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Post# 430878   8/28/2020 at 22:58 (288 days old) by fan-of-fans (USA)        

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I also have a small collection of telephones. I collect both corded and cordless phones.

Part of the collection I have is a couple of Bell System phones made by Western Electric. I have two Trimlines, one is beige, and dated 1969, that one has push button dialing, and the star and pound keys. The other is avocado green and dated 1971. It is rotary dial.

I also have an avocado green Princess phone, also touch tone with star and pound keys, from 1972.

These all have the handset cords where they don't have the modular style plugs but are flat conectors on the Trimlines. The Princess has just wired in connections at each end. The line cords are round, colored and have the four prong jack.

The touch tones will dial out via the Comcast VoIP system, the rotary one does not dial out. It would need a pulse to tone converter.

Post# 430893 , Reply# 1   8/29/2020 at 03:10 (288 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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I have a handful of phones too. I have a rotary dial payphone... been meaning to hang it up on the wall in my room (for 10 years now). I have Western Electric 302, I believe that's what it is. The production date indicates it was built during ww2. So it's neither pre- nor post-war.

Incidentally, I'm looking for a beat up wall phone I can use in my shop. One of the regular old fashioned type, full size, not a trimline. Just in case you got one lying around :P

Post# 430907 , Reply# 2   8/29/2020 at 08:21 (288 days old) by kirby519 (Wisconsin)        

Ah now there is some nostalgia!

A friend of mine was just telling me a story about a young boy he was mentoring. They were at the church and the young boy noticed a rotary dial phone sitting on the desk. (I'm not to sure how long ago this was)

The young boy had never seen a phone like that. They also had a wall phone in the kitchen with the rotary dial as well.

He wanted to know how it worked meaning dial the phone and also couldn't believe that you had to sit at a desk or stay in the same room to talk on the phone because of the cord on the phone.

Post# 430909 , Reply# 3   8/29/2020 at 08:43 (287 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Coal City, IL)        

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My grandpa was a 40 year employee if Illinois Bell. Even his time spent in the service was installing their telephones and radios.

I've got probably 40 phones scattered around the house and garage...and several are still connected! I haven't had internet and telephone brought to the new house yet...but there's a slough of phones waiting to ring!

Post# 430913 , Reply# 4   8/29/2020 at 10:11 (287 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
wow, very interesting!!

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I don't collect, NOT gonna start, but....
I have a big, white, rotary dial wall phone, a beige desk phone, rotary, rotary slimline, trimline, 2 new digital Western Electric phones, and a beautiful Candlestick phone, a gift from my later mother. It has pulse, but LOOKS like a rotary. It's on my bedside table.
Love all these phones.

Post# 430921 , Reply# 5   8/29/2020 at 10:51 (287 days old) by fan-of-fans (USA)        

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I always liked the wall phones. My grandparents had a brown one on the wall in their kitchen for years, with rotary dial and the chrome hook for the receiver. Don't know what happened to it, but they replaced it at some point.

The wall and desk phones are still made by Cortelco, in touch tone.

As a kid I had a children's book about a family going to buy a new telephone and it had illustrations of many of the Western Electric ones in it, push button and rotary, and other types as well as pay phones.

Post# 430922 , Reply# 6   8/29/2020 at 10:56 (287 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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I don't collect phones either and I'm not about to start but I'm old enough to remember when Western Electric phones were the only ones you could get because AT&T's government-sanctioned monopoly made it illegal to connect any third party equipment to their system.

I don't know whatever became of it but for a long time I had a 1957 vintage black Western Electric desk phone with a metal rotary dial and a handset cord that was straight, not curled.

The last Western Electric phone I remember being in service in my family was a green 1960s vintage wall phone with a permanently connected handset cord that my dad proudly paid 50 cents for at a church rummage sale. He put it in the detached garage behind the house. Somehow, carrying a cordless handset out there or leaving one out there on a remote charging cradle was too simple of a solution for him. He took great satisfaction in making things as complex and convoluted as possible. That phone was still in the garage when they moved into a retirement community in 2016.

Post# 430939 , Reply# 7   8/29/2020 at 15:37 (287 days old) by kirby519 (Wisconsin)        

Could possibly have been not a good radio signal out in the garage due to distance from the base station and or building structure. Just like our modern cell phones. Some places you just can't get a signal.

Think back some of those rotary dial phones were connected to a party line. Oh the things you learn about your neighbors on one of those.

Or even farther back to the turn of the century when you would have to ring the local switch board and have the operator connect you to the party you wanted to reach.

