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Severly damaged Ivory 302 housing

Started by TelePlay, August 31, 2016, 08:20:26 PM

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Quote from: Babybearjs on September 02, 2016, 12:12:41 AM
it seems to me that this happened from sun damage. some had this phone in a room where the sun hit the phone directly and ruined it.... either that, or heat damage from a fire possibly... or just being in storage in a area with no temperature control...

sitting next to a fireplace or wood stove for 20 years might do it.
Phat Phantom's phreaking phone phettish


What are these phones made from? Different plastics react differently to the conditions around them. Our UK phones made from ABS discolour just like this (although I've never seen one crack or warp), but if you get an early one made from 'Diakon' it's still totally colour stable 50+ years down the line.

In this case, although the handset body also shows signs of discoloring, the damaged cap is far worse. For that reason I'd say they are probably the same material but were not together when the damage occurred. My guess is it's made up out of all the worst bits someone had to cobble together a complete phone and try to get some money back for it.
Call me on C*net 0246 81 290 from the UK
or (+44) 246 81 290 from the rest of the world.

For telephone videos search Andys Shed on Youtube.


This is a long overdue update. I bought this phone out of curiosity in August 2016. Some of you might remember it when listed on eBay. Opened it up last night after staring at it on my back shelf for 15 months.

It does seem to have been exposed to high heat (but not flames )which damaged the front left of the housing and the transmitter cap which due to facing downward took most of the heat. The heavily damaged corner of the housing is quite brittle.

The cap came off in one piece by simply spreading the crack to break it free from the threads and it simply unscrewed at that point.

The housing was stuck on but came off quite easily using Doug's screwdriver in the back mouse hole leverage technique.

The housing was shrunk around the dial be could only shrink until tight so strategic blows to the inside (back) of the dial got it out. The dial is clean and operates well.

The H1 housing was stamped '52. The dial is a '52 5J locking 3 part finger wheel (which was lost in the heat - the paper and plastic from the number card was stuck onto the retaining nut in the shape of the nut as if painted on).

The inside of the transmitter cap did not show color change. The inside of the handset is a very nice light ivory. The receiver cap is is great shape. The elements are undamaged. The handset is stamped 32.

The dial, except for the missing finger wheel is in near NOS condition, very clean working well. The hook switch is also near NOS. The clear plungers are undamaged.

The fine weave ivory handset and line cords other than being a bit dirty are undamaged. The rubber coated leads are not brittle. All restraints are clean and the dates are clear.

The base, both the bottom and the inside, are NOS. Very clean, unmarked and undamaged in any way. All wires are clean, intact and original. The feet are like new.

Other than the heat damage, I'd say this phone looks like it was never used. Much of it looks like it might have just been taken out of its shipping box.

Paid just under $42 total for this "phone." I think it was a good deal for the parts not heat damaged.

Now the question becomes, what to do with it? Several options to consider.


Quote from: Pourme on September 02, 2016, 07:32:25 AM
"It'll buff out"..... ;)

Problem solved!

Remember the Orchid 40. You can likely make a jig, heat the housing and force it back close to straight again. But, due to the discolouration and replacement parts required, maybe it just isn't worth it.

A your picture "302 opened up and bottom", make a display mount showing the inside and the base in a similar manner.




I thought this may be a good thread to ask this question.

I have acquired the Ivory handset in the pictures above through the courtesy of John 'Teleplay', to use on a Imperial i purchased on EBAY last night.  (Thank you, John)

As you can see the transmitter cap is not usable.  :(

If anyone has a ivory transmitter cap for this handset please contact me & let me know what you would like to have for it.

Thanks in advance!

Panasonic 308/616 Magicjack service


Benny, you must like Imperials too. You already have at least 1, don't you?


Quote from: oldguy on April 23, 2018, 11:35:58 PM
Benny, you must like Imperials too. You already have at least 1, don't you?

Gary, I have a gold Imperial, this one is a silver version. It came with a subset for $100. The finish is not as nice as I would like, but it will do until I can find a more suitable example. I'll post a thread when it arrives.

Panasonic 308/616 Magicjack service


Check the for trade page I have caps there for ivory handset.....
ATCA # 4057


In a follow up to the guesses made in this topic by members as to how this ivory soft plastic housing became partially and bidirectionally toasted, I had a chance a couple of months ago to sit down with the "toasted" ivory 302 housing to learn its secrets.

