Author Topic: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55  (Read 11311 times)

Offline jsowers

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Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« on: February 26, 2010, 04:49:20 PM »
I just received a 30-page booklet covering what Western Electric had to offer in 1954-55. It's one I'd never seen before. On the back it says "Western Electric Booklet Rack Service for Employees" and from the text inside, it's meant to inform the employees about all the new products they were developing and getting some word-of-mouth publicity going to stimulate sales.

Among those products were the new color 500 sets and the new 554. Below are some scans from the first few pages. I'll try to describe them briefly...

cover: The rainbow hints at the color inside, but to look at this cover, you wouldn't know how nice the pictures are.

p4&5: The new color 500s, part 1. These are the ones that have matching dials and clear fingerwheels. From left, dark beige, ivory, brown and green. Notice they don't use any fancy color names here. I only put "dark" in front of beige to note that it's not the later light beige of 1957. All the phones have straight handset cords because coil cords were an option. Dark beige and green have dark gray cords and ivory and brown have matching cords.

All of the phones on these pages are what is now called "soft plastic." It was a thicker, more flexible plastic used up until mid-1959 for WE color phones and up into the 1960s for black.

p6&7: Here are the rest of the colors, and these may be some of the most elusive 500 sets ever. I like to call them the "black dial models." (Not to be confused with the two-tones on the next pages.) They were made for a short time before all the dial faces matched the housings. Somewhere around late 1953 until early 1955, and in the colors you see here. Yellow, dark gray, red and dark blue.

Note that it says "These four telephones will soon be in production in full color with matching dials and transparent fingerwheels like those on the preceding pages." So from that statement and one other in the text on this page about "mid-1954," I'd say this booklet was published late 1954 or maybe January, 1955. There is no publication date on it anywhere I can find. The number on these phones is PLaza 3-8030 and not the usual MAin 0-2368.

p8&9: Here are the two-tones. As they say in the text, "Black and a Color." These came in red, ivory, dark gray and green with black dials, cords and handsets. I haven't seen any other colors for two-tones shown in any Bell System ads, but these could be made up by an installer with whatever color they had available, I'm sure. They can also be easily faked and so it's hard to know if you have an original one or not. Most times the dates can tell the story, but not always.

The drawing at top shows a two-tone in blue. That's because they used blue as the highlight color all through the drawings. The number on these phones is SUnset 6-6000. Not the standard number here either.

p10&11: Here are the specialty sets, which may have come in black only at this time. The first is the 500H, which was introduced in 1954, and was the first night-light phone. The forerunner of the 500P/U. It has no dimmer switch like on the 500U. Also pictured are an early hearing impaired set and sets with exclusion and a signal/keyswitch. In the text above the phones, they try to describe what colors the different color phones go with.

p12&13: The black switchhook 554 makes another appearance here, next to an ivory 354. In the text, it says these phones will soon be available in "both colors." Which leads me to the assumption that the 554 was introduced in black and then ivory came out soon later. But there is no way to know for sure. I feel certain that if they had an ivory 554, it would have been pictured here instead of the 354. Also shown are the "hang-up handset" phone and something about optional coil cords. 

I like they way they put it. "Gray will be used on all colored sets except brown and ivory." It looks like they may have cut and pasted the ivory cloth cord onto the black 554 too, since the coils seem to be very similar. It may have had a straight cord on it originally. I have another brochure where the same phone has a straight black cord. Above they show a blue 354. Again, the only color used for highlighting the phones was blue, so it doesn't mean 354s came in blue.

So there is a lot of information about the early color 500 sets in these few pages, and it's nice to see what was available. Good luck finding them all!
Jonathan

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2010, 04:58:49 PM »
Excellent Jonathan!  Thank you for posting those scans and relaying the information.  Great booklet.

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2010, 08:26:48 PM »
That almost looks like the illustarated 554 at the end has a fabric coiled cord like its partner the 354.

If the 554 ever came out with a fabric coiled cord, I have never seen one!

