Author Topic: What kind of phone is this?  (Read 1995 times)

Offline 11furby11

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What kind of phone is this?
« on: February 18, 2011, 10:41:14 PM »
Hi Everyone
I went for my morning swim this morning, and in passing said to one of my friends that I was looking for a wall phone.  Before I knew it, I was in her garden shed, her husband with screwdriver in hand, and here is what I was given.  Does anyone know what this phone is? and how old it is?
I only had to scrub it for two hours, rewire the cord, and she rings, you can speak clearly on her, and has a dial tone.  I can't seem to dial out on her, but was told by the Shaw Cable people (who I have phone service with) that if it is a "pulse dial," it's not going to work.  I can't seem to pop the plastic dial off to get at the screw to look at the dial.
Here she is........
Cheers
Sherry
« Last Edit: February 18, 2011, 10:44:28 PM by 11furby11 »

Offline Kenny C

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2011, 10:48:20 PM »
It is an Automatic Electric 90 thats all i know.
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Offline HarrySmith

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2011, 10:56:34 PM »
Yes, Kenny is correct, it is an AE90. An older one from what I can see of the guts. Sounds like you have VOIP service with your telephone through the cable company. You will need a converter or PBX to use it for dialing. There are 3 types of AE fingerwheels, One will release similar to a WE, by using a pin through the wheel to release the lock or a single phillips screw on the center, or a simple hex nut under the dial card.
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Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2011, 11:02:04 PM »
It is, in fact an AE 90 wall phone.  This one probably from the 60's or 70's.  There should be a cryptic sort of date stamped in black ink somewhere on the base, probably on the very back.

That dial fingerwheel may have had the screw in the center, with the laminated paper label for the number.  The laminated cards were expendable, so you just peel it off and there will be the screw.  Unfortunately, I know of nobody that makes the labels for those AE phones.

Many cable telephone providers do not use an ATA (router) that accept rotary pulse dialing.  It's a shame, but that's the way it seems to be going.

I have Vonage over my internet connection, and their router works great with rotaries, but I fear that some day sooner than later, pulse dialing will be totally a thing of the past, and then we will all need to get pulse to tone converters, which many people do already.

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Offline stub

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2011, 11:10:52 PM »
Sherry,
             It's a AE 90. If your phone system doesn't support pluse, you new found phones won't dial out. Yeah the 40 won't work either. Here at home we still have the option to keep pluse and have tone also.You will need to get some sort of converter. I don't know anything about one!!!  Sorry,  stub
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Offline AE_Collector

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2011, 11:50:20 PM »
Well Shaw is the cable TV company here and while technically it is sort of VOIP service, I don't think phone over cable tv systems is truly VOIP is it? In any event, they probably still have the ability to allow or deny dial pulse but I didn't realise that Shaw was blocking dial pulse.

What you need to do Sherry is switch your phone service back to the company that "technically" owns and supplied that AE 90 (BCT never sold any in place phones such as this so "technically" still owns it. They still support dial pulse and are now kicking the C&@P out of Shaw in the TV business too (equivilent of AT&T's UVerse TV / Microsoft Mediaroom). Great deals for win backs from Shaw. We now return the discussion to "old phones" since I am probably in a conflict here discussing my employers current offerings.

Thats a very early AE 90 as it has the painted hook rather than a chrome hook. That pretty much puts it in the very late 50's or maybe very early 60's. I've seen "tons" of AE 90's but only have two with the painted hooks in my collection.

It has a "straight line" ringer in it so shouldn't be hard to get it ringing. Have a set of ear plugs handy!!

I suspect you are trying to get the entire dial assembly off of the phone, not just the finger wheel? Try pushing against the entire dial assembly (push into the phone) and slide the assembly upwards towards the top of the phone at the same time. I can see the slot that locks onto a round stud on each side of the dial in your picture.

Terry
« Last Edit: February 20, 2011, 08:28:39 PM by ae_collector »

Offline 11furby11

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2011, 10:00:04 AM »
Thanks everyone.  So I can either find a PBX, Pulse Converter, or switch back to "Telus" (Terry is this who you mean when you say "BCT")?  I am not fond of "Shaw" telephone anyways.  If you are in a pinch in a foreign country, you can't even phone "collect" through "Shaw."  Not to mention the 1940's phone that Ken fixed, I have to be able to use that one.