I am firmly convinced that whatever hit the phone did so from the front left corner when the phone was sitting with the corner closest to the approaching toasting impact.

I drew than conclusion from 4 facts (phone left is left when facing the dial)

1) The first is a shadow on the top of the housing (that flat area which is below the handset) from the center side of the left front ear leading back to the back right ear. To me this indicates the toaster hit the front corner, moved up the front left divide and crossed the top of the housing but the left ear caused it to miss the left 1/3 of the top, cast a shadow of light plastic versus the toasted brown plastic on the right of a line from the left ear to the back. This gave me that angle of travel of the toasting event from front left to back right. None of the plastic that was shielded in anyway from the front left to right rear moving event was toasted, it is still ivory.

The left front corner of the front right ear also took a major hit. If you look a this first image, just pick out the really dark brown areas, there are 4 of them: 1)left front corner, left divide to the left of the dial, the left front corner of the left ear and the left front corner of the right ear. Everything else is lighter or unaffected including the back ears which were shielded by the handset. And, the left side and front areas that transition from horizontal to vertical are lighter due to the toasting event skimming over them and directly impacting on vertical surfaces, especially corners of all types facing the approaching toasting event.

2) Next, the left side of the phone shows a light spot (circle) under the cradle ears which had to be the transmitter cup and cap shielding that side part of the housing from the toasting event. Also, the back of the housing is untouched, all ivory, starting with the sharp divide between side and back - the toasting event blew past the divide and never touched the back of the housing (red line is the divide).

3) The side on look at the left side shows how the handset and cap shielded the side of the housing with a little leakage (light toasting) on the top of the left side (just below the cradle ears) where the toasting event was allowed to pass due to the narrowing of the handset cup. The back side of the handset cup area is also untouched meaning the handset cup took the force of the toasting event diverting it away from the left side and never touching the top left side of the housing, the area shadowed by the handset cup.

4) The right side of the housing was shielded from the front left to rear right movement by the front right side divide (red line). The toasting event just blew straight past the divide never touching any part of the right side. Also, if you look at the dial mount, it shows the left side has a depth to the dark brown about the same as the other parts of the dark brown toasted ares, like the chip I have soaking in acetone.

Going back to the first image,

it shows there is no depth to the toasted skin on the right side of the dial mount, the area shielded by the dial as the toasting event blew past that part of the housing. If you look at the above image, the arrow not only point to the divide line but also points to an area of the front which is just barely toasted meaning that the dial and finger wheel protected that small part of the housing front from the toasting event. The flat is almost ivory and the dial mount shows no depth to the brown.

So, that my case for some toasting event moving horizontal hitting the phone on the left front corner (the most damage other than the transmitter cap) leaving the back and right side and items shadowed by the dial, ear and transmitter cup of the handset lighter or unchanged. If the toasting event was upward, none of the housing just below the handset would have been toasted. If it were downward, the top of the housing just below the handset would have been much darker. Whatever it was, it passed flat across the top of the housing.

As for the change to the plastic itself, every time I think about it, the less I see sun  light doing this. The sun moves over time each day and its height in the sky changes throughout the year. Sun light would "bathe" the housing more evenly over the phone (and to have the phone in the exact same position over a very long time would be not likely).

It could have been a very hot fire at some distance so only the heat was hitting the phone but for a very short time. If it was heat, the time period was such that the outer 1/16" got toasted to the point of starting to melt but since the interior half thickness of the housing stayed cool enough to prevent the very hot exterior surface from melting, starting to flow, deform. The bottom edges of the housing do show deforming, beginning to curl outward (the base would have kept them from curling inward).

I see this a similar to holding a marshmallow on a fork steady, in one position and very close to red hot coals in a fireplace. The part of t he marshmallow closest to the coals will toast, turn black and after a few seconds that side will start to burn while the interior will stay soft and the side away from the coals unaffected.

It had to be a point source, a large, hot flash fire, far enough away from the phone to keep the flame off of it but the intense heat (the IR, infra red radiation) more than enough to toast the phone as seen in just a second or two. Only the plastic was affected. The leather feet and the metal dial parts were not affected. And, it was not part of the event in that no water was ever poured on the phone, there are not water spots on the inside base and base components.

