Author Topic: Now the Story Can be Told - 1949 WECo 500 Set  (Read 238744 times)

Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #270 on: March 30, 2010, 12:31:52 AM »
Yes Paul has been in contact with me but he is tied up this week, and said he may post to the forum early next week.
With a shell dated 1954, the black plungers seem to be at the normal height.
I meant to post about the mounting method used for the ringer. It is supported by 3 rubber bushings, and One screw located between the gongs, screwed into the base with a rubber bumper. the bottom of the chassis appears to have 2 rounded protrusions at the back located at each side of the ringer, but after closer examination, they are actually rubber grommets rounded on the outside of the chassis.

D/P

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Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #271 on: March 30, 2010, 12:34:54 AM »
Dennis Hallworth has told me that the feet are done and will be on there way here shortly.
Thanks you very much for your time and effort on this project.
D/P

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Offline dencins

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #272 on: March 30, 2010, 12:59:41 AM »

It's interesting that the bezel's numbers and letters appear to be the later injection style.  Looking at the bezel on my 10/50, the painted characters are more delicate looking, with the "P" and "R" not nearly as filled-in as on an injected type.  And on your set, you have a round letter "O" rather than the elongated numeral "0" at the 10th position.  It seems that with a set like yours, Bell Labs was trying out all of its concepts for the 500, and maybe didn't get the production fine tuned to implement everything at launch, such as the injection type of bezel which showed up in production a little later on. 

Specific to the bezel I found this paragraph on Pg 95 of May, 1949

http://www.telephonecollectors.org/DocumentLibrary/WesternElectric/500-Set-Design-1949.pdf

“That brings up the interesting matter of how we get these characters in here.  This number plate is plastic.  In the old set, it was ceramic.  Here we have a plastic which is the same material that we have in the housing: in other words, it is cellulose acetate butyrate.  The main body of the plate is clear plastic.  The characters are molded in from the underside but don’t come up to the front surface of the transparent plate.  Then we put white pigment in them.  Then we cover the whole back with black; and you have white numbers showing up very nicely through the clear plastic and against the black background.” 

I am not sure what you would call this - maybe overlay molding with white pigment in between but it is not two-color injection molding that I believe was used in later phones.  I suspect manufacturing issues caused the fallback  to the painted on numbers until two-color injected molding was available.

Dennis

Offline paul-f

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #273 on: March 30, 2010, 01:12:45 AM »
Dan,

Now that other things in my life have quieted down a bit, I've had a chance to check some old notes on the early days of the 500.  I've added some of the material to the site. 
  http://www.paul-f.com/weproto.html#500

Note the shape of the line switch and ringer in the patent drawings.  They sure look familiar!

The patent numbers to search for are:
  G Handset: 151,614
  Base: 153,928
  Line Switch: 2,566,840
  Ringer: 2,590,500

Has anyone tracked down patent info for the handset elements?

We still need to find a known 1949 set to compare with yours and a 1950 set to fill in the gaps.

In lieu of finding a whole 1949 set, I'm collecting photos of dated 1949 components that have turned up in later sets, such as the 10/49 dial we discussed off-line.

I'd caution reading too much into pre-1950 photos used during the product launch.  The Bell System often used design concept sets (often painted plaster models) or field trial sets as subjects for the initial articles (including BSTJ and employee publications) and ads.  BSP fans have often commented that drawings in the Issue 1 BSPs often don't look a whole lot like the production product.

Don Genaro (former head of Henry Dreyfuss Associates [HDA]) once told me that numerous concept models were made for housings for the phones from the 500 thru Trimline sets.  The wood models for the G handset posted earlier are a good example.  You've probably also seen some of the photos that survived for the Princess and Trimline models on my site.  We're still looking for similar photos of 500 design models.  Most 500 models were apparently small variations on a theme, as the basic original design survived with only a few tweaks due to final component dimensions.

