Author Topic: My First Wooden Crank Phone  (Read 973 times)

Offline Schmelz3

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My First Wooden Crank Phone
« on: June 25, 2019, 12:28:36 PM »
I always wanted a crank telephone and recently found one at a flea market. It's a Kellogg and had a card inside indicating it was made in Buffalo, NY. Since I grew up in Buffalo I had to have it. From the pictures you can see it's been sitting around in a barn probably for decades. It was really filthy. The inside looks totally clean and original and pretty much untouched. I currently have it disassembled and cleaning everything to restore it back to original condition. I'll be having questions along the way which I hope people on the forum can answer.

#1. I would like to identify it's model number but can't find one on the internet that looks exactly like it.
#2. Cranking the magneto after cleaning and lubricating it produces about 70 volts AC. Does that sound decent?
#3. The magneto seems to have some cracks in the bars. Is that normal aging and will it affect anything?
#4. I assume the bells should be shiny. They are not attracted to a magnet. I cleaned one of them and started shinning it up with fine steel wool and buffing it but it still doesn't look right. Are they made of nickel?

Offline Schmelz3

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2019, 12:35:08 PM »
Ok, now I understand how to do the pictures. I hope.

Offline RB

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2019, 12:35:58 PM »
Hi
Some bells were plated, some painted, some chromed?? I think.
cracks in magnets I don't know about, but 70 volts is ok.
be sure to post some pics too!

Offline Schmelz3

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2019, 12:38:44 PM »
Sorry,  :-[ the phone is a Century. I had Kelloggs corn flakes for breakfast.

Offline RB

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2019, 01:14:39 PM »
I think your bells were painted.
was the switch hook loose when you got it?

Offline Key2871

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2019, 01:23:20 PM »
 That's great, cool find with that cards inside.
Bells were painted or nickled, not chromed.
Clean that baby up carefully, that's a great find.
KEN

Offline Schmelz3

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2019, 02:09:08 PM »
The original switch hook was missing but as seen in the picture of the inside the seller put another one on top of the dry cells. But it's too long to be used on this phone. So I'll have to get another one. The switch seems fine.
I don't think the bells were painted. Just a lot of crud on them. From looking at the inside of the bell, that copper spot tells me maybe the bells were brass and nickel plated. Does that sound right?

Offline CanadianGuy

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2019, 09:49:01 PM »
Chrome magneto? Anyone know if that's original? I didn't think they came that way. Looks neat though.

Offline Key2871

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2019, 10:18:06 PM »
Most likely it's nickel, not chrome. But that's unusual, usually just painted black, or gray.
KEN

Offline Schmelz3

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2019, 10:55:40 PM »
Only the top and front is polished. From the back it looks like nickel. If you look closely at the picture I posted you can see hairline cracks in the front of the magneto. Is this common and will affect anything?

Any idea of a model number? Most pictures I've seen have the door hinging on the left. This one hinges on the right.

Offline Key2871

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2019, 05:32:40 AM »
Nickel polished, and in good condition can have an appearance of chrome. Crazing is normal, but a crack is not, nor is that a good thing. It will affect the performance of the magneto.
I don't know who made your set. There should be identifiable markings on the transmitter cup rear. If it has the original receiver, and the top has a step in the contour it could be a Kellogg, or Stromberg. I don't know enough about older wood sets to make that determination.
KEN

Offline Ktownphoneco

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2019, 09:01:37 AM »
Ken   ....   The set appears to have been made by, and certainly looks like, a Century Telephone Construction Company set.     They were located in, and as the test card states, Buffalo, NY.     They also had a warehouse across the Niagara River in Bridgeburg, Ontario which is now Fort Erie, Ontario.    Somewhere around 1909 or 1910, Century was taken over by Federal Telephone & Telegraph Co., but Century continued to operate under that name.    There aren't a lot of Century sets around, but they do show up from time to time.     I've attached a "poor" quality picture, from the web of the inside of an oak wall set made buy Century Telephone.

Jeff

Offline Key2871

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2019, 11:18:33 AM »
Jeff, you know more than I in this field. It does look like a nice set.. So was the mag chromed or nickel, I've seen some real nice nickel on old sets before, but they lived a sheltered life.. From what I see of both, they look great.
The only woodies I've owned were Western..
I have heard about centuries, seen a couple, but couldn't tell you much about them..
KEN

Offline Ktownphoneco

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2019, 04:24:16 PM »
Ken   ....  I'm not an authority on Century sets either, but I've picked up bits of information on them from time to time.   Some of the older sets used nickel plating on the magneto magnets for some reason.   Holtzer Cabot was another (see attached picture).    I say "nickel" as chrome plating requires a base material upon which to bond.    Chrome wouldn't adhere to a magnet all by itself.   It needs compatible material to bond to.    Copper and nickel are probably the most common bonding materials used by companies who do chrome plating.     Back in the day, when most cars on the road hand chromed steel bumpers, the bumpers were first nickel plated, and then the chrome was plated to the nickel bonding material.     So in order to chrome the magnets, it'd be a 2 step process, and I would imagine most manufacturers would simply do the nickel plating, and leave it at that just to save money.      I have, and have had Western & Northern oak wall sets over the years, and I've never encounter magneto magnets with anything other than Japan black paint on them.    There are, or were, only a small number of telephone manufacturers who tried to "spruce up" the magneto magnets with nickel or chrome.

Jeff
 

Offline Key2871

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Re: My First Wooden Crank Phone
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2019, 06:13:08 PM »
Sorry, I ment you probably have more experience with wood sets, not speificly Centuries. I'm more of a modern phone guy, that's where my experience is.
KEN