Actually the "Shaw" guy comes today to hook up a jack.  I am going to talk to him about a converter, because  they already  told me "pulse" phones won't work.  They said that I could get it to dial by tapping on the buttons of the receiver like "morris code.  Tap once for one, hesitate, tap twice for two..hesitate.. (don't know what you are supposed to do for "0") "I'll "post" what this guy says.  Good to know the competition out there.
Have a great day everyone.  Hope someone finds another cool phone.
Cheers
Sherry

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2011, 11:27:56 AM »
Yes BCT = BC Telephone Co. I'm a bit of a History Nut of BCT. Of course I have lots of phones but have a real interest in their History as well.

Yes you want your AE 40 and new (old) AE 90 wall phone to work properly what ever it takes. Let us know what Shaw has to say about rotary. I've never heard anyone specifically complaining about no Dial Pulse service with Shaw but occasionally hear of that problem with other providers. Well that is good of them to point out that you can always "switch hook dial" your calls! I am not sure how they actually prevent dial pulse service while still allowing switch hook dialing now that I think about it a bit. To the system they are the same thing except a dial works much more consistently than the user dialing with the switch hook. To dial a "0" you do one more pulse than a 9. That is what a dial does, 10 pulses for 0. Start practicing!

Going to hit the antique stores in Cloverdale and Langley today so maybe I will find another "cool" phone!

Here's a partial list of old AE models with pictures:
http://s21.photobucket.com/albums/b273/AE_Collector/Old%20Phones%20-%20Automatic%20Electric/

Terry
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 12:22:02 PM by ae_collector »

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2011, 12:16:25 PM »
Yes, I was thinking the same thing. Tapping the switchook produces pulses, same as the dial. If they do not support pulse dialing then that will not work either, vice versa, if tapping the hook works than the dial should work.
Harry Smith
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Offline GG

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2011, 09:14:45 PM »

Apologies for the length of this posting....

--

Tapping the hookswitch IS dial pulse dialing.  If you can pulse dial by tapping the hookswitch, but the dial on the phone does not break dialtone, then either a) you've miswired the phone or b) someone at an earlier stage miswired the phone, or c) the dial is out of adjustment. 

The easiest thing to check, and the thing that's the least likely cause, is the dial.  AE dials on 80s and 90s were screwed onto metal brackets with leaf springs, that slid into place on the main bracket inside the set.  On 80s you press the dial down gently and slide it down toward the front of the phone.  On 90s you press down gently and slide it up toward the top of the phone. 

The operation of the AE dial is very straightforward:  on winding it up, the off-normal contacts close and the pulse contacts are lowered into position to be operated by the dial cam.  When it returns, the dial cam opens the pulse contacts except that toward the end, the off-normal device on the main shaft lifts the pulse contacts clear of the cam for the last half-revolution of the cam (dial 1 and see how that works to produce a single dial pulse). 

If the dial is out of adjustment, the off-normal device on the main shaft may be lifting the pulse contacts at the wrong time.  Or the pulse contacts may be going open when dropped into place on the cam: look closely: the little notch on the outer pulse contact should not be "riding" on the cam wheel but should be a small fraction of an inch clear of it, and only touching it when the two "lobes" rotate under it.   The large stiff piece of metal just inside of the inner pulse contact is the adjustment for this: tweak it slightly with needle-nosed pliers to get it to lift the contact assembly such that the outer contact is clear of the cam except when the lobes rotate past it. 

--

From your picture it appears as if you have a late 60s to mid 70s dial fingerwheel on there.  That would be the solid plastic one that mounts on a "spider" similar to WE dials.  The way to tell is to look at the finger hole next to digit 6, and then into the area with the circular ribs in the plastic.  Just inside of the circular ribs should be a tiny hole.  HOWEVER!  AE's latching spring on these works differently to WE's, as follows:

With WE dials, the spring comes "upward" into the locking point in the fingerwheel.  With AE dials, it springs "outward" into the locking point.  So if you try to press "down" on the spring with something like a bent paperclip, it will not work and may damage the mechanism.   What you need to do is bend the last 1/8 to 1/4" of the paperclip to a slight angle from the rest of it, and then insert it carefully and try to rotate it to engage with the spring clip.   This is difficult to describe, not particularly easy to do, and will be much more obvious to you since there appears to be no paper card under the dial.  Rotate the dial to fully wound-up position while you gently pry the locking spring loose, and the fingerwheel will rotate further with a click when it comes loose.  Allow the dial to return normally, and then gently wiggle the fingerwheel off the spider. 

