Author Topic: My First Automatic Electric  (Read 4542 times)

Offline Tribune

  • ***
  • Posts: 155
My First Automatic Electric
« on: September 13, 2010, 12:47:11 PM »
So, a wedding anniversary trip to the Antique Mall, my wife bought me an Automatic Electric (Canada) model 80 for CDN$25. My first Automatic Electric unit (though my wife was very keen on a Northern Electric green Dawn phone).




In very good shape apart from some superficial scratches that should  sand out with some fine grit wet & dry. Nice chrome cradle switch plungers and metal finger-wheel too.

Not knowing much about Automatic Electric units, this one appears to have been made in Canada. But there's no date on the base or obvious on any of the components. Not even sure what model 80 it is. The fact that there's only three conductors from the handset suggests either AE80D or AE80E. Couldn't find any obvious markings on the transmission unit beneath the dial. Any suggestions?


Not the best pic, but the stamp on the base says:- AE Monophone Registered Canadian Trade Mark, produced by Automatic Electric (Canada) **unreadable**, O-76G57  Brockville Ontario.

One nice and intriguing find was the repair label folded up and inserted between the ringer and the capacitor. Label on one side says "Dennison Canada K" "Inspected or Repaired by: Kentucky June 2 1964" On the reverse side it is stamped with "Repair Shop Calgary Location Code". So obviously pre-dates 1964. But Why repaired by "Kentucky" when all the markings in the phone and repair label are Canadian. Hmmmm rather odd.



Also, what's the adjustable rheostat on the base for? So, any suggestions as to establishing the age and model would be greatly appreciated!
Mark Furze - TCI, ATCA

To miss-quote "Bones" McCoy . . .
                     "darn it Jim - I'm a doctor, not a telephone engineer!"

Offline Phonesrfun

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4867
  • "Number Please"
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2010, 01:33:22 PM »
The rheostat was for line loop compensation.  The early AE80's did not have varistors built into the circuit for this, so the installer had to set it based on current measurements.  The rheostat does not make much difference where you set it, but may have an effect on how others hear you, but probably won't make a bit of difference on how you hear others.

Looks like you have a frequency ringer, which means you won't be able to get it to ring without changing out the ringer to a 20~ straight line ringer.

I believe 3-conductor handset cords were used on those early 80's.

The one who REALLY knows AE80's and Canadian phones is Terry Biddlecombe a.k.a. ae_collector.  He lives in Vancouver, BC, and works for the telco there.
-Bill G

Offline JorgeAmely

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2164
  • SC from 1973
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2010, 01:38:54 PM »
The rheostat points to sometime late 1950s, very early 60s. The metal finger wheel points to mid fifties.

If the handset is bakelite, then definitively mid fifties.

The potentiometer or rheostat, is there to adjust the DC line current to a nominal value which is a function of distance from the phone to the central office. The line current is around 25 to 30 milliamperes DC and provides power to the carbon based microphone.

The finger wheel is almost complete: check on ebay. Sometimes vendors sell the missing card retainer ring to complete your phone.

Hopefully Terry, our resident AE expert from Canada, will add/correct to my comments.

PS: Bill, he has a 20 Hz ringer, easily identified by the volume adjustment wheel.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2010, 01:41:02 PM by JorgeAmely »
Jorge

Offline Phonesrfun

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4867
  • "Number Please"
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2010, 01:43:22 PM »
PS: Bill, he has a 20 Hz ringer, easily identified by the volume adjustment wheel.

So he does.  I guess I need new specs.
-Bill G

Offline JorgeAmely

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2164
  • SC from 1973
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2010, 01:45:06 PM »
Bill:

The one piece clapper is typical of 20 Hz ringers.
Jorge

Offline Phonesrfun

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4867
  • "Number Please"
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2010, 01:51:41 PM »
Yes,  that is true.  The reason I went astray is because most of the AE SL ringers I have seen have a paper or fabric cover over the ringer coils, and most of the frequency ringers seem to have the laquered coil wires.  Of course this is not always the case, but I jumped to a conclusion without really looking carefully at the photo.
-Bill G

Offline JorgeAmely

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2164
  • SC from 1973
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2010, 02:17:03 PM »
Yes,  that is true.  The reason I went astray is because most of the AE SL ringers I have seen have a paper or fabric cover over the ringer coils, and most of the frequency ringers seem to have the laquered coil wires.  Of course this is not always the case, but I jumped to a conclusion without really looking carefully at the photo.

Bill:
Didn't someone say that the lacquered coils are for tropical environments?
Jorge

Offline Tribune

  • ***
  • Posts: 155
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2010, 03:32:51 PM »
Thanks chaps, great info!

I have to admit, I haven't had opportunity to test it yet, so wasn't sure if it would ring or not. Hopefully will give it a try this afternoon. Dial returns nice and smooth and quick though. One thing I did notice was that it was way heavier then other newer-looking (plastic finger wheel) AE 80s the guy at the Antique Mall had for sale. In fact he's got a ton of old phones he's trying to shift that he scored from the Edmonton Telephone Historic Centre when he helped them move. Potential goldmine?

And yes, Bakelite handset  :)

Glad I don't have to swap out the ringer, nice to keep it original as possible. On that note though, what are folks thoughts on repainting the metal finger wheel where its lost paint around the finger holes, or keep it as is? What kind of line cord would these baby's have had back in the 50's and is the coiled rubber handset cord original too?