No doubt the local switch board operators across the country were very well educated on what really takes place in our sleepy little corner of the world we occupied at the time.

Post# 430946 , Reply# 8   8/29/2020 at 17:49 (287 days old) by Air-WayCharlie (USA)        

I have quite a few old rotary and push button phone including Trimlines, Princesses, 302 black desk, 202 Imperial Anniversary Edition and an a rotary Ericofon.

I have VOIP and when requested to push a number, I dial the number and it reads the pulse with no problem. I still love the sound of the rotary dial and being able to cradle the phones while doing something else. My Trimlines are Princesses are early versions which require an electrical transformer to make the lights work.

The Trimline rotary is my favorite of all of them.

Back when "Ma Bell", ran the show you rented EVERYTHING from them for a monthly fee. If you wanted a phone other than black it cost extra every month. If you wanted a longer wall cord--extra, longer coiled cord to handset--extra, private listing--extra, more than one jack--extra. When touchtone calling became available--extra. Of course all my sibs and myself wanted a phone other than black and long cords. We finally coerced my father into it! When I was in college touchtone became available and I wanted it in the worst way. I was rooming with my brother, (he was in graduate school and I was in under-graduate school), who kept the budget and said we couldn't afford it. I was already working while attending school and picked up more hours just so we could get that damn touchtone.

How the world has changed. Now a cellphone is heart/lung machine for many people or what I sometimes refer to as a prosthetic device.

One last could not add phones to your existing service as someone mentioned. In junior high school I had a friend whose father worked for Bell. He got me a 302 desk phone that I hooked up myself in our family room. My mother was quite surprised one day when a Bell representative showed up and wanted to look through the house as he said the amperage/voltage was drawing too high for what my parents had which was three phones at the time. She would not let him in. When I got home she let me know in NO uncertain terms that I was to disconnect that phone pronto!

Post# 430949 , Reply# 9   8/29/2020 at 18:11 (287 days old) by kirby519 (Wisconsin)        

I remember those discussions my parents had about the phones and the actual service. The long distance charges were some times more than my father wanted to pay.

The truth is those days of extra charges for this that and the other thing really aren't that long ago. Sure does seem like it tho. At the time we were really living the dream. Now the youth of today are like really? "how in the world did you people survive?"

Post# 430961 , Reply# 10   8/29/2020 at 20:07 (287 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Coal City, IL)        

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Bell would run ringer impedance tests at night to see how much resistance was on the line. Many people who found out about this would disconnect the ringer on the unlisted extension and never got caught

Post# 430980 , Reply# 11   8/30/2020 at 02:05 (287 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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As for vintage cordless phones, I remember now I have - somewhere - a 'Muraphone' new in box. It's a cordless with a long metal radio antenna, it looks like a military walkie talkie and it works like one, too - you have to hold the button to talk and release to listen! Come to think of it, I've never actually used it. I don't even remember where the box is.

Post# 430987 , Reply# 12   8/30/2020 at 09:56 (286 days old) by kirby519 (Wisconsin)        

Oh yeah I had forgotten about the first cordless phones having a long antenna. I think I have seen a Muraphone but never had a chance use one.

Remember the bag car phone? those were nice.

Post# 431062 , Reply# 13   8/31/2020 at 15:31 (285 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
Car phones

My Uncle Gary bought a new 1963 Pontiac Catalina and took it to a boutique shop to have a phone installed in the console. It was all so James Bond to me at the time. It still used a rotary dialer and you had to go through a mobile operator and it was a bit pricey to use. I don't think there were any laws against talking on the phone while driving since texting was about 40 yrs away yet.

Post# 431353 , Reply# 14   9/6/2020 at 07:49 (280 days old) by kirby519 (Wisconsin)        

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Post# 431435 , Reply# 15   9/7/2020 at 16:20 (278 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        

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Post# 431585 , Reply# 16   9/10/2020 at 10:17 (275 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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...and cheaper still after 11:00 p.m.

Post# 432132 , Reply# 17   9/20/2020 at 14:04 (265 days old) by Jo (Dallas,TX)        
My Aunt

Used to really annoy my Mother because she would call after 11pm because she was calling us from Ohio and we lived in NJ and it was cheaper to call after 11pm. Everyone was just settling into bed and the phone would ring...we knew it was Aunt Josie...she was a night owl who needed little sleep and thought it was funny when we would tell her that it annoyed Mom when she would call so late, she would laugh and say..I know, but it costs less money!