That at least will let you put a number card on it.  Though it appears that your fingerwheel is cracked across its front portion, so you might want to go looking for a replacement.

The "spiders" on the dials may be mounted with the large center screw, or on later examples, are tack welded to the metal plate below them.  So if you have a screw there and take it off, and the spider does not come off with a gentle pry, look closely for two little spots that are visible on the front where it was tack welded.   If the spider is tack-welded, you have to use the fingerwheel of the type you already have; the earlier or later types of fingerwheel will not work. 

--

Re. the self-adhesive dial center discs for later AE dial fingerwheels:  Funnily enough, I have a bunch of those around from the 80E days, though I'm not sure where they went.  However, you can take the dial fingerwheel to an office supply store and find self-adhesive round stickers (I don't know what purpose they are actually sold for:-) that should be a correct match.

Or you can get white (or some other color) self-adhesive shelf paper ("Contact paper", it's not actually paper it's a plastic material) at any local hardware store, and use it to at least provide a plain dial center. The way to do this is:

Cut a square of the stuff that'll cover the entire dial center.  Peel and stick it over the dial center.  Use your fingers to press it down over the center so it conforms to the flat surface and comes up neatly at the edges where the ribbed circular area begins.  Take an X-Acto knife or similar, and very carefully trace that circle at the edge between the flat area and the ribbed area.  Then remove the surplus, and you have a round dial center remaining. 

You can do the above with the fingerwheel mounted on the dial, so the screw is concealed.  Or you can do it first and then screw the fingerwheel on, so the screw is visible (in which case the result will look vaguely Ericsson, since Ericsson dials all have the round center screw visible).  Either way is legit. 

The above method may also work to conceal cracks on the fingerwheel you have.

--

One more thing: another way to tell old AE:  Notice in your photo, the thing that looks like a potentiometer with a slotted center having a tiny arrow at one end of the slot.  That was AE's early answer to WE's self-compensating 425 transmission networks.  AECO practices describe how to adjust this such that the transmitter current does not exceed 60 milliamps; I don't recall if that measurement was made in series with the line or in series with the transmitter contacts. 

--

Now if your problem is a mis-wiring issue, that'll take looking up AE practices to be sure.  I have to believe someone posted the document for the type 90 somewhere online, in fact I saw a reference to it somewhere.  AE wiring is "not obvious" in the manner that WE and other 500 sets were obvious.  And it also varies from one model to another, and one year to another depending on the components.  So you might have to send that phone to one of the local experts here to get it wired properly (I could do it but I can't afford to take those on because I don't have the time and my normal hourly rate for business clients is "outrageous" by community standards; someone who lives in a less expensive part of the US might be able to do it for a reasonable price). 

--

In any case, if you send it to someone else, or if you do it yourself: you may have to rewire the ringer using a smaller capacitor or a resistor in series, because many of those cable modem ATAs also do not have the power to ring oldschool phones.  This will also entail making two adjustments to the ringer mechanism itself:

One, at the back of the AE straight line ringers, on the part that moves between the poles of the coils, there is a little screw.  Tightening that screw will increase the swing distance of the clapper; loosening it will decrease the swing distance.  You want to loosen it to decrease the swing distance.  Then you want to loosen the screws under the gongs and rotate the gongs closer together so they will both ring when the clapper moves over a smaller distance.  Unfortunately this may be something of an "iterative" process to get it just right, and having two CO lines would be highly helpful for making it go faster.   If someone else works on the phone for you, they may not get the same adjustment that would work for you on your ATA, so if the ringing isn't quite right you'll still have to fiddle with this yourself. 

