Author Topic: AT&T Merlin Phone System (PABX) and Telephone Sets  (Read 15116 times)

Offline Adam

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2011, 10:07:46 PM »
Well... like I said, the handsets are electrically incompatible with each other, so I'm not surprised they have different part numbers.  However, I didn't know the TAM handset was smaller...
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Offline ESalter

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2011, 10:23:47 PM »
Well... like I said, the handsets are electrically incompatible with each other, so I'm not surprised they have different part numbers.  However, I didn't know the TAM handset was smaller...

I had no idea either until I had one of each type in my hands at the same time.  They're remarkably similar in all respects(physically) except for that small transmitter "snout".  There are also Merlin look-alike systems called System 25(I think).  I don't have any of those if anyone does or knows of them, do they take the same handsets?

Here's a strange question, Merlins were first made in '83, I believe.  Does anyone know what year they first start making the TAMs with the "M" style handsets? 

Offline Adam

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2011, 11:09:17 PM »
I believe System 25 (and System 75) sets had K type handsets, squared off like the TAM handset but full-sized on both ends.
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Offline Jim S.

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2011, 11:28:44 PM »
Here is the thread with the clear touchmatic. The touchmatic is reply 4.
Jim

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=2346.msg31192#msg31192

(added later) oops!
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 01:23:59 PM by Jim S. »
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Offline Adam

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2011, 12:11:16 AM »
Here?  I see no "here" here...
Adam Forrest
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Offline gpo706

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2011, 01:07:18 AM »
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.


Yes, its most amusing watching 70's UK TV series where someone covered the mouthpiece to mask the TX. LOL
"now this should take five minutes, where's me screwdriver went now..?"

Offline GG

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2011, 10:43:20 AM »


I have a 2-tone green one sitting right here behind me.

When connected to Panasonic TVA-50 PBX, all three ringer settings have a "start out soft and get louder" effect.  The first cycle of ringing from the PBX doesn't seem to ring on the telephone, which is a minor drawback.  Also the perceived volume of the ring is highly sensitive to what the phone is sitting on.  When it's sitting on soft cloth it's fairly quiet.  On a hard desk surface it's as loud as a 746.  This due to the acoustics of the tweeter. 

How did Western Electric expect you to hold a Merlin or especially Touch-a-Matic handset on your shoulder?   Or did they have some other idea in mind, for example did WE continue to think of handsets as being held in the hand?   And is there some chance they were influenced by the Trimphone, as they were by the 332 being the inspiration for the 302? 

Offline Adam

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2011, 11:06:22 AM »
Since we were on the subject, I got my three touch-a-matics together for a family photo.  I think this is a really neat set.

According to the Bell System practice for this phone, they were available in Ivory, Green, Yellow, White, Brown and Rust.  My Brown, Rust and Ivory sets are shown below.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 11:10:48 AM by masstel »
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Offline Jim S.

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2011, 01:23:24 PM »
THe green is probably the hardest one to find. The BSP list these as a touch matic "S"
JMO,
Jim

Here is the link for my touch a matic.
http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=2346.msg31192#msg31192

reply 4
Jim
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Offline Adam

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2011, 02:24:50 PM »
THe green is probably the hardest one to find.

Yes, the Bell System practice dated July 1982 lists the Green and White colors for this set as MD (manufacture discontinued).  So, they stopped making those colors at some point, making them rarer.

That clear touch-a-matic prototype is AWESOME.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 02:26:52 PM by masstel »
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Offline ESalter

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2011, 10:41:35 PM »
I agree, that clear TAM is neat as heck!  I like how it has a little beige swirled in, actually.  And Dave, Cool picture of your TAM family.  I believe we only have an orange and an ivory.

It must not be the System 25/75 I'm thinking of that looked like Merlin.  I don't see them too often, they look just like Merlin sets except the button field is entirely different.  I seem to remember they had a two digit LED or LCD display at the top as well.

---Eric

Offline Adam

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2011, 11:39:32 PM »
I couldn't find any good pictures.  Perhaps it's only the System 75 set that has the full-sized K style handset...
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Offline Adam

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2011, 11:52:41 PM »
I did find a nice picture of a typical Merlin phone, though.
Adam Forrest
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Offline Jim S.

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2011, 11:58:29 PM »
That is the later model with the plastic stand. The early sets had a cast metal stand.

------------------------------------------------------------
Glad you like the clear TAM. I think the latest date on it is 1982.

I think this was a self contained dialer phone, however It may of been confusing to program , so they created the "S"imple, with assigned #'s.

Just a guess.
If I put a stand-alone TAM "speed-dialer" next to the phone , It sure looks like a "S" set.

---------------------------------------------------------
I have always assumed my set was a proto-type . Does anyone have any pertinent paper?

Jim
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Offline GG

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Re: Merlin Phones?
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2011, 11:29:13 AM »

Merlin was the only other key system in its day with dual-color LEDs, aside from Panasonic.  I'd venture to guess the Merlin LEDs were just a bit more visible under bright light.    It was definitely a worthy competitor to Panasonic, unlike today's nasty Cisco phones where the Hold button is buried in contextual menus unless you pay a yearly fee for the feature pack that allows it to be on the first screen.  

Touch-a-Matic had a role in a science fiction movie.  I don't recall the title, but in this film, there was another Earth on the opposite side of the Sun, and we had an "exchange mission" to swap astronauts.  Upon landing, the Earth 1 astronaut discovered that everything on Earth 2 was backward.  In one scene he's at the house of his opposite number from Earth 2, having met his wife there, who is just like his wife here.  Then he goes to make a phone call.  

Touch-a-Matic.  Backwards, with the handset on the right.  Clearly done by using some kind of mirror on the camera while filming.  I thought, oh that's clever, can't just use a regular wall phone because it would be symmetrical, but the handset on the wrong side makes it more clear that everything is backward.  

I'd be interested in someone starting a topic on phones seen in film, particularly science fiction.  And who can forget the videophone in _2001: Space Odyssey_? 
« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 11:31:08 AM by GG »