Author Topic: AT&T Merlin Phone System (PABX) and Telephone Sets  (Read 16666 times)

Offline ESalter

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AT&T Merlin Phone System (PABX) and Telephone Sets
« on: April 12, 2011, 09:56:43 PM »
I know these are pretty modern and some could consider it off-topic, so forgive me.  I'm just curious how many of you guys out there have a Merlin system or collect Merlin phones.  Personally, I really like the Merlins, I think they look better than most any other type of modern phone system.  I recently managed to dig up an example of every color Merlin phone ever made except for white.  I have Dark Blue, Burgandy, Orange(cinnibar, I believe they called it), Dark Gray, and Brown.  If there's any interest I'll post a few pictures, otherwise I won't waste our megabytes :)

Also, we started with 410s and 820s and such.  For those that don't know a 410 has 4 trunks and 10 extensions, an 820 has 8 trunks and 20 extensions.  Then we moved on to a 1030/3070.  Those can have standard telephone cards which work very nice as a simple intercom system with older phones.  You have to supply a ringing generator, but that's pretty easy.  I believe each card adds 10 standard phone ports.  And they DO support pulse dialing.

Later-
---Eric
« Last Edit: November 30, 2012, 01:09:01 AM by AE_Collector »

Offline paul-f

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2011, 11:09:25 PM »
I have a working 410 system with several different black sets.  Haven't started on the colors yet.
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Offline GG

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2011, 07:45:09 AM »


The AT&T Merlin handset has a surprising resemblance to the GPO-UK Trimphone (772) handset in terms of shape and overall size (and difficulty of balancing on one's shoulder : - ).   See also the Trimphone topic for a funny story I posted about how I used to sell Panasonic switches competing against Merlin, based on that handset. 

Nonetheless, the Merlin system & phones were high-quality material, particularly after they did away with the flat touch-membrane line keys and went to regular buttons.  And KTS phones in color are always cool (Vodavi did that for a while: red, green, blue, etc.).  It's possible that the wiring is compatible with Ethernet, so one could wire a place with multiple Ethernet jacks and then patch-panelize the installation. 

So yeah I'd welcome a Merlin topic including photos. 

Offline Jim S.

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2011, 10:42:13 AM »
I would like to see the colors. I did see a burgandy back in the day. It was in use at a downtown office.


I used to use a merlin system at work and I have a 410 system, tho I have never played with it.
I do have some spare oddball merlin phones.
I kick myself for not buying the Merlin Cordless phone when I had the chance.

Jim

I do have a clear volume control Merlin Type handset.
This is on a clear proto-type touch-matic. The touch matic is a lot like the touch matic "S" only 1/2 size (no speed-dial buttons)
It had speed dial , only not the seperate buttons.
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Offline gpo706

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2011, 06:11:56 PM »
Anyone care to post a pic?

Intrigued by the resemblance to a Trimhone.
"now this should take five minutes, where's me screwdriver went now..?"

Offline Adam

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2011, 06:28:45 PM »
Here is a pic of a typical Merlin phone.

Western Electric also used an exactly the same shape handset (but not the same electrically) for their Touch-A-Matic 10 phones.  Attached is a pic from the Western Electric practice for this phone that very nicely illustrates the handset.

(The Touch-A-Matic 10 wall phone is shown, it was also available in a desk model.)
Adam Forrest
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Offline gpo706

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2011, 06:36:59 PM »
Thanks for that, looks a neat unit.

The handset is like a Trimphone with a bigger head and been on a diet.
"now this should take five minutes, where's me screwdriver went now..?"

Offline Owain

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2011, 07:18:28 PM »
Here is a pic of a typical Merlin phone.

Western Electric also used an exactly the same shape handset (but not the same electrically) for their Touch-A-Matic 10 phones.  Attached is a pic from the Western Electric practice for this phone that very nicely illustrates the handset.

(The Touch-A-Matic 10 wall phone is shown, it was also available in a desk model.)

Is the transmitter down at the mouth end, or up by the receiver using an acoustic horn like the Trimphone?

Offline Adam

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2011, 07:22:53 PM »
Exsqueeze me?  The transmitter on the trimphone handset is WHERE?  You're kidding!

On the small Western Electric handset, the transmitter is physically located down at the mouth end, as it should be.
Adam Forrest
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C*Net 1-383-4820

Offline ESalter

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2011, 07:46:04 PM »
And also, the handsets are NOT the same between Merlins and Touchamatics.  The TAM handsets are much smaller on the transmitter end than the Merlin handsets are.  The black Merlin 10 button phone in the photo is an HFAI-10.

A couple interesting notes I've discovered:

The silver trim pieces above and below the buttons on the HFAI-10s are generally silver "painted" plastic.  On the earliest of Merlin phones those are actually made of Aluminum.  The early sets also had a different style of button membrane(and button color, they were more green and the newer ones are grayer).  Also, older handsets had a metal screen over the transmitter, newer ones have a "grill" molded into the handset plastic.  My favorite feature on the older sets is the model number is stamped on the bottom of the phone in white paint along with "WESTERN ELECTRIC".  I've handled probably a couple hundred Merlin phones and I've only ever seen two(and now have both) of the old ones with "green" buttons that are marked WE on the bottom.  Both are burgandy sets and they're dated 1983. 

I'll take some pictures of the colors and a few comparison shots between old and new sets.

And just in case...  I want a white Merlin phone.  If anyone out there has a nice one I'd be willing to trade a gray, brown, or burgandy one(your choice) for it.  ...Although I have a feeling I'm going to end up feeling like Vern still looking for his Ivory 1554.

---Eric

Offline rdelius

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2011, 08:13:21 PM »
The handset was not hollow like the trimphone.When I found a trimphone I could not believe the handset construction.
Robby

Offline Owain

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2011, 08:31:07 PM »
Exsqueeze me?  The transmitter on the trimphone handset is WHERE?  You're kidding!

I am soooo not kidding.



from Bob's Telephone File

This meant that putting your hand over the mouthpiece did NOT prevent confidential asides being heard by the distant party.

Offline Adam

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2011, 08:51:42 PM »
the handsets are NOT the same between Merlins and Touchamatics.  The TAM handsets are much smaller on the transmitter end than the Merlin handsets are.  The black Merlin 10 button phone in the photo is an HFAI-10.

Ah.  I was wondering if I had assumed incorrectly on that point.  I have never seen the two together.  I stand corrected, thanks.
Adam Forrest
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Offline Adam

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2011, 08:53:54 PM »
The handset was not hollow like the trimphone. When I found a trimphone I could not believe the handset construction.

I am soooo not kidding.

Wow!  Fascinating!
Adam Forrest
Los Angeles Telephone - A proud part of the global C*Net System
C*Net 1-383-4820

Offline paul-f

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2011, 09:59:19 PM »
And also, the handsets are NOT the same between Merlins and Touchamatics. 

The Merlin's Type R handset is shown in the ATT Practice 501-210-130.

The Touch A Matic's Type M handset is in BSP 501-210-110 (not currently in the TCI Library), but is also referenced in 503-400-100 and 503-400-200.

(Edited to correct typo in BSP.)
 
Added a photo reference at: http://www.paul-f.com/weHandsets.html#M
« Last Edit: December 07, 2015, 09:43:00 AM by paul-f »
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