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Subscriber Set - Can Anyone Tell Me About This?

Started by Dennis Markham, March 30, 2010, 08:39:36 PM

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Dennis Markham

Someone wants to send me a B1 body and a ringer box to get cleaned up and working.  I'm not familiar with this ringer box.  Are they compatible?  I'm guessing side-tone?  What's the little switch box with it??

Thanks in advance for anything you can tell me.


Looks like a 334A, which is a Bell System sidetone subset.  It is likely that many B mounts were hooked to these subsets, although the 334 really predates the B mount by a few years.  I have one hooked to a B1 and it works just fine.
-Bill G

Dennis Markham

Thank you Bill.  I thought it may predate the B1 body.  What' the little box with the switch on top??


Quote from: Dennis Markham on March 30, 2010, 08:57:30 PM
What' the little box with the switch on top??

Its a switch.  :)  Probably was once used to switch between two lines or a line and an intercom, or to switch the ringer on and off.  Many different possible applications.  Certainly not needed for any "normal" purpose.
-Bill G


Dennis,  Once you get it you will have a better idea on how it is wired. The switch probably just tuned the ringer off. Since Bell owned the phone and the ringer box you weren't allowed to drill a hole for a switch.
Actually, you weren't supposed to use this attachment either. Let us know what you find.

Dennis Markham

Thanks guys.  The owner said it belonged to his Grandmother.  She had it since day one and leased the phone until she died in 1985.  Her grandson purchased the phone from AT&T so that is probably all original equipment---at least to her.  So the little switch box is not needed.  It ought to be fun project.  I'll post some photos when the refurbishing takes place.

Thanks again for the information.


Dennis Markham

It's taken a while, but I'm nearly finished with this project.  I thought I'd share a few photos.  I may be asking for some wiring assistance before I'm finished.

I stripped the paint on the 334A subscriber set with the intention of repainting it black.  Beneath the layer of beige and the original black paint was a nice copper subset.  I spent a LOT of time removing nearly all of the paint EXCEPT from the inside of the box.  Inside the cover was an original schematic drawing of a desk stand.  I did not want to disturb this so I just protected it and left it intact.

Here are a few photos of the "after" product.  I intend to put together a complete album soon.  This is a great box...too bad it's not mine.  The owner said it was his grandmother's from day one.  She left him the phone and the box.


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



You really went to town on this one. Hats off to your sir. It looks very nice.

Doug Rose did a wonderful job on this restoration. The B1 look great, but the work on the Ringer Box is first rate. You did a wonderful job removing the paint and keeping the copper intact. How many hours of work went into this refurb? It must be really hard to give this back....Doug


-Bill G

Dennis Markham

Thanks Guys.  I am toying with the idea of taking the box apart again and spraying a coat of clear lacquer on the copper to slow the oxidation process.  I've read some articles that say for interior use it should last for years.  I am afraid to give it a shot though because if it messes it up I'm going to have to strip it off again.

Thanks Doug.  It took a long time.  I don't even know how many hours I invested in this project.  I tore down the dial and refurbished it and gave the phone the once-over.  The box was kind of a learning experience for me.  I've done several 634A's but never a 334A.  You are right though, I sure hate to part with it.  I'm keeping my eye on one on eBay at the moment.  I'm going to get one eventually and give it this same treatment.  I really like the gongs, that I think are nickel plated.  They contrast well with the copper color.

I took lots of pictures and plan to put together a detailed photo album.


Wow, Dennis!  What a transformation you accomplished--particularly on the handset! 

I'm glad the grandson appreciates that set-up as much as his grandmother did.  It's really beautiful.

I'm guessing that if the phone had been in continuous use, the handset probably received the F1 transmitter upgrade at some point.  If it still has a properly functioning bullet type of assembly, it has far outlasted the vast majority of its contemporaries.

Kenny C

In memory of
  Marie B.


-Bill G