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Now the Story Can be Told - 1949 WECo 500 Set

Started by Dan/Panther, March 20, 2010, 11:08:11 PM

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Very nice pictures. And the dial design, although it looks 9C-ish, it is on its own league.

I wonder if Paul F has seen something like this before. Please, let us know what he comments about the phone. Maybe you can convince him to join the forum and comment on this thread.

Dennis Markham

I agree, Jorge it is very interesting.  Dan, I'm amazed at how clean the dial is inside compared to what the exterior looked like.  Similarities can be seen with the known technology at the time....the governor looks more like what one would see on the earlier dial, although the spring makes it different.  It's interesting also to see the evolution from that dial to what we know with the 7 series dials.  I don't recall if you used the word "alien" but it sure would apply.  Great photos.  I would also be interested in Paul's reaction to your find.


Wow Dan Wow, you got a winner here. 1948 looks to be right.
"Imagine how weird telephones would look if our ears weren't so close to our mouths." - Steven Wright

Craig T

Great pics D/P, keep them coming as you go through the phone! Looks like a brass fingerstop? The solid backplate on the dial is cool too, what a great phone.



I am sure that you are treating this rare phone as a relic from the past, but when you get to the ringer, could you remove it and please post pictures of it by itself also?

Four sides plus top and bottom would be nice. In general, wires carry currents around in electric devices like this, but those pieces of metal over the ringer carry portions of the magnetic flux from the coil and magnet to other areas of the ringer. I am very interested in seeing how they did that back in forties.

If you removed the tape from the bottom, did that reveal a date somewhere?

One last thing, have you tried to see if a standard 500 housing fits well over this chassis?

Thanks in advance.


Now some shots of the number plate, and the finger wheel.
First the regular type finger wheel will not fit, the hole in the center though the same exact shape, is much smaller. When I first removed the finger wheel, I noticed a small piece of spring sticking out from under the center.  I thought I had a broken spring. Oh great, now I'm going to have to go down to Radio Shack to get a new one..... ;D ;D ;D
I though I had taken a photo of the broken spring before I took it off, but I didn't.  Well anyways it turned out to be a 60 year old straight pin, as seen in the First photo.
Second picture is of the dial mechanism protective cover, the screw was missing. So far everything is typical W.E. quality.
Notice the second tubular gasket behind the number plate. It's about twice the diameter of the one that goes around the outside of the dial. The one on this phone was there but had a small cracked off piece.
I cleaned up the dial face,  it is constructed of a single piece, injection molded, with the letters and numbers pressed into the plate, They are then painted white, and the entire back is then painted black. In the Radio world called Reverse painted. The numbers are just as permanent as the newer version, so long as you don't scrap away the paint on the back. As you can see it cleaned up rather nicely.
That's all for tonight.

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


I will do the ringer next.
I haven't as of yet tried a 500 cover, as I'm afraid it may not fit, then I don't know what to do after that.

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


Tremendously important find you have here!  And don't we all wish that the handset and shell were with it!!

What a sturdy dial design, and on a solid aluminum plate to boot. 

Here is what Paul F says about the 1948 trial units:

<<<1948  Field Trial of 50 pre-production sets.  (BSTJ*, 4/51)

Aluminum dial mount.
Bell coil wrapped in olive cloth (like 302s B1A).

*Bell System Technical Journal>>>

You've got both the aluminum dial mount and the olive cloth, so it seems like a slam dunk ID, and perhaps the only one to survive.

Keep the pictures coming as you get the chance please, they are very enjoyable.


Here is a photo of the chassis under a '51 soft plastic  shell. It's the oldest I have.

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


Looking good D/P. I am sure Dennis Hallworth can provide you with some pads to fit this phone.



first off, I am happy for you!

that's a good score, you must have eagle eyes!

how does it feel to hold history in your hands?

when you put a case and handset on this you will have to call all the  Rotary Phone Forum members on it. you will make the other forums jealous :)
If you're a long way from home,
Can't sleep at night.
Grab your telephone,
Something just ain't right.


I feel like a kid at Christmas, and I didn't even get a present!

keep the photos coming.

If you're a long way from home,
Can't sleep at night.
Grab your telephone,
Something just ain't right.

Dennis Markham

Dan, not to take anything away from any other posts from this forum, but this series of posts by you has to be the most interesting ones I can remember reading---at least to me.

Were you able to get any historical information from the seller?  Where has it been?  How did he happen to come upon it??

It would be nice to know where it's been all these years---kicked around from place to place.


I am really surprised that a 500 shell fits this base.  It looks like the screws align properly also.  I imagine that, in 1948, WE had already decided on the external appearance of the phone, as per Dreyfuss's new design, and that they were experimenting with the internal electrical/mechanical design.


Jim Stettler

That is a really interesting dial.
D#'s are usually Field trial or low production type items. Paul F said he may have some BSP's of some of the parts. The date and issuses of the Bsp's may help pin a date on the phone.

My vote is still for the '48 model I suspect you could sell that dial for more than you paid for the phone (I know you wouldn't, but I expect you could).

That is a very historical phone. You need to display it at the next show you attend.
Great find,
You live, You learn,
You die, you forget it all.