Author Topic: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial  (Read 2032 times)

Offline Witty

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Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« on: January 26, 2012, 06:11:38 PM »
I acquired this dial years ago. It came on a D1 model and I just recently opened it up.  I took some photos to show in hopes I might get some more helpful information about the dial. I've always understood the dial body to be a #2 converted to a #4. I was surprised to find the celluloid number plate with the PAT. PEND. I-34 stamp on the back and no production markings on the front that you usually find on these. In close examination, it becomes apparent that the dimples in the dial have a special purpose.  The three smaller dimples simply hold the number plate up off the metal framing of the dial.  The two larger dimples fit down into the slots of the dial frame. It is also obvious that this dial was originally a notchless plate and a notch was cut out at some point to accommodate the inside finger stop. The color of the celluloid has faded slightly through out, since the color is consistent on the front and back.

The dial body has a green stamp that says ?? ?? PROPERTY. I can't make out the first letters.

I wanted to post this for comment and possibly if anyone has more information they can pass on about the dial.

Offline Doug Rose

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 06:19:36 PM »
Beautiful dial with a stunning dial plate. The plate in in phenomenal condition, not many were made and hardly any survived. They just broke. This shows minimal fading. Hang on to it, it is a beauty!. Pop this former #2 on a WE B1 102 and you will be thrilled with it....Doug
Kidphone

Offline Witty

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 08:43:53 PM »
Thanks Doug,
I just might do that. The impressed text along the outside edge of the dial has a nice look to it and would be nice to have it exposed. I have several candlesticks with #2 dials like that and love how they look.  I discovered that the green stamp says;  TEL CO PROPERTY.  It was actually on another transition dial (#2 to #4 conversion) just like this one that sold in the past couple months and was stamped more clearly.  Maybe it was common to these transitions dials?
Anyway, thanks again for your comments.

Ken

Offline Witty

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2012, 01:43:50 PM »
I was curious if anyone had any more information about these plates. I have some older ones made of metal with the celluloid laminated on the surface, but had actually never seen one like this where the whole plate was one solid celluloid piece. When were they used and for how long? What plate number were these assigned (149, 150, etc.) and were these ever put into standard production after acquiring a full patent (if indeed they did)?

I'm sort of a stickler for details like that with old collectibles, but of course I also realize that sometimes old information has been lost and simply isn't available anymore.

Ken

Offline Witty

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2012, 11:46:54 AM »
Just to follow up, I was emailed by a couple members that these were in production for only a couple years after the patent was acquired.  According to them, Western Electric stopped production because they did not lay down snug enough on the dial, and were damaged too easily.  When mine is attached to the dial it is very snug and not lose at all, but I can see how someone could crack it if they put too much pressure on the plate or poked something hard against it while dialing a number. The punched in standoffs hold the plate slightly up off the metal framework of the dial. 

I did notice that a collector currently has one for sell on Ebay, dated in the 4th quarter of 1934, that seems to be in very good condition.  I have no clue about how close his asking price is, but his buy-it-now price sure seems way too high.

Thought I would pass this information on.

Ken

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2012, 12:21:18 PM »
I would expect that this plate would be worth over $100 to a collector, possibly much more.

Larry

Offline Doug Rose

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2012, 04:32:42 PM »
I agree with Larry....put it on for $100....get good pictures of front and back. My guess is it will go over $100. Ive been collecting telephones over 30 years and have never held one in my hands. Don't give it away or trade it unless you are sure...Doug
Kidphone

Offline Witty

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2012, 05:34:40 PM »
I don't plan on selling mine, but the one listed now has a starting price of 99.99, with a buy-it-now for 399.99.  That seems a little too optimistic I think.  Of course, anything is worth whatever the buyers are willing to pay I suppose.

I was reading up on the patent stamped on the one for sale.  These were made with an opague inner celluloid piece that contained the numbers, then layered top and bottom with a translucent celluloid layer.  Finally a thin celluloid film is layered over the top again, all compressed and molded into the final one piece.  That would mean the numbers could never be rubbed away unless the surface was actually removed down to the inner layer.  Sounds like a great idea to me.  It's too bad the whole piece was just not sturdy enough to keep from eventually getting cracked from normal use.

