items on this page are unique and may not fit into other categories of
Examples would be desksets, decorative pieces, and a variety of other telephone related devices.
item above is called a Telephone Cover as listed in the Ovington's
Winter Catalog, 1921-22,
New York City. The cost at that time was $35. It is one of two designs of which I'm aware.
Telephones of that era were not viewed as pretty or decorative, so were hidden away in a variety
of cabinets and enclosures. A poor man's version appears on this webpage.
|This is a very special candlestick telephone cabinet, designed to "hide" the phone from view. The back slides up so that the connected phone can be placed in the cabinet with cords exiting the back. The phone sits on a slide-out shelf. To the side of the phone is a pocket for phone books. Below the phone is a drawer for storing desk items. There is a decal in the drawer with the name of the manufacturer, Imperial Furniture Company, made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There is also a small stool that fits between the legs of the desk. This one is very tastefully ornate with some door design and other subtle features, suitable for most any home decor. I bought this in Las Vegas in an antique store in 1990.|
|This small display case contains three different early Bell System First Aid kits, all with the 1921 Bell logo/decal. In addition, there are two paper weights issued around 1910 by the Sunset Telephone Company, one of California's early telcos, ultimately acquired by Pacific Telephone. On the bottom shelf are a variety of receivers. The front corner ones are likely Western Electric longpoles with a very early testman's combination receiver and transmitter in the middle. Others behind include a very early W.E. pony, a more common pony, a Stromberg Carlson, and a couple of others. These receivers are currently residing in this case until they have a phone from which to hang.|
|Here are a variety of receivers that are not currently hanging on deskstands. A couple on the top shelf are test models and one is a very early W.E. pony, only a few of whichwere made.|
|This is a 293S which has a very
clamping device to ensure that the receiver
remains on the switchhook. I assume
this might have been installed on a
sea going vessel.
These are W.E. "E" handset
mountings, one a 205 and
|This solid wood (not plywood)
doll was made prior to 1929 for the purpose of hiding or "dressing up"
what were considered ugly telephones. The MP is removed, inserted
through the precut hole and threaded back into the transmitter
faceplate. The phone is easily used with the "doll" in place. On the
reverse of this example, a note was written in pencil in 1929 by the
owner who was by the nature of the writing and grammar, poorly
educated. The note was written to someone or was simply a diary note to
record the events of the day.
|This is the reproduction Bell
System shade manufactured by John Infurna.
|Another view of the reproduction
Bell System shade.
Bell System shade is an original and to the best of my knowledge, this
style has not been reproduced. The Kellogg wall phone to the
lower left of the shade was very likely factory modified during WWI
with the addition of a dial in the shelf. Though there is
no proof that it took place at that time, many phone companies were
forced to convert earlier model telephones to automatic sets due to
lack ofmaterials to make new phones.
|This is an Automatic Electric
Type 4 or Type 14. It's very unique andseldom seen.
The dial is mounted in a special "dial head" that can beattached to
either end of the wall hanging unit, depending on the dialinghabits of
the user. This phone contains a network but not a bell.
|This is a very special Model
"302" telephone set designed for the hard of hearing. The
phone was furnished with a black container that contained three drycell
batteries. The latter provided the power for the amplifier
that increased the volume in the handset. This phone was permanently
loaned to me by my friend, Dr. Jon Finder, famous Pittsburgh medical
|This picture shows the cradle
area of the phone and the left hand cradle plunger that the user pulled
up and turned from Low to Medium to High depending on the desired
volume. Replacing the handsetdepressed the plunger and turned
off the amplified circuit, thus conserving the batteries. An
additional upward pull of the plunger also turned off the amplifier for
the user with normal hearing. This phoneworks now just as it
did when manufactured in the mid-forties.
|This is a W.E. 551 board that was
installed somewhere for the first time in 1938. It is wired
for 10 incoming trunks and 20 stations. Currently, one of our
telephone lines terminates on the board and five or six stations are
connected to candlesticks and the phone booth. When the room
was built in 1991, it was wired for a future switchboard and multiple
stations. The board is in immaculate cosmetic and working
|There is a variety of phones in
this picture. The end phones on the top row are Strowger Intercom
phones with very special dials. The phones are still
connected to their heavy multi-pair cables. The second phone is seen
elsewhere on this site. The brown phone is a Kellogg
"ashtray" and is rare due to its color.
The left most phone on the bottom shelf is a standard W.E. "D" mount with a non-slip advertising attachment. The next phone is the AE "transition" phone:It has the bell in the base and the induction coil in the handset. Next to it is a Kellogg Grabaphone and the phone on the right end is a Northern Electric brown deskset that has never been used.
|This arm is called a
Flexiphon. It attaches to the wall and can swivel from left
to right and be raised and lowered. It was probably installed
between two desks permitting two persons to use the same
phone. The unit will accommodate mostany make of candlestick
phone that has a detachable base.
|This arm is named Equipoise and
carries the Holtzer Cabot name. Otherwise, it is identical to
the Flexiphon except for the fact that it has a clamp for holding a
complete candlestick phone. This arm attaches to the wall or
the side of a desk in the same manner.
|This British speed dialer was
invented/manufactured circa 1929 by American and British telephone
companies. The purpose was to reduce the time it takes for an
operator to dial a number. The operator would punch in the
number as rapidly as possible and the automatic dialing mechanism would
do the dialing while
the operator went on to other calls. The literature mentions a 12 second savings on each call which by the end of the day adds up to many more calls per operator. This device will work on today's phone lines.
is primarily a wall of three slot phones mounted
in my small shop. The unique set is the one on the
left end that was made by Stromberg Carlson using
a custom made steel cabinet with a Gray #11 coin
collector mounted in the top center. SC used other
SC parts for the guts of this unique payphone, which
works. Coins are not required for the phone to work,
but it was a way to collect for calls made from
this phone. It likely was used in a shop somewhere.
other unique item is the step switch at the right end
to which a W.E. 211 is connected. The switch requires
that a "9" or a "0" be dialed to access dial tone
from the 211 set. This is simply a demonstration switch.
The other sets are very nice examples of rather common phones.
This is my small
collection of watch fobs, telephone related.
Fobs were very popular in the days of pocket watches,
and many companies and organizations emblazoned their
logos on metal discs that were then attached to pocket
watches by a leather strap. The watch was carried in
a vest pocket and the fob remained on the outside providing
a "handle" for removing the watch. Chains were also used
and were generally attached by a clasp to a
button hole or belt loop.
is a photo composite of the very first Western Electric
rotary dial, manufactured sometime after 1915. They are
very rare, with fewer than a dozen known to exist. Unlike
all other dials, the porcelain number plate under the fingerwheel
moves clockwise as the number is dialed. The number plates in all
subsequent dials remained static. The moving number plate
may have resulted in mechanical problems which led to the next
version of this dial without a moving plate.
is the #1 dial pictured above, mounted on a dial mount used
on a switchboard, which is mounted to a small trophy board
with a plaque noting details about the dial.
The reference to "Gary's Rolex" is an inside story about
Gary preferring a rare #1 dial to a Rolex watch.
This dial was most likely made to be used on a switchboard
as determined by the electrical contacts on the rear of the
dial visible in the photo above.
|This wall mount for a round base deskset was custom made by a craftsman using the original as a guide. Though it doesn't show in the photo, there is a felt covering on the top of the round shelf. The shelf mounts to the wall using a hole that is behind the vertical support so that it doesn't show. The receiver holder swings in and out.|