Don also said that HDA had warehouses full of the models for many years, but destroyed them in the 1980s to make room for other customers' models.  They also did vacuum cleaners, farm machinery and locomotives, among other products.

The set shown in at least one of the articles I've seen looks like a painted plaster model.

It's safe to say that HDA would have built both clear and black plungers and tried them out in various sets to see how they looked and to gauge viewer reaction.  The only thing we know for sure is that black was selected for the production sets.

Typically sets through field trial were made in a batch shop, not on the production line.  Once the concept was proved, manufacturing engineers got involved to wring out the last tenth of a cent on each unit.  The process continued through the life of the product.  I believe that process is evident in comparing your set's line switch, ringer and dial with the production parts.

There are many stories regarding when the aiming dots were added.  The Dreyfuss references suggest it was relatively early in the process, and that photos of sets without the dots are probably nonworking design concept models.

More to follow...

Paul
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Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #274 on: March 30, 2010, 01:33:50 AM »
Dan, Paul, and everyone else,

For me, this has been a most interesting digest of information on the trial 500 set.  Paul, I have been a fan of your site for the last three and a half years that I have gone back into phone collecting.  One thing is for sure and that is that with the Internet and the ability to pool information that is both scarce and schetchy really makes the historical aspect fun.

When I first started collecting in the 70's there was really no information in the libraries and I had never heard of the clubs, so I was on my own, so to speak, in trying to piece together the information, and I now find that I was sometimes working with myths and a total lack of knowledge.  That, and raising a young family caused me to set my sights on other things, and it has only been the last few years that I have picked it up again (with a slight compulsive tendancy towards an addiction) 

Even with what we have, we sometimes need to use imagination and speculation to fill in the gaps.  So, rightly so, this thread has become the most read thread on this board.

Paul, may I extend my personal welcome to this forum.  I hope you will like it here,

Dan, you have become a star in your own right with your "archeological" find!

-Bill G

Offline Jim S.

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #275 on: March 30, 2010, 02:52:47 AM »
I would guess bakelite was cheaper, Lucite pointed to the future. The buck wins though.
D/P

I think the clear was first, then black. then clear on later colored 500's and then clear on all.
The 1939 WF clear 302's were lucite and it was a new and expensive plastic plastic.

All of the early recever cups are clear, first flat bottom, and then pronged, eventually they changed those to recycled "swirl" plastic,

In the case of the plungers, the material change may of had to do with strength and durability of the plunger plastic.

Clear was probably the design choice, they made a material chioce of black for production. Eventually they went back to clear once the materials met quality and cost demands.
Just some thoughts,
Jim
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Offline Jim S.

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #276 on: March 30, 2010, 02:56:48 AM »

It's interesting that the bezel's numbers and letters appear to be the later injection style.  Looking at the bezel on my 10/50, the painted characters are more delicate looking, with the "P" and "R" not nearly as filled-in as on an injected type.  And on your set, you have a round letter "O" rather than the elongated numeral "0" at the 10th position.  It seems that with a set like yours, Bell Labs was trying out all of its concepts for the 500, and maybe didn't get the production fine tuned to implement everything at launch, such as the injection type of bezel which showed up in production a little later on. 

Specific to the bezel I found this paragraph on Pg 95 of May, 1949

http://www.telephonecollectors.org/DocumentLibrary/WesternElectric/500-Set-Design-1949.pdf

“That brings up the interesting matter of how we get these characters in here.  This number plate is plastic.  In the old set, it was ceramic.  Here we have a plastic which is the same material that we have in the housing: in other words, it is cellulose acetate butyrate.  The main body of the plate is clear plastic.  The characters are molded in from the underside but don’t come up to the front surface of the transparent plate.  Then we put white pigment in them.  Then we cover the whole back with black; and you have white numbers showing up very nicely through the clear plastic and against the black background.” 

