Author Topic: New member looking for a wall phone - "sodly"  (Read 1623 times)

Offline sodly

  • *
  • Posts: 4
New member looking for a wall phone - "sodly"
« on: January 04, 2011, 05:44:54 PM »
Hi.  I'm new to the forum and relatively new to rotary phones in general, although I have lurked here a bit and picked up a few tidbits.  I currently have a WE500 in red.  I don't know the exact vintage but I think it's from the 60s for sure.  Now I'm looking for a nice black wall phone to install in my home.  I've narrowed my list to:

WE354 (1st choice)
AE90 (2nd choice)
WE554 (3rd choice)

I have some questions, though.  When I was a kid I used to have a WE302 (I think) and I always liked how smooth that metal finger wheel was.  I also liked how heavy (the receiver could've been used as a weapon) the thing was.  Actually, that's the one thing I don't care for about my 500-- the plastic dial.  Even with skinny fingers the holes feel small to me.  But more than that, even though it's not bad, it just doesn't have the shick-whrrr sound and feel I remember from my old WE302 way back when.  Maybe my memory is just rosy but, in any case, I'd like my next phone to have a metal finger wheel/dial.

I know the 354 and 554 came with metal dials (at least early on).  Did the AE90 ever have a metal wheel?  And on that subject, what are the differences between the various dials that come in these phones?  I hear a lot of talk aobut the #5 and #6 dials but I don't know what the differences are.  Can anyone enlighten me?

I also gather that the 354 and 554 were well respected models.  But what about the AE90?  Any reason to avoid them?  Anything particularly good or bad about them?

Finally, what about wall trim plates?  I saw a pic on this site of a nice 354 with a later wall trim plate so the phone didnt' look like it's floating on the wall when it was plugged into a modular wall plate.  See this thread: http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=1171.0  Are plates like this available for all these models?

Thanks for answering all my dumb questions.  Does anyone happen to have a nice, black version of one of these phones that looks nice and works well and happens to be for sale?
« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 12:59:00 AM by AE_collector »

Offline AE_Collector

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7474
  • AE 2 - AECo's 1st Self Contained Desk Phone 1925
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2011, 12:52:13 AM »
I think that you need a 354, 554 AND an AE90! Of course then you would also need an AE 80 desk phone obviously. Early Black AE90's came with black metal fingerwheels and bakelite (heavy) handsets. Early colored AE90's had clear plastic fingerwheels and hollow plastic handsets. All AE90's were hard wired rather than modular but there are/were modualar adapter plates available.

Terry
« Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 01:45:25 AM by ae_collector »

Offline guitar1580

  • *
  • Posts: 62
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2011, 01:31:58 AM »
Hi, I'm still new here too.  Lots of helpful & knowledgable folks here.

You would probably like an early 554, like I use on my garage wall.  They have the metal finger wheel, and the early G bakelite handset, heavy enough to use as a weapon if you like.  Mine is a little rough, but I got it cheap, and it has a long cord, great for walking around the garage.

I wouldn't think a black 354 would be too hard to find, but for every day use, I don't care for the F handset.  I like the look, but it doesn't seem to grip as well between the ear & shoulder, in the "hands-free" mode.

I don't know much about the AE.

Josh P


Offline sodly

  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 09:32:21 AM »
I hear ya, Guitar1580.  That's the one downfall of the 354 in my mind, too.  But I don't plan to have long conversations on this phone so I'll just have to suffer for beauty!

Speaking of sore shoulders... I've seen a pic or two here of phones from the 70s or 80s with the snap on shoulder rest.  Not sure what the proper terminology is.  Wonder where you find those things nowadays.  I also remember the squishy, stick-on should rests back then, too.  It would be fun to have one on my WE500 as a conversation piece, if nothing else.  Only the snap on kind, of course.

Offline HarrySmith

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5208
  • 1937 302
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 09:58:08 AM »
Welcome to the forum ;D
And welcome to the madness that is old telephones. I call it phoneitis, it grows on you as the phones multiply, which they do quickly ;) Never leave them close to each other :D
I believe I have a Black AE 90 that is awaiting restoration if you are interested. Are you looking for one already restored or one to fix up yourself? I also have an old 554 in rough shape I will probably never get around to restoring.
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434
TCI

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

Offline jsowers

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1918
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2011, 10:00:13 AM »
Here are some links to show you the snap-on kind. First, I just posted a scan of a booklet that shows one from when they first came out...

