The Efficient Minute

Miscellaneous Telephones/Related Items

This is the entry into our home.  The W.E. stick on the table is connected to the main phone line for our convenience and that of our guests.  Our business card is nearby for information.  A dialer pencil is available.  In addition, a very old telephone number directory is available that pictures an embossed photo of a non-dial Western stick.  Note the maroon colored mouthpiece.  This is a very special mp in that it is secured to the faceplate with a nickel plated adapter that is part of the mp.

This is known as an apartment phone and it could have several functions.  Depending on the number of push buttons on the switchbox below the phone, the manager or the janitor could be called and if present, a third button to open the electric doorlatch at the entrance to the building.  In addition, if so equipped, the phone could be used to call out of the building by operating the switch on the front of the switchbox.  Instructions for the use of the phone are showcased on the front.   This phone could be fully functional and I have even toyed with the idea of making the door switch operate the garage door.

This phone is in the phone booth pictured elsewhere on the website.  The framed instruction card is new to me and is a color copy of the original owned by Jerry Singer.  Rob Baxter made the copy for me from his copy and framed it.  It makes a nice addition to the booth even though it pictures a Western Electric dial.  I have left the booth and the phone just as they were when I inherited them from a senior residence where they were in continuous use since new.

This is an Automatic Electric Type 35 wall set commonly known as a "jukebox" phone.  It was the first of two models.  This earlier model had no side vents for ringing emission and was issued with the earlier, heavier Type 38 handset.  This model appeared in the late thirties followed by the Model 50 in the early forties.

This is my collection of Bell System paperweights.  Most of them were issued by various regional Bell Telephone companies circa 1910 or after.  There are different styles from those without any lettering to those with some lettering on both sides with one side identifying the local company and the other side displaying a slogan or advertisement.  One of the most unique is the one in the top row, second from the right.  This was issued by Western Electric and has an internal inkwell, the opening to which is just above the word "Western."  The glass could be a light blue, a peacock blue, or cobalt blue.  They vary widely in availability and value.

This corner shelf unit displays a number of items.  On the top shelf is an AT/T Olympics telephone with one of the ten or so official figurines attached, the torch bearers.  This was purchased by family in 1984. 

The shelf below displays three of a five truck series produced in the eighties by the Pioneers.

Below is another truck in the series and a very unusual wood apartment phone with the three side buttons used to summon the manager, janitor, and to activate the electric front door latch.  This set has all nickel trim.

Three more telephone trucks reside on the last shelf.  Below that (unseen) is a K.C. Bear phone.

This is a special timer for timing long distance calls.  This item was patented on January 29, 1918, at a time when long distance calls were extremely expensive.  The timer is called a Phonometer and was made by the C.H. Graves Co., of Riverside, Conn.  The time is started by throwing a lever on the top.  There is a red visual reminder at three minutes that you are into excess minutes.  This item is cast, weighs about 1.5 pounds, and stands about 4" tall.  It is truly a unique and "mint" piece.

These are some of the telephone related items that line the walls of our stairwell.  There are more but the angle does not permit good picture taking.  The uppermost item is an original Washington state apple crate label and is very difficult to find.  It has an actual photograph of a Western Electric dial candlestick less the dial.  I have one for sale if anyone is interested.  The blue and white framed papers are from the City of Los Angeles, 1899.  The white piece is an invoice from the Sunset Telephone Company to the City and the blue paper is the official, signed, sealed, approved City Council action authorizing the $4. payment.  How times have changed!


This is a "dial" paperweight produced in 1928 for the annual convention of the Independent Telephone Association.  The dial is a Type 24 that is attached to a special mount with a glass window in the bottom to permit viewing the dial mechanism.  This is a very unique item, not unlike other AE "go withs."

There were many advertising items issued with telephone related themes.  Some were provided to customers by the Telcos and others were provided by businesses and individuals.  This cigar cutter is very old and was produced by a large Chicago based firm, E. Burnhoff Mfg. Co., advertising and novelties.  The bell design on this item is the 1908 Bell System Bell.  This is a rare item.

This wall case contains my Southern California Telephone Company employee badge collection, three watch fobs, and a large variety of pins and buttons, most with old Bell System Logos.  One of my favorite pins, the large white one in the lower left corner, says "Ma Bell is a Cheap Mother."  It was issued by the union during a period of labor strife years ago.

These are Calculagraphs.  They were used as timing devices by many companies, including the telephone companies, to keep track of the duration of long distance calls.  The unit on the left is a 110volt model that was installed in the shelf surface of the switchboard so that it was flush to the surface.  The operator inserted a card and pulled the right hand lever, stamping two clock faces on the card.  Upon completion of the call, the operator inserted the card again and pulled the left hand lever which added a third clock face.  The time elapsed could then be read by the billing clerk.  The round model on the right is a windup model that sat on a post along side the operator's chair.