Aunt Josie lived in Ohio and had GTE rotary dial phones from the mid 70s when they had their house built. The kitchen was a brown wall unit and the bedroom had a white desk unit. I had never seen GTE phones before 1981 as everyone had Western Electric. I felt they werenít as good of phones and proved to be not as durable as when I went off to college in Philadelphia in 19l1 the university all had GTE phones and they were constantly having to be replaced,

My Grandmother in NJ had a white trimline rotary dial model added in an upstairs bedroom so if the phone rang they didnít have to run all the way downstairs. It is by far one of my most favorite styles and wish I had one for collectible purposes.

I have an ITT cream colored push button desk phone. It is nearly identical to the western electric models. I just love the loud bell ringer and did use it in my last house when I still had a land line and had it set up on my desk, I mostly had it set up because I loved to still hear the old bell ringers

I wish the cell phones would have the different bell sounds as a trimline and princess had totally different bells in them than the standard desk style phones and had different sounds to them.

Who remembers having a ďtelephone tableĒ?

Both of my Grandmotherís had their telephone tables located at or close to the bottom of the staircase in the house. An inconvenient place for long conversations though one could sit on the stairs and chat. I guess the concept was that the phone was accessible from both levels of the house and could best be heard ringing from both levels in this location. Early on they really didnít put phones in decent locations, but rather ďcentralĒ locations such as hallways. Iíve seen many houses in Dallas that were built in the 20ís through 40ís with built in telephone shelves in the hallway walls. Nowhere to sit. I guess the phone was used more for quick communications then and not sitting and visiting. As a kid we were only allowed to use the phone to set up seeing our to make sure it was ok to come over or set a time to go over and play. We didnít chat at all on the phone, only in person. Only our parents spent time on the phone with those that were further away than local.


Post# 432157 , Reply# 18   9/20/2020 at 21:58 (265 days old) by fan-of-fans (USA)        

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I wonder if partly was because phone rates back then were more expensive? Plus in days of party lines, if one was on the phone for too long others would be wanting to use it. Not to mention possibility of others "listening in." Can remember my dad telling in the 50s/60s how women would say "Get off the phone! I need to make a call!"

Post# 432162 , Reply# 19   9/20/2020 at 22:46 (265 days old) by Brando_husky (Las Vegas Nevada)        

Speaking of old phones. 

Roommate has gotten two ancient cell phones to work recently. As most know these phones are unable to work on modern cell networks but he has created his own cell network and you can use these around the neighborhood. 


The big brick is from 1988 and the smaller one is 1996

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Post# 432167 , Reply# 20   9/20/2020 at 23:03 (265 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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When I was a kid, our apartment from the late '20s - a luxury apartment for the time as it had servant's quarters - had a very small hallway connecting two bedrooms and the bathroom, off of the dining room. In there, was a telephone niche. It was maybe 16" wide, 12" deep, had a table top for the phone to rest on, and a big rectangular cover on the wall beneath the table. I'd imagine the cover once would've been a bell box, or whatever it's called. We did actually have a phone there. But being an inconvenient place to hang around while on the phone, I had put a reproduction candlestick phone there. I still have it. It works, though the rotary dial never worked as long as I've had it. But it looked right at home in its niche.

Post# 432192 , Reply# 21   9/21/2020 at 10:02 (264 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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I have my grandmother's telephone table. It makes a great nightstand in a small bedroom. I had a girlfriend a few years ago who has her grandmother's telephone chair. It was low-slung with a table and storage underneath. Very mid-century kitch, it was covered entirely in black naugahide. It was a little worn and I kept telling her she should have it re-covered in a zebra print just to max out the kitsch factor. Back in the late '90s, I rented a little house, probably built in the '20s, that had a telephone niche in this cramped little back hallway. It still had two cloth-wrapped wires coming out of the wall but as far as I know, it was not active as there was a modular jack on the baseboard in the living room.

GTE (General Telephone) phones were issued by independent phone companies that were not part of the Bell System (aka AT&T), which issued Western Electric phones. In North Carolina at least, most of the former GTE affiliated phone companies went under the United Telephone banner in the '80s and then became part of Sprint in the '90s. After Sprint spun their landline services off a few years ago, it's now called Windstream.

Post# 432604 , Reply# 22   9/26/2020 at 20:34 (259 days old) by Jo (Dallas,TX)        
I worked in the phone industry

Having worked in the phone industry, there were the Baby bells all over the US which were I nicknamed RBOCís pronounced Are-Bockís. Short for Regional Bell operating companies. There were also others that were not part of the ďBell SystemĒ as the RBOCs were. GTE was a major provider which became Verizon when they decided to rename the company. United Telephone and many other smaller companies served rural areas and smaller cities in the Midwest and western US. Pacific Telephone (Pac-Tel) served major California and Oregon and Washington State cities.

