Author Topic: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets  (Read 4628 times)

Offline Dave F

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AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« on: October 22, 2011, 02:58:53 PM »
The obscure AE AUTOVON phone was recently discussed in another thread, and I said that I would try to locate mine.  Well, after some serious searching, I managed to find it.  (In the course of my search, I also ran across a few other nifty things which I will post at a later date.)

This phone came from Hawaii, and had apparently been sent back to the shop as defective.  It has not yet received any sort of restoration, and is in the same condition as when I found it several years ago.

According to the yellow repair tag, the "8" button on the dial does not work.  Not a big surprise, considering how flimsy these old AE TT dials were.  That's probably just a dirty contact -- easy to fix someday.  The tag also indicates that the phone is a Type 8023.  I have never encountered any literature on this phone, so I don't know whether this refers to the official AE model number or some Hawaiian Telephone Company internal number.

Looking at the top, you can see that the originally-red special function buttons have faded to gray with the passage of time and, with the exception of one mounting clip, the number card holder above the dial is missing.  Both of these conditions are common maladies of this phone type.  On the bottom, the cork pad is missing.

It's definitely old and worn, but I'm pleased as punch to have found one of these really rare sets.

Offline ESalter

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2011, 03:20:53 PM »
That's a really cool phone Dave!  Until that other thread came up, I never realized AE made Autovon sets.  Definitely a very unique telephone.  Thanks for sharing!  ---Eric

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2011, 05:40:59 PM »
Yes a very nice item to have! Got any more of these or is that it?

It is pink isn't it, not Beige? But by looking at the sticker on the bottom it appears to be painted pink? The handset is likely solid pink as this handset was of course made in pink but the 880 speakerhone does not appear to have ever been made in Pink (or Ivory, or Forget Me Not Blue, or Red, or Sunny Yellow) which other AE phones of the era were available in.

Now Paul-f should post a picture of his Beige Autovon set here as well (hint). Paul have you ever heard a model for this phone or are there any markings on yours?

I have an 880 that has its base attached with those same big screws (old dial finger wheel screws). I had never seen them done this way before and suspect it wasn't factory but rather a refurb shop trick.

Terry
« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 06:23:30 PM by AE_collector »

Offline Dave F

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2011, 06:01:45 PM »
Yes very nice item, to have! Got any more of these or is that it?

It is pink isn't it, not Beige? But by looking at the sticker on the bottom it appears to be painted pink? The handset is likely solid pink as this handset was of course made in pink but the 880 speakerhone does not appear to have ever been made in Pink (or Ivory, or Forget Me Not Blue, or Red, or Sunny Yellow) which other AE phones of the era were available in.

Now Paul should post a picture of his Beige Autovon set here as well (hint). Paul have you ever heard a model for this phone or are there any markings on yours?

I have an 880 that has its base attached with those same big screws (old dial finger wheel screws). I had never seen them done this way before and suspect it wasn't factory but rather a refurb shop trick.

Terry
I only have this one, and it is beige.  It wasn't very bright this morning when I took the pictures, and the dimness must have an impact on the perceived color. 

I know from listening to the grapevine that there are a few of these floating around in collections, but mine, Paul's, and the one in the JKL museum are the only ones I have actually seen, either in person or in photos.  So far, nobody I have talked to has any info (model #, etc) on this set.  I would think that these AE sets were made in even smaller quantities than W.E. AUTOVON phones, which by themselves are pretty rare.

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2011, 06:33:26 PM »
Coincidentally I just changed monitors on my computer and I figured out how to make some adjustments. Once I was done, your Autovon set is once again "Sand Beige". Though I have to admit, Pink probably increased it's value substantially! Is the one at JKL Beige as well?

Terry

Offline paul-f

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2011, 08:02:07 PM »
My set and the one in the JKL Museum are both beige and are marked on the bottom  L 8023 AB.  Still looking for a catalog that shows it!

Here are photos showing the number card holder and bottom markings.
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Offline Dave F

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2011, 10:47:22 PM »
Cool Paul, thanks for adding your pics.

Dave

Offline teka-bb

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2011, 04:14:58 AM »
My set and the one in the JKL Museum are both beige and are marked on the bottom  L 8023 AB.  Still looking for a catalog that shows it!

Here are photos showing the number card holder and bottom markings.

Hello Paul,

It looks like the 'red' buttons are not red on the AE phone, or are they really discolored? Amazing all 3 phones have discolored the same way.
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Offline GG

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2011, 04:18:11 AM »

Somehow I can't see the military going in for pink phones.  Or turquoise.  Or yellow or even baby blue, much less AE lilac!  

"Well, Admiral, how do you like your new office on base?"

"It's fine except ...the phone is PINK!"

