"The phone is a remarkably complex, simple device,
and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

Main Menu

Restoring a WECo Black 500U

Started by, February 04, 2011, 12:38:52 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

I have started restoring a Western Electric black 500U. The shell should yield to micro-mesh sanding except for an area below the dial, which for some reason is slightly chewed-up, that will require more aggressive treatment. The cord is not cracked, and will benefit from Jsowers' method of denatured alcohol scrubbing. The base is in relatively good condition. I will not have to replace the feet even though there is some rust, particularly on the inside.



It looks like someone tried to get into the case the hard way. Gouging and prying with a screwdriver. I've seen 554s with pry marks all over the place. Many people can't figure out the latch on a 554 and I guess the two screws on the bottom were not even thought of on your phone. Some sanding may help those gouge marks, I hope.

That coil cord may need a good doweling. It has a couple reverses, but doesn't look too bad. It's good you won't have to redo the feet. You can still take off some of the rust and do your magic paint job with the airbrush. If you keep the phone out of the damp, it shouldn't rust any more.

I'm sure you will keep us updated on the restoration like you did on the white one. Many people think pink is the most plentiful color of 500U, but I've seen a whole bunch of black ones. It's funny to me, because you'd think that if they were going to pay extra every month for a night-light phone, why wouldn't they pay the one-time color charge for a color one?

Here is the shell with the initial sanding. The chewed-up area below where the dial goes has been pretty well restored. Unfortunately, removal of the crud on the phone revealed a haphazardly fixed crack. I will try to improve it.


I finally finished this project. The need to patch the crack and cold, rainy weather slowed me down.



You got the lamp to illuminate with no wires attached?

Jorge - The lamp is not illuminated. In fact, the bulb has that burned-out look.



Nice job of rust removal around the feet inside and out.  Very sharp phone.

Dennis Markham


Nice job Chuck ;D Looks great!
What did you do with the feet and the rust around them? I am still searching for an easy way to repair & refinish that problem.
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434

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


Quote from: on March 03, 2011, 09:32:11 PM
Jorge - The lamp is not illuminated. In fact, the bulb has that burned-out look.


I see, it is just that you got the perfect angle on that picture. It has a yellowish color cast over the numbers wheel, as if the lamp was on when the picture was taken.

HarrySmith - I suspended each corner in Evapo-rust overnight then sprayed (using an airbrush) flat black Rustoleum after masking off all of the inside components.

Jorge - It is probably a reflection from the flash.


Excellent work, Chuck.   How did you make that crack in the front disappear?

GG - I fused it, so not even a line shows where it was joined.



What do you mean by "fused it"?   Can you describe the process?   Also how strong is the repair? 

Also you made those nibbles around the dial disappear like magic: what's your secret for that? 

I was going to suggest the cyanoacrylate treatment for both of those problems but it looks like maybe you have something that works better.   Inquiring minds want to know....