-Bill Geurts
-Bill G

Offline JorgeAmely

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2010, 09:23:47 PM »
Very nice Jonathan! Thanks for sharing your scans.
Jorge

Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2010, 04:50:02 PM »
Jonatha;
Could you .pdf the entire booklet ?
D/P

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Offline jsowers

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2010, 09:34:04 AM »
D/P, I haven't scanned the entire booklet yet--just what you see here and maybe a couple other pages. I'll see what I can do.
Jonathan

Offline Dan

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2010, 09:44:22 AM »
I'd love to see the whole thing too. Thanks. Bill, I agree I would have a fit if I saw a clothor fabric original cord on 554!
"Imagine how weird telephones would look if our ears weren't so close to our mouths." - Steven Wright

Offline wecoguy

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2010, 12:22:32 PM »
Thanks for sharing --

Most interesting.  The artwork appears to be the same as used by C&P Telephone in their booklet of the same time frame -- 1954-55, including the fabric handset cord on the 554!

Russ

Offline JimH

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2010, 10:01:31 PM »
I recently got a '52 500 at a garage sale with a straight handset cord and a cloth line cord.  I don't know how common this was at the time.  It had the old "s" strain relief hooked on the line cord "tab".  It also had a 283B plug, so I couldn't resist for $10.
Jim H.

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2010, 07:31:10 PM »
I would guess that the fabric line cord with the 302 style hook was a field replacement.  The original BSTJ was pretty specific that neoprene cords were designed for the 500 specifically.  That being said, I would not think it would detract from the phone.  Early in the life of the 500's a replacement line cord in a 302 style was probably much more available than the neoprene version.

These are my guesses only.  I am not an authority on the subject.
-Bill G

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2010, 07:38:44 PM »
Did you ever scan the entire book?
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434
TCI

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Offline Just4Phones

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2010, 10:26:32 PM »
I saw one of these on EBAY a year or so ago and it went for like 75 bucks which was more than I wanted to pay.  I emailed the guy and offered him 25 to make color copies and send it to me before he mailed the original to the buyer.  He never answered  >:(   

Offline jsowers

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2010, 08:35:08 AM »
Harry, I haven't had time to do any scanning lately. I'll see what I can do this week and post the results. The first thing I have to do is find the booklet again! I tried scanning to a pdf a while back and wasn't pleased with the results.

I wasn't the one who paid $75 for a booklet like this. That's waaaay over my limit. I haven't ever seen another booklet like it. There's a large WE catalog from the same time period that shows even more stuff.
Jonathan

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2010, 09:31:54 AM »
Thanks Jon. I would love to get a copy of it but $75.00 is too rich for me also!
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434
TCI

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

Offline jsowers

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Re: Western Electric Services Booklet from 1954-55
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2011, 09:27:36 AM »
I'm sorry to have taken so long getting to the scanning, but I finally did have some time to scan and then ran out of time to post until now. The remaining pages are black and white and not as interesting to me as the color ones, but some of you may find their line of products worth a look. This is from 1954-55 and it's a booklet that was meant for WE employees to familiarize them with the products and services offered by the phone company.

I scanned them and joined the pages two at a time for easier viewing. I hope they're large enough to read. I made them the same size as the earlier scans.

services 14&15.jpg: This starts by describing something from the previous pages, the night-light phone, and then describes and illustrates the "magic gray box" otherwise known as their first answering machine made at the WE plant in Kearny, New Jersey. It was huge by today's standards and came with a drum that spun around, sort of like a dictaphone. On the next page is a loudspeaking phone.

services 16&17.jpg: Some of the advertising used in 1954-55. They were just getting into marketing in the 1950s.

services 18&19.jpg: I like how it mentions the "eight full-color and four two-tone telephones, along with the ivory wall set." That wall set would be the ivory 354, pictured on page 12. To the advertising wing of the company, there were only four two-tones. They definitely geared advertising of color phones to women, who made the decision on home decor in the 50s. Pictured are the first speakerphone, which included a mike and controls in the phone and a separate speaker. Originally it was called an "executive telephone" and the items on the right were also solutions for hands-free use.

services 20&21.jpg: These pages show the early 4-prong jacks and plugs, which came in brown and ivory (I guess gray came later), and could be flush or surface mounted. The new keysets are pictured in both 4-button and 6-button varieties.

More to come in another post.
Jonathan