"Oh, sorry sir, I forgot, nautical colors, shades of blue and all that.  OK, I'll have it replaced with pastel turquoise by 0800 hours tomorrow."

"I'm not sure you understood my meaning...."

---

Dave, that's VERY interesting that it says Hawaiian Tel on the bottom as well as on the repair tag.  Everything I knew about Autovon said it was a world unto itself, built and maintained by the military, and the civilian telcos were not in the picture.  So much for that theory!  If Hawaiian Tel got into the game, then the Bell operating companies would have to have been also.  

In which case a subgroup of telco personnel would have to have been cleared for access to bases, highly-secure rooms where switching & transmission equipment was kept, and so on.  That would at minimum have required a SECRET clearance, possibly TS if anything crypto was anywhere near.  

Probably the only way to get the history straightened out on this is to find people who worked on it, who are willing to talk off-the-record and anonymously, and of course steer way clear of asking about anything classified.  

---

Re. the red buttons: there's only one way to find out, which is to disassemble the set far enough to get a look at the backsides of the buttons. 

Whatever was the case, I suspect a decent buffing with coarse compound and then with fine compound, taking serious care to not blur or dull the edges of the buttons, will bring them back to looking as new as they're going to get.


Offline Owain

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2011, 05:43:59 AM »


Dave, that's VERY interesting that it says Hawaiian Tel on the bottom as well as on the repair tag.  Everything I knew about Autovon said it was a world unto itself, built and maintained by the military, and the civilian telcos were not in the picture.  So much for that theory!  If Hawaiian Tel got into the game, then the Bell operating companies would have to have been also.  


As (AFAIK) the Autovon sets were standard DTMF phones with the additional right-hand column ABCD buttons relabelled, there would be no security issue with using civilian telcos to maintain phones.

I used to have some Intertel PBX extension phones that had the ABCD buttons used for PBX purposes.

Offline Dave F

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2011, 12:59:20 PM »
Civilian local telephone companies often (usually) were involved in providing and maintaining AUTOVON phones on US military bases.  AUTOVON (as opposed to AUTOSEVOCOM, an encrypted system that also used similar 16-button phones with different cable connectors) was not a secure system, and there wouldn't generally have been a big problem letting civilian techs have access.

Offline Dave F

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2011, 01:06:37 PM »
.....Re. the red buttons: there's only one way to find out, which is to disassemble the set far enough to get a look at the backsides of the buttons.

Whatever was the case, I suspect a decent buffing with coarse compound and then with fine compound, taking serious care to not blur or dull the edges of the buttons, will bring them back to looking as new as they're going to get.
A while ago, a spare set of the four red AE AUTOVON buttons, attached to their mounting, appeared on eBay.  Although I unfortunately didn't win that auction, it was useful to confirm that those buttons were indeed originally red.  Actually, if the buttons on my phone were buffed out as you suggest, the gray color wouldn't look bad at all.

Offline GG

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2011, 05:55:50 AM »


Dave - Yes, they'd look fine in "beige" if buffed. What did that set of red buttons go for? 

Owain - Yes there's a problem. 

A spy who got into the telco would be able to take two spare wires in the telephone set cord and connect them across the transmitter terminals on the network block inside the phone, and then cross-connect to an idle pair on the MDF.  Then go to any junction box between the phone and the CO (or heck, work with a fellow spy in the CO) and attach a source of battery to power the transmitter.  Then what you have is an active microphone in the room, to pick up whatever conversations are going on nearby.

Today anyone with intel training would have a fit about letting uncleared persons anywhere near military communications infrastructure.   This because tasty tidbits often pass over unencrypted wires, and persistent collection will eventually yield valuable information, either directly or upon further analysis.  However today the spy game is played by remote-control, with cyberattacks and malware, and has become a major problem for us, thanks to the interconnectedness between various "secure" computers and the public internet. 

Offline Dave F

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2011, 12:28:00 PM »
Dave - Yes, they'd look fine in "beige" if buffed. What did that set of red buttons go for? 

I don't remember precisely, but it was less than $100.  If a similar item ever appears again, I will certainly try harder to win it.

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: AECo AUTOVON Telephone Sets
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2012, 01:23:19 PM »
Two auctions just ended for AE Autovon phones.

The first auction: http://www.ebay.com/itm/350672679655
AUTOMATIC ELECTRIC SPEAKERPHONE L8028 AB 1967
Final selling price $270.99

The second auction:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/350672695846
AUTOMATIC ELECTRIC SPEAKERPHONE L8028 AB 1968
Final selling price $315.01

I won the first one with the more discoloured buttons. I will post more info once I get the phone.

I know that Paul F and Dave F each have one of these and Paul says that the JKL Museum in California has one as well. All examples that i am aware of are the same color, AE Sand Beige.

Here are three pictures from the auction I won.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 01:55:14 AM by AE_Collector »