Author Topic: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...  (Read 8920 times)

Offline Claven2

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So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« on: May 31, 2013, 06:48:38 PM »
I know this may sound odd, but I happen to think the Leich bakelite convertibles are great looking phones.  Probably this is a subjective opinion, much the way some folks love the WE500, while others consider them useless clutter.

When I was a kid in rural New-Brunswick we had (I think) a Leich 901 party line phone at the cottage.  I remember dad spinning the magneto to place calls.  This would have been in the mid to late 1970's, and, believe it or not, I think it was replaced by a reconditioned NE500 when the phone company stopped offering party line service in our area.  Those phones are long gone and it was so long ago that nobody remembers for certain if I have the models right, but I think I have the models right.  I was very young, but remember dad being upset that his bill was going up due to party service not being offered any longer.

So here's how things went. I decided I wanted to get an original 901, but to be useful, I wanted to convert it to a dial model and use it in my house.  I have a Rogers VOIP dedeicated network service, so I ordered a dialgizmo in advance. I then bought a Leich 901 on e-bay in nice shape, fairly local (same province), and started hunting for a dial conversion kit (a forum member is sending me one - thanks!). 

Then the seller contacted me to say the phone had been already sold and due to a mixup was accidentally re-listed.  I had to find a new phone.  I was already committed, so I opted for what seems to be a really exceptional early 901 off e-bay USA.  I know I overpaid a bit, but this phone spent its life as the emergency phone in an elevator and looks to have basically never been used.  I intend to convert it to dial and use it as a bedside phone at home.

I don't have it yet (it's in customs), but here is a picture:

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NjQwWDEwMjQ=/z/d7sAAOxyoA1RT7ey/$T2eC16ZHJI!E9qSO9e-QBRT7e)ODRQ~~60_57.JPG   --> (  dead external image link 7-22-17 )


This is an early 901 with metal base.  Here's the seller's description, which is colourful:

Quote
This telephone is hand-me-down item through our family. It came from Denver's Old Republic Building, one of the first 20+ story buildings that Denver had. The telephone came from the open cage elevators that used to run in the building. The elevators were very scary, they had open grate floors and sides, and you could see the weights going up and the full distance the elevator traveled. The elevators were run by an attendant, who had access to these phones should there be any kind of "problem". A quick crank of the phone would bring assistance from maintenance or the front desk. The phones were mounted vertically in the elevators, but will also sit and operate horizontally. The phone is in great condition, no chips breaks or scratches. There are no manufactures labels on the outside of the phone. Ringer works when crank is turned. A true piece of denver history.

Then a nice bakelite 901 showed up here on the trader c/w dial conversion kit, an AE dial (not installed) and a blanking plate.  Honestly, I could not pass it up at the price it was offered for.  I have no ideal if it works and it's probably still wired for local battery (?).  Still, I hope to get this bakelite based version up and running as well now for living room phone :)




Looks like I may need another dialgizmo... lol. 

My favorite part about the 901?  The vented spit cup.  It just SCREAMS 1950's.  I love it.

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NjgyWDEwMjQ=/z/kisAAOxy9eVRT7e3/$T2eC16FHJGoE9nuQeVy(BRT7e27I2Q~~60_57.JPG   --> (  dead external image link 7-22-17 )


I'll post photos showing any differences between the two types of 901 chassis, if any, when both phones get here :)

Does anyone know when the 901 went into service?

« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 12:47:08 PM by TelePlay »

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2013, 06:58:46 PM »
Quote
My favorite part about the 901?  The vented spit cup.  It just SCREAMS 1950's.  I love it.

Actually, the handset design goes back to the 1940s.  That handset is not the most comfortable to hold, but the one that replaced it is much worse.

Larry

Offline Claven2

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2013, 07:14:48 PM »
Well, I think it will be fine for the amount of use it will get.  Thanks for the warning tho! 

