Telephone Identification, Repair & Restoration > Technical "Stuff"


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About a month ago I bought a 202 with an E1 handset on eBay.  It was my second 202, the first being fitted with an F1 handset.  This new one is my first contact with an E1.  Anyhoo, the handset cord was in relatively good condition, with only one spot of outer covering going bare.  I whipped it with brown thread and thought that would be the end of the fraying.  Unfortunately, since I'm using this one as a "daily driver," the rest of the cotton outer covering is shredding--I guess 75 year old dry cotton just isn't up to the task of daily service. 

I'd like to replace the mounting cord and handset cord with new ones from House of Telephones, but I've been holding off because I can't get the E1 to come apart (surprise).  Both bakelite caps come off, but I can't get the rest of the stuff loose to put a new cord on.  Does anybody have any tips on getting these things apart without a set of E1 wrenches?  I've doused all the cracks with WD40 to try to loosen things, but that didn't work at all.

Dennis Markham:
Bingster, I have recently worked on an E1 handset that had the same problem.  They often do.  They are often damaged by people trying to use those wrenches that fit in the little holes.  A strap wrench works best.  There was a fellow from the TCI selling them 8 or 10 months ago.  His name is Ray Kotke adn he does have a web site (  Now with the sales pitch out of the way for a strap wrench, one of which I do not own, I have had great success using a hair dryer to warm the cap.  This method works great for plastic caps that get stuck on the Bakelite G1 handsets.  It also will work on Bakelite on Bakelite.  The handset that I just cleaned and replaced the cord on is a seamless E1.  I almost gave up but finally got it to free.  You only need to remove the mouth piece end to replace the cord.  I just lay the tip of the hairdryer about 4 inches from the stuck piece.  I let it blow for a good five to ten minutes then give it a try.  I used one of those rubber "cloths" that are for opening lids on new jars of pickles or whatever.  If you try it several times and it still won't budge I have also come up with the next step.  I take a large zip lock freezer bag.  I put the handset inside the bag and then stick the nose of the hair dryer into the bag.  The bag will inflate like a hood and trap in the heat to make the part even warmer.  That and WD 40 in the crack (like you've already done) did the trick for me and the cap came off.  Keep an eye on the bag while doing that...I've melted a bag before but it won't hurt the handset.  If you can't get it off that way you may have to resort to the strap wrench.  They're about $20 from Ray.

Dennis Markham:
Bingster, I've been wondering if you tried the hair dryer technique.  The suspense is killing me!

I don't own a hair dryer. :D  I keep my hair pretty short, so I haven't had one in probably twenty years.  But!  I'm going to try the reverse tonight.  Instead of heating up the transmitter end, I'm going to try dropping a few ice cubes in the aluminum transmitter cup, and see if it shrinks the metal enough that I can turn it.  If that doesn't work I'm going to invest in a strap wrench.  There's one on eBay for around five bucks including shipping right now.

Dennis Markham:
I've heard of people putting them in the freezer too.  I've tried that with not much success.  The only purpose I have for a hair dryer is to get stuck Bakelite caps off handsets!   ;D  I had hair once that could have benefited from a hair dryer, but not any more.


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