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Two-Tone Colored WECo 500 Telephones

Started by Jester, February 28, 2010, 11:48:47 PM

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Doug Rose

Stephen... great phones. Which of the gray cords on red 500 sets is more desirable, the curly or the straight.....thanks....Doug


Quote from: Phonesrfun on March 02, 2010, 01:04:48 AM
I think next on my list will be a two tone with gray cords.

Something new for a change.

-Bill Geurts

Bill, I know I'm splitting hairs, but just to set the record straight, two-tones always had black cords. Look at Jester's red phone with the black handset, cords and dial above. A perfect example.

In the group picture, the phone on the left with the gray cords wasn't called a two-tone in 1954. It was just a red phone. I never thought about it, but those are actually three-tones. Red, black and gray.

It's a common misconception because of the color difference. If I were you, I'd look for a yellow 500 with black dial and gray cords. Oh to be a fly on the wall when they tried to sell that combination to Mrs. McLafferty. How did they explain the three different colors on that phone?

I attached a comparison of reds below, FYI.



I prefer the straight cord.  Also, a straight, gray corded phone will generally go higher in bidding than the same phone with curly gray cords.  As Jonathan pointed out earlier, the cord to find is a color matching straight handset cord for red.  The same for yellow & moss green.  Straight cords in general give the 500 a unique look that we aren't familiar with.  While they were common on the early black sets, they were less so on the color sets, & customers were happy to pay extra for the optional curly cord when it was an option, making the straight cords even less common.  The one negative to the straight cord--& probably why it went away--is that it's very hard to neatly stow one in a confined space & still be able to use it.  This is something the curly cord did very nicely.

Dennis Markham

Stephen, you are right about the convenience of the coiled cord vs the straight one.  I often will plug in one of my phones with the straight cord and drape it over the edge of the desk.  But I worry that I'll snag my chair on it as I turn, or some other way and pull it to the floor.  We sure wouldn't want that to happen. 

I wonder how many phones were pulled down by small children back when there were a house-hold item?  Probably a few.

Doug Rose

I think the gray cords look sharp with the early 500 softplastics, but why weren't they matching color. WE had matching color curly cloth cords in the same time period. Anyone have any insight to this? My 500 set knowledge is sadly lacking....thanks...Doug


This topic has been discussed before.  I'm sure there is some good information here if you do a topic search of "gray cords".  Off the top of my head, I recall reading or hearing that there was a problem encountered in producing all the colors with the original cord material.  I have never heard what those problems were, but imagine that it had to do with color adhesion and keeping the cord flexible.  WE seemed to have early success with ivory, dark gray, & dark brown in their early vinyl cordage.  Dark Beige came a little later, then the rest of the colors....except for Mediterranean Blue.  As far as I can find, this color retained the dark gray cords until production of it ended in 1957.  Hope this helps.


In a 1949 press conference Bell System engineers said that the new cords would be jacketed with neoprene, but that tests were still ongoing.  The goal was the reduce the wear and replacement costs of the cords, which is also why they went to a 4 conductor cord and added the grommet. 

Dennis Markham

This 500 ended a few minutes ago.  It has an interesting connecting plug.  The price jumped from just over $100 to it's final sale price in the last few seconds.  The dial card looks like a GTE dial card.  The questions are interesting.  Someone was kind enough to offer $90 (with shipping) to end the auction early.  It sold for $355.99
( dead link 05-31-21 )


I had my eye on that one, but I didn't think that I stood a chance of getting it, so I didn't bother to bid.



I was watching it as well.  Ouch it went high.


Looks like another win by oldphoneguy55. 

He also got a good deal on the Leich/North set...

and paid a bit more for this one:

( dead links 05-31-21 )
Visit:         WE  500  Design_Line




Do you know who this person is (oldphoneguy55)? I would love to see his basement.


I don't know who it is, but the "Oldphoneguy55" is very familiar.

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson


I just took a quick look at his ebay profile.  He has quite an appetite (and budget) for phone oddities.  Several of the phones that I had been watching apparently ended up on his front porch.


Dennis Markham

He has picked up some nice phones in the past couple of years.  I know someone that might know him....our own jflowres (Kidphone) sold him a phone not too long ago.