Aesthetically it's beautiful as handsets go, if not the most ergonomic.

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2013, 07:41:43 PM »
Some of the European handsets I have are serious unergonomic.  The one on my Belgian ATEA "kettle" phone may be the worst.

Larry

Offline poplar1

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2013, 07:52:24 PM »
Makes you wonder if one of the reasons for making sets like the 653A with separate transmitter and receiver until at least 1945 was to make people get off the phone quicker---fewer complaints from others on the same party line and less equipment needed in the C.O. since there was less traffic.
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline Claven2

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2013, 09:09:43 AM »
maybe so.  When I was a kid, in general, people didn't gossip on the phone, calls were reserved for conveying important information, like to arrange a gathering, inform of births, requesting help, etc.  With dial service came long and unimportant chattery.

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2013, 01:40:28 PM »
Well you will obviously need a third 901 now. One with dial and two magneto's to hook together as an intercom!

I think that I have 4 of them in total but none with dial.....yet....

Terry

Offline Claven2

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 09:55:32 PM »
Well the first phone came in.  This is the one from Denver with the metal base plate.  No obvious date on the chassis, but based on the transmitter and receiver markings, I believe this to be a 1949 phone.

Overall the phone is in nice condition, though there is a .75" long hairline crack in the shaft of the handset.  It's nowhere near all the way through and looks solid.  I think it will be fine and frankly, I had to really scrutinize the phone to see it.

Overall it's fairly grungy in the nooks and crannies, clearly been stored for many a year, but will in nice original shape. 

I do have one question - see the little coil spring in this picture - what's it supposed to be hooked to?  I have not yet rewired the phone for common battery since I'm waiting for the conversion kit to arrive from forumer poplar1, but the phone rings authoritatively when cranked and I'm at a loss to see how this spring fits int oteh whole equation - could someone else with a 901 open theirs up and check please?

  ( dead link 11/8/17 )

Here are some more pics of it.  It's naked, the housing is in perfect condition - not scuffed enough to even bother polishing, though I still need to rub it down with some alcohol and a clean cloth the remove the dust and storage grime.

  ( dead link 11/8/17 )

6-17-49 transmitter marked HAI:

  ( dead link 11/8/17 )

  ( dead link 11/8/17 )

8-48 F1 receiver:

  ( dead link 11/8/17 )

« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 01:11:17 PM by TelePlay »

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013, 10:09:01 PM »
Could the spring be a ringer bias spring?

Larry

Offline stub

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2013, 10:49:51 PM »
Claven2,
             That's not in my bakelite base. Here's pic of my bias spring. Don't have a clue where your spring goes?    stub
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 07:42:48 AM by stub »
Kenneth Stubblefield        
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Offline AE_Collector

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2013, 11:54:15 PM »
Could it be a spring off of the pawl on a dial? No idea what it would be doing inside a Maneto 901 set though. Is it attached to a string? What is that Hole in the metal base (?) with a hole filler plug in it? That may be a clue to something.

Terry
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 12:15:12 AM by AE_Collector »

Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2013, 12:13:47 AM »
The metal bottom plate of my Leich 601L has a big round hole near the opposite rear corner.  The layout of the condenser and ringer is much different with the ringer in the front and the condenser in the rear.  There is a picture of the phone insides in my post from a couple of years ago: link.

Larry

Offline Claven2

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2013, 06:05:58 AM »
Yes the spring is attached to a string that appears to be wrapped around a screw head at the other end (?).  I can't see the bias spring in the above pictures - can someone put an arrow on it or something?

The hole in the bottom of the metal base is to route the line cord if wall mounted.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 08:17:16 AM by Claven2 »

Offline stub

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2013, 07:10:32 AM »
Claven2,
             Here's the bias spring.  stub
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Offline LarryInMichigan

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Re: So now I have 2 Leich 901's on the way...
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2013, 08:01:47 AM »
The ringer in my 601L is different and has no bias spring.

Larry