One method that is pretty sure, is to rotate the bell gongs to as close as they can get while allowing the clapper to swing at all.  Then loosen the screw on the clapper mech so that it pivots freely between the bells but the clapper is just a tiny bit shy of each bell.  That will at least get you a consistent but quiet ring.  OTOH, quiet is good; these things were designed to be loud enough to be audible throughout an entire house from one location, so when turned up to max, they will almost wake the dead.



Offline 11furby11

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2011, 06:44:58 PM »
Hi GG
I will look at the dial a little more closely, if it is wired wrong, rightfully, it will be dificult to re-wire, but if I can tweek it under-neath, you think it might actually dial out?  I have tried the pulsing with the receiver, and it doesn't break the dial tone.  So,  I have more of a problem than I thought. 

I do like the idea of just covering it with a circular piece of sticker paper, which I have alot of.

As for removing the dial, I see several slits, and ther eis one by the #6.  I was trying to just pop off the centre where the screw is, not realizing the whole dial must come off.

I spoke to my Cable people yesterday, who provide the telephone service.  They don't seem to know anything about the old phones, because they never worked with them.  They don't even know anything about new telephones, which probably aren't worth knowing about anyways.  I highly doubt these new phones will be on ebay in 35-60 years.

Offline 11furby11

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2011, 07:54:49 PM »
Hi
So here's an interesting update everyone.  I go across the street and try this phone in the neighbour's phone jack.  It dials out..no problem.  As you were saying Terry, it's Shaw cable.  I'm happy in one way, that it works obviously, but I am really put off by my telephone provider.  Have to make some calls tomorrow regarding this issue.

Offline GG

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2011, 02:56:51 AM »


Dude, your AE 90 is fine, it's your telco that isn't. 

Folks, the lesson here is: don't go for phone service that is bundled with cable TV, because it's basically VOIP with an ATA that does not recognize pulse dialing. 

Stick with oldschool analog dialtone from AT&T or whoever your local regulated telco is. 

And best of all it will work in power failures of longer than a few hours, because analog CO dial tone is backed up by a diesel generator at the telco with a month's supply of fuel.  Compared to the cable TV based phone service that depends on a battery in the cable co's terminating equipment, that will last a few hours of standby at most.    Some day that might make a difference of life or death.   

Offline Adam

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2011, 09:31:49 AM »
Very valid points.  But I would just like to point out that not all VOIP is bad.

First of all, telephone service from a cable company is LIKE VOIP, but really should be called just "digital telephone".  From what I've read on forums, the percentage of cable company telephone services that support rotary dialing are about 50%.  So, our "old phones" do work with some cable company telephone services.

As for real VOIP, it depends on your hardware.  Some ATAs support rotary dialing, some do not.  I have no POTS lines here at my residence, and my VOIP service fully supports my old rotary phones.
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Offline GG

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Re: What kind of phone is this?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2011, 07:28:24 AM »


Agreed, not all VOIP is bad; it's just another transmission method that can be done well or badly, and made compatible or not with earlier equipment. 

However, these services, whether carried on broadband or bundled with cable TV, are all essentially local battery service that depends on an AC adaptor and a backup battery at the subscriber's prem.

Now consider a heat wave or cold snap that knocks out the power.  The 2003 European heat wave was reported to have killed 40,000 people.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_European_heat_wave   Most of these were older folks living alone because they were not disabled.  Consider other types of disasters that knock out the power but leave the conventional analog phone lines working.  With central battery service (POTS), the phone keeps working and you can call for help in an emergency.  With local battery service of any kind,  when the power is out and the backup battery goes dead, so does the phone.  And in an emergency, dead phones lead to dead people because they couldn't get help.  That's unacceptable in the 21st century.

Telcos that offer local battery service should be required to bundle it with central battery service that includes a telco-installed hardwired main station telephone.  Local battery service without the backup of an associated central battery line should be illegal for use in residences.  The only exception should be local battery magneto exchanges that are manually operated (i.e. legacy systems), but the last of those in the US was in Maine and was converted to dial over a decade ago if I recall correctly. 

And I swear to God I would trade my entire career in interconnect, for a job digging ditches, if that would put the Bell System back in one piece as it existed for over a century.