Author Topic: Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones  (Read 34873 times)

Offline Jester

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 777
Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones
« on: February 28, 2010, 11:48:47 PM »
Funny how collecting brings about a result that you hadn't considered.  When I got back into picking up new sets, I got the idea that I wanted a set of colored 500's.  I thought "I really like those first eight colors--I want to find those.  I already have a black '50 & three of the hard colors to find.  This shouldn't take too long".  Well, it didn't....but I couldn't stop there!  I was reminded that five more colors were debuted in'57--gotta find those!  Then there was turquoise!  Now I've found out there were at least six colors offered in two-tone & four of the original colors debuted with black dials!  Bottom line, a collector of ALL color variations of early 500 is looking for...drum roll, please...25 different phones!  WHEW!  That's three times more color variants than the 300 series.

Naturally, I'm not anywhere close to this much diversity in all my color phones, but I recently surprised myself with what I have in red 500's.  Pictured below from left to right:

1) red w/ black dial & straight gray cords  10-11, 1954

2) solid red w/ gray cords  4-6, 1955

3) red two-tone  9, 1956(red cover  6, 1959)

4) red Northern Electric  2-9 1957

5) red ABS  4-10, 1959(refurb. with earlier base & "fresh" plastics)
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 01:54:59 PM by Jester »
Stephen

Offline Dennis Markham

  • VintageRotaryPhones.com
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5583
    • VintageRotaryPhones.com
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2010, 12:06:21 AM »
Very nice Jester!  Don't forget a Red soft plastic Western Electric with matching red coiled cord.  And then you need the Red soft plastic Western Electric with a matching red straight cord..............

Beautiful collections of Reds!

~Dennis

Offline Dan/Panther

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5173
  • Kaw-Liga, I will NEVER forget you. 8/4/98--9/20/10
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2010, 12:41:44 AM »
I love red, I just wish I could find a Peking Red 500.
D/P

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.

Offline Jester

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 777
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2010, 12:54:45 AM »
Thanks for reminding me, Dennis.  I guess one of those should be '58, since that year isn't represented here. ;)

I thought you might enjoy a little banter on the newcomer--the red two-tone I got from Mark Scola.  I was a little disappointed to discover that this one was probably a "garage conversion".  The reason I believe that is the 9/56 base & network had a 6/53 ringer, 1/53 dial & 3/53 handset assembled to it along with the 6/59 red cover.  I replaced the entire base with a spare 9/56 unit off another colred phone I had.  The dial was replaced w/ a 7D-3 from 8/55, & I used the '53 handset, but replaced the elements with some 9/56 units.  The completed unit is pictured below.
Stephen

Offline McHeath

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3350
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2010, 12:56:54 AM »
Fantastic collection of reds!  I really like that you've gathered the major players, and that you can document the early usage of the color red on the 500 is pretty cool.  I never knew that you could get a full red at the same time as a part red, that's an interesting oddity and I wonder what the reason for that was?

Offline AtomicEraTom

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1322
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2010, 02:49:29 AM »
All those red phones are fantastic!!!  They look so nice together!!
I am a lineman for the county and I drive the main roads. Searchin' in the sun for another overload.  I hear you singin' in the wires, I can hear you through the whine, and the Witchita Lineman is still on the line.

Offline jsowers

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1775
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2010, 10:21:19 AM »
Fantastic collection of reds!  I really like that you've gathered the major players, and that you can document the early usage of the color red on the 500 is pretty cool.  I never knew that you could get a full red at the same time as a part red, that's an interesting oddity and I wonder what the reason for that was?

McHeath, you could get a two-tone red from about 1953-56. They didn't really ever say why, other than it provided more variety (see my post on the 1954-55 booklet). It may have been cheaper for them to produce since it had a black handset, cords and dial. I would imagine with the economies of scale that black was cheaper because of the sheer quantity produced, but I have no idea if the Bakelite handset was cheaper to produce than the plastic one.

There was also the early red 500 with the only black part being a black dial, but it wasn't available with a full red dial at the same time. I think the reason for that was the color dial faces were made by an outside supplier, (MP Co.) and they may not have been able to keep up with demand when it started. But by early 1955, they could. I'm sure technology played a role in it too, as with the cords being gray on most colors at the beginning. It evolved gradually until almost everything matched somewhere around Spring and Summer, 1956.

Stephen, those are sure some nice reds. You will find the red straight handset cord model is a very hard one to find since it was evidently made for a few months--that same Spring and Summer, 1956. Too bad about the mixed dates on the two-tone. Sort of a Franken-tone.  ;)  I have a couple of those myself. It's very easy to do with leftover parts and impossible to discern from the outside. Yours looks very good. Your Northern Electric soft plastic red is also a hard one to find. Thanks for showing everyone what's possible to collect out there.
Jonathan

Offline JorgeAmely

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2128
  • SC from 1973
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2010, 11:05:48 AM »
I feel red with envy.  :'( :'( :'(
Jorge

Offline Craig T

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 610
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2010, 01:10:35 PM »

 :o

Jester that is a great collection you have put together so far. Excellent job of maintaining each one too!

Offline Dan/Panther

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5173
  • Kaw-Liga, I will NEVER forget you. 8/4/98--9/20/10
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2010, 12:08:28 AM »
Is there any way to insure that a two tone phone is original ?
D/P
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 12:11:37 AM by Dan/Panther »

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.

Offline JorgeAmely

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2128
  • SC from 1973
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2010, 12:16:58 AM »
How much are the tickets to the museum?
Jorge

Offline Phonesrfun

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4867
  • "Number Please"
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2010, 12:28:56 AM »
Is there any way to insure that a two tone phone is original ?
D/P

Short answer is no.
Long answer is that the Bell System and GTE were both very frugal when it came to making things last and last.  They recycled and refurbished phones like they were going out of style.

The best assurance is that all the dates fall in a tight range, but even that is no guarantee.  Parts could be made a year or even longer ahead of time before being assembled into a phone.  The dates were that of the date the part was made, rather than the date a phone was built.

Often, a part would be swapped out in the field.  A transmitter here, a receiver element there, a handset cord, etc.  So, I do not know of any way to tell if a telephone is the way it was originally installed.  We just have to take em as we get em.

-Bill Geurts
-Bill G

Offline Jester

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 777
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2010, 12:51:38 AM »
Good point, Bill.  If the only item out of place on this red phone had been the cover, it could be that the customer reported a broken cover & telco. sent a tech. to replace it.  Upon seeing it was an installed two-tone, he went to the truck & grabbed a fresh cover--in the same color as the cracked one.  That would have jived with the BSP, too.
Stephen

Offline Jester

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 777
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2010, 01:01:09 AM »
How much are the tickets to the museum?


Jorge,
All visits are free....provided your policy is the same when I come to visit. ;)
Stephen

Offline Phonesrfun

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4867
  • "Number Please"
Re: WOW! This sure is alot of red!
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2010, 01:04:48 AM »
I think next on my list will be a two tone with gray cords.

Something new for a change.

-Bill Geurts
-Bill G