Author Topic: ID help with unmarked phone  (Read 831 times)

Offline Bevans

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ID help with unmarked phone
« on: March 03, 2019, 03:04:52 PM »
I have have visited the forum on several occasions and am amazed at the knowledge of phone history of various phones by members here. I hope to one day learn enough to contribute but this post is a request for information on a wall phone I gave my father in 1976 that I picked up at a flea market in Wisconsin.

I hope that someone can help answer a few questions I have about this phone that does not appear to have any noticeable markings with the exception of L G L on the right side edge where the 3 connections are attached above the crank. The phone measures about 19” x 8 3/4” and 3 5/8” deep.

1. What is a possible date range for the manufacture of this phone? The ringer assembly has a patent May, 1914 date on it.
2. Most of the connections are soldered. Would that have been original practice when manufactured or done since.
3. The transmitter is a Kellogg I think but is there a way to tell if the support mount is original if other parts are original or may have been era correct on a phone like this? The transmitter does not appear to be Bakelite like the receiver.
4. Does the fact that there are 2 screws that close the cabinet door instead of one screw identify age or manufacturer?i have noticed that almost all other wall phones have one screw centered on the right or left side of the door.
5. Are there other distinguishing features that identify aspects of the phone?
6. Lastly….I find this old technology fascinating, can anyone recommend reading material to help me understand the science behind he technology and of the parts that made the phone work?

Thanks, Bruce

Offline Bevans

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Re: ID help with unmarked phone
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2019, 03:17:16 PM »
He are a few more pics that may be more clear and provide additional detail.

Offline Key2871

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Re: ID help with unmarked phone
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 03:46:22 PM »
Hello, welcome. That is what looks like to me to be a Western Electric 317 with a bulldog transmitter. With a five bar magneto used in areas that the set was a distance away from the cord board. A rather common set, it looks in nice condition.
I have one like it with an older transmitter, and nickel bells.
There is material here to read up on connecting it up. The battery's were in the lowest section of the phone, and were one and a half volts per cell.
There will be someone else along to give you for more detail than I have. On the hinge side if the phone there are markings that Denote connections, and should be the number of the set and possibly a letter to tell you the model of the set.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 03:53:41 PM by Key2871 »

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: ID help with unmarked phone
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2019, 09:39:22 PM »
Looks like a generic single box that uses some Western Electric components.  I recommend Ralph Myer's Old Time Telephones book s a reference for wiring and technology of old phones.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline jsowers

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Re: ID help with unmarked phone
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2019, 10:20:30 PM »
Ralph Meyer's (not Myer) book "Old Time Telephones: History, Design, Technology, Restoration, 3rd edition" is available free to download the pdf at NC State University's Repository. Here is the link...

Not sure for how much longer this will be. From a post by Jim Stettler which also includes an article on Henry Dreyfuss, posted back in September.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 05:07:01 AM by Global Moderators »

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: ID help with unmarked phone
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2019, 07:53:23 AM »
Welcome Bruce! I am sure someone here will identify your phone. Ralph's book is a good reference for you. A warning: Phoneitis is a progresive incurable disease. Once you start getting into these things they multiply! Soon you will be looking for another phone to hook up to this one so you can talk on them or maybe a different model or some signs or some tools. The list goes on & on. Everyone here is infected, just take a look at our collection views topic to see how far it will progress. Seriously, you have found the best forum on the net, lots of experienced helpful people here.
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"

Offline kleenax

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Re: ID help with unmarked phone
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2019, 09:27:04 AM »
Strange phone!

The transmitter arm/foot looks like Chicago, magneto looks WE, but the mag crank does not look like WE. Condensor inside/bottom looks like a Kellogg. Receiver looks like Chicago or Kellogg; definitely not WE. Might have been a Railroad phone.

It's most probably from the 1930's, towards the end of the wood wallphone manufacturing era. Maybe something like "Suttle Mfg" or some other manufacturer like that that would use whatever parts were available to make phones to sell. They actually did this during WWII to save metal.
Ray Kotke
Recumbent Casting, LLC

Offline Bevans

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Re: ID help with unmarked phone
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2019, 02:26:25 PM »
Thanks to all who took time to provide your thoughts regarding the make,model and time period of my phone. I believe I have already been infected with phoneitis which has improved my quality of life and I appreciate the advice on the book to help further my research. The phone does seem to be a hodge podge of various parts from a few manufactures. The amount of soldering does seem to indicate to me a later manufacturing date. The phone had the batteries when I gave it to my father but when I brought it back home traveling through LaGuardia airport in 2002 the TSA agents disassembled the phone and the batteries were missing. The depth and breadth of posts is extremely interesting as I read through the different threads. Thanks again for the help.