Growing up in New Jersey we had New Jersey Bell and when I was in college my parents s bought a second home on Cape Cod and that was served by New England Telephone, both were RBOCís.

I think New York Telephone and New England Telephone merged to create NYNEX. But Iíd have to study all of these to see. I think New York City was serviced by NYNEX in the 80s and 90ís. There were so many changes during the 80s to 2000s that itís all a blur to me now because of the deregulation and the AT&T split up that was required.


Post# 439433 , Reply# 23   3/5/2021 at 14:56 by VacTec2 (The Boiler Room Of Hell)        

How did your roommate get that phone service to work?

Post# 439594 , Reply# 24   3/9/2021 at 17:45 by electrolux137 (Land O Plenty USA)        


I have a couple of old phones. The yellow wall phone is my favorite. Many people had them in their kitchen when I was growing up. I found it in a thrift shop for $2.00. It's in beautiful condition. It's connected to my Ooma land line. You can't place calls from it but it rings on incoming calls and you can talk on it. The bells make a very pleasant sound.


Someone gave me the black phone. I've had it for many, many years. Right now it's just sitting on my desk as a decoration. It does work, however.


I have to be careful not to go crazy with collecting phones -- same for typewriters and mimeographs.

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Post# 439601 , Reply# 25   3/9/2021 at 21:23 by vacuumlad1650 (Coal City, IL)        

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Charles Richard, have you considered a pulse-tl-tone converter for your yellow wall phone? It would allow you to dial out on it

Post# 439605 , Reply# 26   3/9/2021 at 22:43 by gregvacs28 (U.S.)        

I like that yellow wall phone.

Can't think of how many times they used that in Alfred Hitchcock presents episodes or other 60s era dramas.

Here's a nicely waxed and polished wall phone, also with modular connections and it has the push button upgrade.

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Post# 439834 , Reply# 27   3/15/2021 at 15:49 by JustJunque (Western MA)        

I love the Western Electric phones!
We still maintain landline service, and have several rotary and touch tone phones throughout the house.
I love that Western Electric 554 wall phone too. That phone, but in ivory, was what my parents had in their kitchen. I've picked up a few of that model over the years, in different colors, including ivory. But, the phone currently in use in our kitchen is a yellow Western Electric 2554. It's smaller than the 554, and it's touch tone. If you've ever noticed the kitchen phone on The Golden Girls, that's pretty much it!
Our rotary desk phones are plugged in through Dial Gizmos; a pulse to tone converter, because our service doesn't support pulse dialing.


Post# 439854 , Reply# 28   3/15/2021 at 20:53 by gregvacs28 (U.S.)        

Second picture of the Motorola was my first official cel phone in 1997. I remember getting it at a Radio Shack store because my new boyfriend had a celphone already. lol.

I was amazed that it only cost me about $29.95 up front but of course I had the infamous 24 month contract. I forget what the monthly fee was and if you had to pay by the minute or if there were charges for long distance.

I actually had a "bag phone" for a short period back around 1989 that I received as part of a promotion when I bought a new Ford Escort.

If I'm remembering correctly, you got to use it for free for 30 days, after that you paid by the minute plus
long distance and
a monthly fee of like $49.
and of course taxes.

I returned it to the Celphone store after about two weeks. I was not going to need it and not going to pay those over the top prices.
I remember when I brought it in the woman was like we just have to check it and make sure it wasn't dropped or got wet. lol. Which it wasn't, she gave me a printed return receipt, but it was funny.

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Post# 439855 , Reply# 29   3/15/2021 at 21:03 by gregvacs28 (U.S.)        
Bag phone

This thing was awkward.

You had this black bag with heavy stuff in it.

There was the base, there was the hand set and the cord it attached to the base with,

then you pulled out the corded antennae, opened your window and stuck the antennae on your roof with a suction cup (or some were magnetic....and could scratch the paint if they slid when driving)

then you had the power cord that you plugged into the cigarette lighter outlet

then, if you wanted hands free there was a corded microphone you could pull out and stick on your visor so you could talk while driving.

All perfect for the busy commuting executive, real estate agent, or other "going places" person of the late 80s and 90s.

My parents had the staionary "car phone" version of this installed in their Lincoln Town car and my Dad had one installed in his cherry red 1994 heavy duty Ford F250

Unimaginable today but the 90s it was all about car phones "only $199 for a new Motorola car phone" the radio advertisements would spout.

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