Author Topic: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?  (Read 21386 times)

Offline HobieSport

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2009, 01:16:36 AM »
I admit that I also never had a 554 since childhood!

But I have also stood beneath the big bell of Notre Damme in Paris and heard her ring.

I'm not sure if that counts for something.
-Matt

Offline wfs1933

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2015, 02:47:15 PM »
I know the 500 came out in 1949, i've seen a few on Ebay made in 1953

http://www.paul-f.com/we500typ.htm

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2015, 07:42:44 PM »
I'm going to re-open this old thread about the black hooked version of the Western Electric 554.  Last weekend I was contacted by RotarDad.  He sent me an Etsy link for a phone he thought might be a legitimate, early 554 with a black hook.  The seller said it was NOS.  After looking at the listing I agreed that it looked legit to me as well.  He said that he was not interested in buying the phone so with his blessing I pushed the button.  It arrived yesterday.  Turns out I bought a NOS 554 in  White from the same seller back in 2013.  If I can get them to upload, here are some photos of it as I pulled it out of the box.  No extra charge for the dust.

The parts that are specific are dated June 5, June 6 and June 8.  So today would be the 60th birthday of the ear piece.  The transmitter is dated June 8, 1955 so we'll have to go with it's birthday being in two days.  The housing is dated 6 5 55 2.

The 554 that Jonathan posted here is dated June 10, 1955.  So this one would be just a couple of days older.

It came in the original box marked BR554 -3.  I believe the B indicates a dial version and the R is for the retractile cord.  By the way, the cord is the heavy rubber with a 55 date on the strain relief.  The only thing missing is the little package with the dial card retainer ring and acetate disc.

Thank you RotarDad for the tip on this phone.  It fits well in my 554 collection.

~Dennis



« Last Edit: June 06, 2015, 09:05:15 PM by Dennis Markham »

Offline jsowers

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2015, 07:56:30 PM »
Dennis, even sight unseen I can tell you got a nice prize there. Rare plus NOS plus it fills a hole in your collection. What's not to like?
 
For those who don't want to go back and read the history, they only made the black switchhook models for a short time--just a few months in mid-1955. My theory is the ivory 554 was introduced to replace the ivory 354 and the switchook changed to chrome across the board. Then shortly after came colors like dark beige, moss green and red. There are very few 554s from 1955 that have surfaced, so it's only a theory from what we've seen and phone company literature of the era.
Jonathan

Offline RotarDad

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #34 on: June 06, 2015, 09:33:57 PM »
Dennis - Thanks for posting the pics.  I'm very pleased this one turned out well!  I wouldn't have even known about the existence of black hook 554s without this great forum and all your efforts to maintain it as well as share your knowledge.  Thank you!  Paul
« Last Edit: June 06, 2015, 09:36:12 PM by RotarDad »
Paul

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #35 on: June 06, 2015, 09:52:57 PM »
Wow, great phone, Dennis!!! You obviously have the best of both worlds; black hook AND it's NOS!! Great find!

How much did it cost, BTW?
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline ted88

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #36 on: July 02, 2017, 07:16:48 PM »
Not sure of dates on my 554's,  but I have every color they made.

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #37 on: June 10, 2018, 11:06:33 PM »
Well, Paul (Rotordad)--the master "find-finder" for some of us--strikes again! He pointed me towards a black-hook 554 on ebay, this one with what appears to be an original backboard. Not too bad a deal for $85 plus shipping, considering it's probably all original.

So, it seems like I might have a contender for the "oldest 554" nomination. Thanks Paul! ;)

I'll create a separate topic for it when it arrives.

www.ebay.com/itm/332681581782
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline RotarDad

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #38 on: June 11, 2018, 02:53:44 AM »
Youíre welcome Christian.  Glad to help fill out your 554 collection.  Iím hopeful this one will be all-original from the early days in Ď55.  Looking forward to the arrival pics!!  Paul
Paul

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2018, 08:58:03 PM »
I do believe I have an oldie here... a mix of dates between June and July 1955!

The mix is explained by the housing date: 6-28-55, the end of the month. The only replaced part is the handset cord, also the only part damaged. Other than stretch cracks in the replaced cord, everything looks nearly perfect. In fact, I may not need any chemical polishing...the plastic only has minor scuffs that will come out with Ultimate Compound.

I'll get some pictures up a little later in a different thread.
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline jsowers

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #40 on: June 13, 2018, 09:41:58 PM »
Congratulations, Christian! I'm glad it was original except for the cord that you were going to replace anyway. Those "all black" 554s are not easy to find and they have consistently been early models. I'm sure it will look nice once again when you're finished. Was there a surprise number card in there? A black masked card looks good on these phones and mine happened to come with one. Might as well carry the black theme to the end. They almost disappear in the display, but they are very sleek looking.

These phones will always remind me of my family's trips to the Lancaster, PA area and the "black bumper Mennonites." They painted the chrome on their cars black because they thought it was ostentatious. The cars themselves were also black. I was a total car nut when I was a kid, so I was always on the lookout for those cars, and a 1950s car with all the chrome painted was quite a sight. In those days (the 1970s) it was easy to tell that had been done. Nowadays it looks normal not to have chrome on a black car. But not in the 1970s.
Jonathan

Offline Vern P

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #41 on: April 03, 2019, 11:44:27 PM »
I just came across this post, yes I have not read it all.  As I recall the first 554's did not have the "knotches" on the top to "hold the handset".  The top was smooth.  The hook was black also.  At one time I heard of someone having one of these very early ones. I tried to make a trade, but it never happened.
Vern

Offline jsowers

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Re: Who Among Us Has the Oldest 554?
« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2019, 10:46:20 AM »
I just came across this post, yes I have not read it all.  As I recall the first 554's did not have the "knotches" on the top to "hold the handset".  The top was smooth.  The hook was black also.  At one time I heard of someone having one of these very early ones. I tried to make a trade, but it never happened.
Vern

I'll believe in the missing notches when I see a picture. So, Vern, is this something you heard or did you actually see the phone in person? We need evidence or at the least an eye-witness.
Jonathan

Offline allnumbedup

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Just won an old black Kellogg/ITT wall phone one-bid-wonder on ebay with the idea of stealing it's wide chrome switch hook for my 1959 moss green 554, learning a bit with this my first Kellogg/ITT, then restoring and reposting it on ebay to fund my habit--but with my 554's narrow hook switch .

This phone has a Kellogg/ITT soft plastic case with the cool griffin marking, and ITT bakelite handset, a Kellogg/ITT ringer, plus an unmarked moss green long cord--all as expected.  Here's the thing I didn't expect though: The body is a really old Western Electric 554 dated 4/55 and the dial is a 7E-3 dated 3/55.  I never heard of a 7"E" before and learned from TCI it was MD at some point before 1968.  The body has no markings on the back except two long black arrows pointing to the mounting holes and the internal date is stamped in very light vermilion.  The handset elements are stamped 4/55 and 6/53 .

I am much more interested in building a small collection of soft plastic colored phones and already have a red and green 554.  Stealing the fat hook then 'restoring' this phone with the components as purchased doesn't seem right either.  Any advice regarding how unusual or desirable from the 554 crowd would be appreciated--sell for parts, trade, or keep 'just in case?'.