Author Topic: Prototype or homebrew?  (Read 1053 times)

Offline Adam

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Prototype or homebrew?
« on: May 11, 2011, 09:36:39 AM »
I just won this from eBay.  It is a black Western Electric Touch-a-Matic S set.  Only problem is, the Bell System practice for this phone doesn't include black in the list of colors this set was available in.

So, what do you guys think this is?  Something rare?  Or something someone just painted up for themselves?

Will let you know more when I receive it.
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: Prototype or homebrew?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 12:02:14 PM »
Dave,

Nice find!

You don't have the entire history of the phone by looking at one issue of the BSP.  (Which issue did you reference?)  

Remember this phrase:

    "It's risky to draw conclusions based on what's NOT in a BSP!"

In this case, all we know for sure is the colors that were promoted at the time that BSP issue was released.

Colors were often changed during a product's lifetime, so black may have been added after this one or deleted before it.

In addition, the Bell system would often make a run of sets in "non-promoted" colors for a customer who would take a large batch (typically over 100 units at a time).  They could either be in the special color plastic or painted.

A better measure of scarcity is observation.  I haven't studied the TAM-S in much detail, but don't recall seeing loads of black sets on the used market. Has anyone else seen them?

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Offline Adam

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Re: Prototype or homebrew?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 12:08:32 PM »
Colors were often changed during a product's lifetime, so black may have been added after this one or deleted before it.

I agree with everything you say, except, if black was deleted before this practice, wouldn't black still be listed as (MD) as Green and White are on the list?

I do watch the TAM-S sets as they come up, I now own three.  This is the first black one I've ever seen listed personally.  Anyone else?
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 12:10:05 PM by masstel »
Adam Forrest
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C*Net 1-383-4820

Offline paul-f

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Re: Prototype or homebrew?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 01:17:04 PM »
Table A above seems to match the one in Issue 2 of the BSP (July 82) found in the TCI Library.  Issue 1 has the same table without the MD notations.  Anyone have a later issue or catalog page showing black?

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Offline GG

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Re: Prototype or homebrew?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2011, 05:00:04 AM »


I'm going to guess it was a homebrew via being painted.  The clue is the type of reflection from the lighting: it appears that the handset and base have a kind of sheen to them that is often seen with semi-flat paint, rather than the more high-contrast shine that occurs with plastic. 


Offline Jim Stettler

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Re: Prototype or homebrew?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2011, 10:21:38 AM »
I agree with GG it is painted or matte plastic. I have never seen any colors other than the BSP list for the TAMs.
I would say green and Rust are the hardest colors to find.

JMO,
Jim

I have a transparent Touchmatic (non S)
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Offline Adam

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Re: Prototype or homebrew?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2011, 05:01:19 PM »
OK.  Mystery solved.  It was painted black (originally ivory).  Paint job done fairly well but not what I would consider a professional job.  Displays well, but not worth what I payed for it, although I didn't pay a lot.

But you know what they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Adam Forrest
Los Angeles Telephone - A proud part of the global C*Net System
C*Net 1-383-4820