I am not sure what you would call this - maybe overlay molding with white pigment in between but it is not two-color injection molding that I believe was used in later phones.  I suspect manufacturing issues caused the fallback  to the painted on numbers until two-color injected molding was available.

Dennis
Kind of sounds like the back painted dials for custom color sets. I think D/P's set has a black "backplate"


jim
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Offline Jim S.

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #277 on: March 30, 2010, 03:18:11 AM »
Hi Paul,
Welcome to the forum.
Your site is what convinced me that sources need to be cited, Like Bill, I accepted a lot of the Phone lore at face value.

Paul, I keep a shortcut to your site on my desktop and refer to it often, when I am bored and on the computer I sometimes "nose" around the site and It seems like I am always finding something else I hadn't seen yet.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Over the years I have noticed that lot's of things that were supposed to of been destroyed didn't actually make it to the landfill, they were "rescuded" along the way. Some of the Dreyfuss models might of gotten spared.
Watch for them on ebay and at telephone shows.
JMO,
Jim
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You die, you forget it all.

Offline rp2813

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #278 on: March 30, 2010, 03:52:38 AM »
I think the document dated May 1949 allows us to draw the conclusion that the dots were placed on the bezel fairly early in the trial process, perhaps even in 1948. 

D/P has found the next-to-impossible 500, so now it would seem that the truly impossible one would not have the dots.

I must say that after reading the technical information for the equalizer used on the early 500's, I'm wondering if I should be using my 10/50 phone as much as I am.  I'd hate to burn out the equalizer "lamp" on it. 
Ralph

Offline Drew

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #279 on: March 30, 2010, 08:07:12 AM »
I see the design patent for the base dated March, 1948 (just added to Paul's site) looks very different from the base of the 500 as it came to be.   Design patent for the base, D153,928 was issued on May 31, 1949. Unfortunately no photos or sketches came up when I searched this number. It looks like the design of the base was not settled until sometime in early 1949.

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #280 on: March 30, 2010, 11:02:02 AM »
Drew:

On those patent dates, if that patent you refer to was issued in May of 1949, it could have been applied for a few years earlier, and the actual design used with "Patent Pending".  Is there an application date on that patent?

-Bill G

Offline Wallphone

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #281 on: March 30, 2010, 01:24:56 PM »
Drew,  Were you using Google Patents? I also use "Freepatentsonline.com". I think that I had to sign up for it (free) and maybe get a plug-in for Firefox when I first started using it. But it is a nice alternative to Google. You might not be able to open this, > http://www.freepatentsonline.com/D153928.pdf <
but it did show a phone housing in the patent.
Dougpav

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #282 on: March 30, 2010, 01:30:52 PM »
That drawing looks very similar to both the Kellogg DK-500 "banjo" (at the cradle area) and also the North Electric (model number escapes me) with the recessed finger wheel.


Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #283 on: March 30, 2010, 01:34:52 PM »
First, Paul welcome to our Forum, and thanks for your comments.
I described how the dial was made in an earlier post, Paul described in it technical detail. The process is called Reverse painted. At least in the world of radios that is what it is referred to as.
A clear base, with relieved highlights, The highlights are then painted the desired color, then covered with the final background color. you see the method used quite frequently on the dials of Transistor radios, and many toys.
D/P

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Offline Drew

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Re: Now the Story Can be Told.
« Reply #284 on: March 30, 2010, 01:51:08 PM »
Yes...Patent D-153,928 filed March 19, 1948 and issued May 31, 1949.  It's just odd since usually a issued design patent looks just like the Drawing which is previously filed under the same number, as to keep people from copying appearance of the item which is the purpose of a design patent. The sketch in the March 1948 filing, and the final base of the 500 look like different phones. In the course of one year and two months from filing to date of issue, they obviously changed what the phone looked like substantially, I just don't recall seeing this happen with design patents, usually the filed sketches and the final patent issued are identical.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 01:59:42 PM by Drew »