Ken

Offline K1WI

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2017, 09:23:43 PM »
Picked this up recently it's the plastic first rural type  I've come across . Have two metropolitan of this style with letters and numbers. This one also has patent numbers on back. Any one have any additional information.   Thanks   Andy F         K1WI
Andy F    K1WI

unbeldi

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2017, 08:48:59 AM »
Picked this up recently it's the plastic first rural type  I've come across . Have two metropolitan of this style with letters and numbers. This one also has patent numbers on back. Any one have any additional information.   Thanks   Andy F         K1WI

I have been waiting for one of these to show up.  Yes, that is the first rural plate of the Cox & Gutberlet number plate that has been presented, according to my observations.  I have recorded about a half dozen or so of the metro-plates, both before the patents were issued and after. All of them are from 1933 and 1934.  The patents were issued on 1933-10-31 and 1934-06-19.  They only show the metro-plate style, not the rural one.  The plates made before the patents were awarded, are marked PAT. PEND., and afterwards they bear the issue numbers.

Here are some discussed here:


These number plates were invented by the same fellows who brought the black cellulose acetate make-up dial center number card to the market, in which the town name or central office name and the number could be inserted with paper strips.

Apparently, during 1933 and 1934, the Western Electric distributing centers tested these dial number plates in refurbishments of telephone set, before they settled on putting the 149-type plate (metal substrate with cellulose acetate layers) into production.
Although these are exceedingly rare indeed, I have yet to see one fetch appreciable premiums on eBay.  The vast majority of collectors don't know about them, don't recognize them, or perhaps just aren't interested in history. Probably a combination of all.


Ref:
US Patent 1933315, 1933-10-31, Cox and Gutberlet (1931-10-02), Telephone Instrument Dial
US Patent 1963439, 1934-06-19, Gutberlet and Cox (1932-07-30), Number Plate for Dial Telephone Instruments


PS:  Would you mind taking high-resolution (~600 or 900 dpi) pictures of normal incidence, straight up, of both sides ?
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 09:36:59 AM by unbeldi »

unbeldi

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2017, 09:12:34 AM »
This find probably shows that these number plates were more common than I and probably others thought.   I had the suspicion that these were only tested in high-turnover metropolitan exchange areas, but the finding of a rural plate shows this might not be so.

You stated that the plate was on a No.4 (from 2) conversion dial.  Does the dial have a refurbishing date stamped ?  How about the entire telephone set?
The only dial and instrument that I can be confident of being refurbished at the same time, is my 51C, because they did not come from a previous collector, and the refurbishing stamps are consistent across the instrument and it came with the matching 554C subset.

unbeldi

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2017, 10:56:16 AM »
Other than the rarity, if any, of these plates, the historical significance of them probably is that Cox and Gutberlet introduced with the design the geometric style of the other future plates (149, 150), namely that the large center circle is now closed to leave just a sort-of keyhole-shaped opening in the center through which the rotational stop on the dial spindle was permitted.  The patents state that this prevents dust and other foreign matter penetrating into the interior of the dial.  The 149 plate appeared ca. 1934, apparently right after or concurrently during the tests of the all-plastic plates.  It stands to reason that they were tested in parallel, and the metal/plastic plate won the competition to become the No. 149.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 11:02:55 AM by unbeldi »

Offline K1WI

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2017, 01:20:07 PM »
Unbeldi ,  Always amazed at what I learn from your posts ...thank you.    Picked up this rural plastic number plate by itself not on a dial , thought it would look good on a full nickeled 50AL with 2A dial. Found one of the metropolitan plastic type plate at a phone show in Springfield MA a few years ago , the other at a flea market in Buenos Aeres.
 Sorry about delays in response but mostly out of country with poor e-mail and internet. ...and always out of synch with (USA)time.

Again thank you,
  Andy F K1WI        Tropea , Calabria  , Italia
« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 08:12:18 PM by K1WI »
Andy F    K1WI

unbeldi

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Re: Interesting celluloid number plate on #2 converted to #4 dial
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2017, 08:02:24 PM »
Unbeldi ,  Always amazed at what I learn from your posts ...thank you.

I appreciate your kindness!

Many might assume that their 2A dial should have a #132 un-notched number plate and they would replace a "cheap" notched plastic plate like these to make the set "original" and presumably more valuable. This is probably the reason for finding the insular plastic plates, even when on a dial. Unfortunately that destroys the historical context of that plate, and so I cannot get myself to take that step on the 51C/554C telephone set that still hosts mine.   Mine was installed in the BUckminster exchange in Brooklyn, NY, and I think I even know the address.

If we could find more entirely unmolested sets, we could determine the areas in which these plates were field-tested. Given their rarity, I am assuming it was not across the entire Bell System.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 03:57:09 PM by unbeldi »