I'm starting to rule out an explosion in that for an explosion to get that hot would also have pushed the phone off the desk busting the housing.

I don't know what it was but it was nearby, very hot and very short in duration. It had to be a very hot, quick fire but not an explosion and the fast moving heat wave had to move over the phone from front left to back right.

As for the missing chip in the front left corner, that chip was placed in 100% acetone on April 25th, 2018. Within the first week, about 10% of the plastic, the inside of the chip, melted away leaving something much different and much harder than soft plastic, or even ABS. After two months, the "toasted" side of the housing, the chips, did not dissolve and remain hard, not soft or spongy. Taking them out of the acetone for the image, as soon as the surface acetone evaporated, the plastic was hard to the touch, not tacky, and solid, not soft. Reminds me of petrified wood.

So, whatever "toasted" this housing and handset did something to the plastic's composition, chemically changed it into a material more like Bakelite, something that does not dissolve in pure acetone over 2 months of soaking.

I can imagine what would happen if I put the entire housing in a acetone. After a week or two, the back half of the housing would have melted away and the inside of the remaining housing half would also have melted away leaving the hard, "toasted" exterior "skin" and if taken out of the acetone and allowed to dry would be a very interesting, artistic looking ghost of a housing.

I sit here typing this with the phone's 3-52 5J dial staring at me. It is perfect, almost NOS with the exception of the clear finger wheel was melted away and missing. None of the metal components, the porcelain number plate or the ivory metal paint show any signs of exposure to heat, the same thing found with all of the components on the 302 base, all in perfect condition, clean and unaffected by whatever "toasted" the housing.


Wow, John! Thanks for the in-depth research. Now I am left somehow craving butter and jam to put on some toast.  ;)  That phone looks like Creme Brulee after someone took a torch to it. I think your theory is correct. It survived a fire that was just far enough away from it to not melt the plastic entirely. But it changed the composition of it to petrified plastic.

My aunt had two black 500 sets melted in a house fire, or damaged beyond repair. One was next to her bed and one was upstairs in a hallway. She barely escaped with her life and the last call made from the one next to her bed was to call 911. It was arson and her insurance paid for all the damage, including replacing her car. She's lucky it only burned half of the house and not all of it. I don't think they ever caught the culprit.


It appears it will never be back to it's original color so what do you intend to do with it? I was thinking maybe take a torch or a heat gun and see if you can duplicate the finish over the entire body. Add new cords and a new handset it would look pretty cool!
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434

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

Butch Harlow

I gotta admit I love all this. Too bad the phone is not salvageable,  but the investigation gives it an alternate life of sorts. I wish I could find some time for all this, but right now I am going through my own annual "toasting event" of sorts. My primary duty as service manager for an apartment complex is to keep the AC running. So, when it gets hot around here, it gets hot for maintenance. Until autumn, my favorite season, I will have to enjoy other people's phone science.
Butch Harlow


An update on the chips taken off of this "burned" ivory 302 housing which were placed in 100% acetone on 4/25/18 as shown in the first image below.

The second image below was taken today, 8/28/21. They haven't dissolved in over 3 years.

Whatever happened to this housing changed the chemistry of the plastic from the surface to about 75% of the way into the plastic. The last 25% (the un-burned inside surface) melted off, was dissolved by the acetone, in a few days. The remaining hardened plastic has not dissolved over the past 3 years and 4 months.

Anyone who has ever  tried to sand, chemically or paper, off discolored plastic has discovered that the discolored layer is harder than the original colored plastic beneath it. Whatever changed to plastic's color also changed the physical characteristics of the discolored plastic itself. The discolored layer is relatively quite hard to both chemical and paper sanding compared to the original plastic below the discoloration.

This also goes to the use of peroxide to further chemically change the discolored plastic in that peroxide or bleach is applied to a unevenly hardened surface plastic and since the degree of hardening is different on different areas of the plastics, the color change or discoloration is not uniform across the plastic items entire surface (the side facing sunlight will be more changed than the side away from the sunlight), so the affect of peroxide or bleach on the harder plastic areas will yield different results than on the less discolored, softer plastic areas.

I doubt these plastic chips will ever dissolve.