Author Topic: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style  (Read 1927 times)

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« on: May 30, 2013, 11:11:30 AM »
I just received this phone from Bulgarian.  The USPS sent it to the wrong city this morning, but I was able to call the post office which had it and go over and pick it up.  it was only about four miles away.  The phone was packed in a thin, flimsy cardboard box, barely larger than the phone, and the phone and handset were each wrapped in a single thin layer of bubble wrap, but the phone fortunately survived.

The bakelite is reddish-brown and in good condition.  I did not notice any cracks or chips, but there are some scratches, which I will hopefully be able to sand out.  The number card holder on the front is obviously broken and mostly missing.  I don't suppose that someone has a spare.  The phone is much smaller than I expected.  It is about 8" long and less than 5" high with the handset.  I briefly connected it to my phone line, and it did work.  I was able to dial out, and the ringer worked.  There was some static though.  According to the bottom plate, the phone was made in 1963 by "TCA".  The inside of the bottom plate has small remnants of a paper sticker which probably has a wiring diagram on it.  Does anyone know where a wiring diagram can be found?

I see these phones on ebay frequently, but almost always in black.  This one cost me a total of $44.  I don't know how the seller could have made anything on it.

Larry

« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 11:54:51 AM by LarryInMichigan »

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2013, 07:06:55 PM »
I cleaned up the phone and, in the process, managed to crack the shell in the front.  Fifty years in Bulgaria and thousands of miles of travel in a flimsy box didn't manage to crack it, but a few minutes in my hands did.  The phone looks much better now, other than the crack, but it doesn't work well.  The ringer is very temperamental and only wants to ring when the phone is on its side or upside-down.  The hook switch is poorly designed and flimsy, and I struggled with it for a while to try to make it work.  The phone is not entirely on-hook when the handset is in the cradle.  I don't know if there is something wrong with the phone or if it was designed that way to allow the government to eavesdrop on subscribers.  The transmitter produces alot of static.  Overall, the quality is only marginally better than my Soviet phone, another triumph in the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie.  This is going to be a shelf phone and not a desk phone.

The

Offline wds

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2013, 07:37:49 PM »
I'm sure the long trip in the flimsy box weakened the phone in the very spot where it cracked  ;D  Still a very nice phone.
Dave

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2013, 11:29:54 AM »
Here are some "after" pictures.  I connected a 500Ω resistor in parallel with the transmitter, and that greatly reduced the amount of static.  I covered parts of the hook switch assembly with electrical tape because the receiver was active when the plungers were fully depressed.  If another phone was off-hook, a loud dial tone could be heard from this phone.  The best that I could guess was that some parts of the hook switch assembly were touching something and conducting current.  When the chassis is attached to the inside the shell, the hook switch is hidden, so I could not see what was really happening.  The ringer is a pathetic mess.  It usually does not move when it should.

The finger wheel is black bakelite.  I expect that the original one was brown as the dial face is brown bakelite.  The numbers in the finger wheel were dark, and when I cleaned it, some of the paint washed away, so I repainted the numbers with a white paint marker.  They are etched deep into the finger wheel face, so i was able to fill them with paint and wipe off the excess.

BTW, the white thing on the front of the phone is a plastic blank.  I imagine that some of these phones included ground start buttons.


Larry
« Last Edit: May 31, 2013, 11:31:33 AM by LarryInMichigan »

Offline MagicMo

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2013, 03:11:35 PM »
Nice phone. I don't see the crack.
Mo
Practice Kindness :)

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2013, 03:15:20 PM »
Nice phone. I don't see the crack.
Mo

It runs through the right hole in the front, but don't tell anyone.

Larry

Offline Claven2

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2013, 06:57:09 PM »
I like the spit cup design.  Overall an interesting eastern block phone :)

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2013, 06:59:43 PM »
I think that the handset and dial design borrowed from the Germans.

Larry

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2013, 07:04:21 PM »
Out of curiosity, I just did a little test and found that the transmitter and receiver elements are interchangeable between this handset and the similarly shaped one on my German T&N phone.

larry

Offline Claven2

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2013, 07:15:36 PM »
Any chance some of the parts came from East Germany then?

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2013, 07:40:10 PM »
Any chance some of the parts came from East Germany then?

I don't think so.  The phone was made by TCA in Belogradchik.  Some of the parts have marking in Cyrillic letters.  It was quite common for the glorious socialists to copy designs of the capitalist pigs and then probably claim that the capitalists copied them.  Nobody in the socialist countries would likely notice anyway since they were forbidden to visit the outside world.  Also, some of the factories making these phones had originally belonged to foreign companies before the socialist governments seized them, so the original designs may have persisted.

Larry

Offline poplar1

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2013, 07:45:15 PM »
A guy from Poland told me in 1972 that they were allowed to leave the country---I think we were in France at the time---but that they could take only $10 with them. He also said that free enterprise was allowed in Poland, but the companies were charged about 90% tax; so this discouraged anyone that wanted to start a business.
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2013, 07:51:52 PM »
Decades ago, someone told me about someone from Poland who was allowed to visit relatives in the USA.  At a supermarket, they started crying.  When asked what was wrong, they replied that they never saw so much food available in a shop.  In Poland, shop shelves were largely empty.  The same was true in most of the eastern European countries.

BTW, not so long ago, I heard a mention on the news that Khrushchev's grandson had recently become a US citizen.  I guess that the shoe banging and threats didn't work.

Larry

Offline MagicMo

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2013, 12:20:45 AM »
Hey,
Isn't this your phone??

www.ebay.com/itm/400269122679
« Last Edit: June 19, 2013, 06:53:31 AM by Dennis Markham »
Practice Kindness :)

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: Brown Bakelite Phone - Bulgarian Style
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2013, 07:40:52 AM »
Hey,
Isn't this your phone??

www.ebay.com/itm/400269122679

That one looks really nice, but the handset caps are the wrong color, and the dial plate is also black.  That one has a brown finger wheel, while mine has a black one.  Perhaps whoever buys it would trade finger wheels with me :)

I seriously doubt that it will sell for anywhere near $430.

Larry