

Offline cihensley@aol.com

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2018, 02:59:36 PM »
Payphone Installer: Was this where Jim Engle, Bob Barrett, et. al., got the old payphones they were selling at shows about 15+ years ago?

Chuck

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2018, 04:06:16 PM »
The last 3 pictures look like telephone engineering in PA I was there at the end and brought a tractor trailer full home.

You mean ďlooks similar to...Ē IE: there isnít any confusion as to whether these pictures are a turtle Lake or a different location?

I recall hearing at the end of Turtle Lake something about selling the remaining phones by the pound and them being loaded into containers like pictured..is that what is usually referred to as Gaylordís.

Terry

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2018, 07:39:37 AM »
Chuck the phones at Turtle Creek were being bought for many years by many collectors. Back in the 1990's I was in a barn that was chalked full of rare phones that all came from turtle creek. Really rare stuff. The guy told me he paid off his house by refurbishing and selling phone from turtle creek. Bob Prosser owned title creek. There was also telephone engineering in Scranton PA it was also packed full of old telephones most of the Wanamakers and lots of other small Gray  pay stations came from telephone engineering. I personally bought lots of stuff there. I passed on pile of new old stock lime green and orange Stromberg Carlson telephones,pile of W/E new old stock 354 covers still wrapped in the paper. Piles of 444 W/E business sets. There were floors and floors of stuff like this.
 The payphones that Bob Barlett,Dick Pitzer and myself got came from Germantown New York from a place called BECO which was another telephone refurbisher. Collecting telephones has been a blast over the years,if you are willing to network and get out there and look the stuff is still out there. The price is cheaper then ever on lots of the stuff,many say it's dying. I see it as changing. Jim

Offline Babybearjs

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Re: Turtle Lake Wisconsin - Bob Prosser Hoard of Telephones
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2018, 12:29:15 PM »
.....and of course, its back east.... wonder how much stuff was lost to the dumpster???
John