Will be hunting round for a dial card retainer - guess I can always source one from phoneco or from OPW.
Mark Furze - TCI, ATCA

To miss-quote "Bones" McCoy . . .
                     "darn it Jim - I'm a doctor, not a telephone engineer!"

Offline Brinybay

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4383
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2010, 03:44:15 PM »
PS: Bill, he has a 20 Hz ringer, easily identified by the volume adjustment wheel.

So he does.  I guess I need new specs.

So is that a quick check for frequency ringers on all phones, whether or not it has a volume adjustment wheel?
The idea that a four-year degree is the only path to worthwhile knowledge is insane.
 - Mike Row
e

Offline Phonesrfun

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4867
  • "Number Please"
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2010, 03:59:53 PM »
AE only put volume wheels on straight line ringers.  HOWEVER, not all AE straight line ringers have them.

So, on an AE ringer, if it has a volume thumb wheel, it is straight line.  If no wheel, it still could be either way.

-Bill G

Offline HarrySmith

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5377
  • 1937 302
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2010, 04:15:47 PM »
On AE the easiest and best way is to check the label on the ringer. if it says 20hz you are good to go ;D
I learned this the hard way after swapping ringers 4 times on my first 90 >:(
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434
TCI

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"

Offline AE_Collector

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7504
  • AE 2 - AECo's 1st Self Contained Desk Phone 1925
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2010, 01:37:14 AM »
On AE the easiest and best way is to check the label on the ringer. if it says 20hz you are good to go ;D
I learned this the hard way after swapping ringers 4 times on my first 90 >:(

Or "SL" for straight line...20 hz and SL are two different things but generally a 20Hz ringer will work pretty well on modern lines.

Terry

Offline AE_Collector

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7504
  • AE 2 - AECo's 1st Self Contained Desk Phone 1925
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2010, 01:44:56 AM »
In fact he's got a ton of old phones he's trying to shift that he scored from the Edmonton Telephone Historic Centre when he helped them move. Potential goldmine?

What kind of line cord would these baby's have had back in the 50's and is the coiled rubber handset cord original too?

Will be hunting round for a dial card retainer - guess I can always source one from phoneco or from OPW.

You should try to see what the guy has as the Historic Centre (used to be the edmonton telephones museum) likely has some nice stuff so this guy might have some of the less exotic duplicates that they had to unload after the move.

If the coil cord is rubber it is probably original, or at least it might have been new at the 1964 refurb. I'm not convinced from the picture that it is a rubber handset cord rather than vinyl. What color are the conductors in the handset cord?

The phone itself is probably older than 1964, late 50's or very early 60's. It seems that AE kept putting out the black 80's with chrome plungers and metal fingerwheels even though the colored 80's came with clear plastic FW's. Colored 80's did have the chhrome plungers initially.

Off hand I can't say when the AECo's changed away from the manual compensator (rheostat on the base) but it was early 60's, possibly 63 or so.

Terry
« Last Edit: September 14, 2010, 02:02:25 AM by ae_collector »

Offline AE_Collector

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7504
  • AE 2 - AECo's 1st Self Contained Desk Phone 1925
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2010, 01:50:10 AM »
If the handset is bakelite, then definitively mid fifties.


Again, like the metal fingerwheels, the black 80's seemed to come with the almost solid bakelite handset (had a very small passage way molded in to push the two receiver conductors through as oposed to molded in conductors like the 40 handset) for quite awhile after the colored sets came out with plastic handsets. I have quite a few black 80's with the bakelite handsets from the early 60's. Colored 80's with plactic handsets were out by 1956 or 1957. 

Terry

Offline AE_Collector

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7504
  • AE 2 - AECo's 1st Self Contained Desk Phone 1925
Re: My First Automatic Electric
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2010, 01:58:26 AM »
So, a wedding anniversary trip to the Antique Mall, my wife bought me an Automatic Electric (Canada) model 80 for CDN$25. My first Automatic Electric unit (though my wife was very keen on a Northern Electric green Dawn phone).

Not knowing much about Automatic Electric units, this one appears to have been made in Canada. But there's no date on the base or obvious on any of the components. Not even sure what model 80 it is. The fact that there's only three conductors from the handset suggests either AE80D or AE80E. Couldn't find any obvious markings on the transmission unit beneath the dial. Any suggestions?

Not the best pic, but the stamp on the base says:- AE Monophone Registered Canadian Trade Mark, produced by Automatic Electric (Canada) **unreadable**, O-76G57  Brockville Ontario.

One nice and intriguing find was the repair label folded up and inserted between the ringer and the capacitor. Label on one side says "Dennison Canada K" "Inspected or Repaired by: Kentucky June 2 1964" On the reverse side it is stamped with "Repair Shop Calgary Location Code". So obviously pre-dates 1964. But Why repaired by "Kentucky" when all the markings in the phone and repair label are Canadian. Hmmmm rather odd.

I've always wondered what anniversary you get AECo's for.....10 years?

Yes, made in Brockville Ontario. That guarantees that it was made in 1953 or later but then of course the AECo 80 wasn't designed until 1954 or maybe even 1955 so that rules out it having been made prior to then anyway.

The *unreradable* on the base is "Limited". "Automatic Electric Canada Limited".

My guess would be that "Kentucky" was the repair persons name or maybe nickname. Likely AGT repair shops in Calgary although I am not certain that AGT (Alberta Gov't Telephones) had their own repairshops but I would suspect that they did back then. Another option would have been sending them back to AE Canada for refurb but that tag doesn't appear to be anything to do with AECo.

Terry
« Last Edit: September 14, 2010, 02:00:42 AM by ae_collector »