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=2249.msg53054#msg53054

And here is Paul Fassbender's site with more info and better pictures. It uses a special G4 handset, which isn't too easy to find. Black would probably be the easiest color to find.

http://www.paul-f.com/handrest.htm
Jonathan

Offline sodly

  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2011, 10:16:28 AM »
Harry, I'd be after a phone that's all done.  I just started looking in earnest so I'm expoloring my options.

Those are neat scans.  However the shoulder rests I'm talking about are definitely more 80s in vintage.  They were cheap plastic with a black foam piece against the shoulder.  Often had ads printed on the plastic rest iteslf.  I know I saw a photo of one here but who knows where.  Oh well.

Offline Wallphone

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 688
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2011, 11:41:38 AM »
Sodly, instead of an AE90, have you thought about an AE-50 "Jukebox" phone? The AE-50 would have the kind of dial that you are looking for.

Offline wds

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2768
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2011, 12:06:02 PM »
Before I started collecting phones, I was looking for an AE 90, or WE 554 for my 60's style house.  While I was looking for the phone, I came across the AE 50, and it was love at first sight.  Although it's older than my home, it was a perfect fit, and added much more charm than the 80 or 554.  With the chrome handset, fingerwheel and screws, it gets more attention than any of the art work I have hanging on my walls.  Then of course I had to have the matching AE 40, after that I was hooked.   
Dave

Offline LarryInMichigan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4856
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2011, 12:23:47 PM »
Before I started collecting phones, I was looking for an AE 90, or WE 554 for my 60's style house.  While I was looking for the phone, I came across the AE 50, and it was love at first sight.  Although it's older than my home, it was a perfect fit, and added much more charm than the 80 or 554.  With the chrome handset, fingerwheel and screws, it gets more attention than any of the art work I have hanging on my walls.  Then of course I had to have the matching AE 40, after that I was hooked.   

An AE50 (or even better, an AE35) is a great choice.  My main kitchen phone is an AE50, though a few other wall phones (WE 354, North, SC1211, Kellogg 9917) are begging to replace it, at least temporarily.  If you really want a 1960s look though, I think that the WE554 would be best.  That really says 1960s to me.  I never liked AE90s.  They look too fat and clumsy to me (and I have not bought any).  WE554s are not very difficult to find, and there are at least a few forum members here who could probably sell you a beautifully restored 554.

Larry

Offline AE_Collector

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7474
  • AE 2 - AECo's 1st Self Contained Desk Phone 1925
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2011, 01:21:44 PM »
The AE90 was definitely a wall phone based on the AE 80 desk phone chassis. The first 90's have AE80 baseplates, thus the somewaht odd shape to the AE90. I love them all the same though.

Either 554 or AE90 for a 1960's kitchen, preferably in Turquoise!

Terry

Offline Dennis Markham

  • VintageRotaryPhones.com
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5615
    • VintageRotaryPhones.com
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2011, 02:06:39 PM »
Speaking of 60's and Turquoise, it's amazing how many 554's I've hand my hands on that have  Turquoise paint on the edges where the wall was painted.  Apparently it was too difficult to remove the cover, or people were afraid the phone police would come get them.  I've scraped away a lot of leaded Turquoise paint with my finger nail.  I know we had a Turquoise kitchen in 1965.

Offline sodly

  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: New member looking for a wall phone
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2011, 02:07:33 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  I like the jukebox phones, too, but they look a little too depression-era for what I'm after.  I also tend to see a modified desk phone when I look at them.  Since I already have a desk phone I want something a little different.  But, I agree, they are very cool phones and I like 'em a lot.  One of those would probably be next on my list.

What I like about the AE90 is that the receiver hangs to the side, which is unusual (at least to me).  I really like the spacesaver phones for the same reason but I don't think they can work with a modular wall plate (right?).  But overall I still kinda prefer the WE354, I think, for what I'm trying to do.