Specialty Items

The items on this page are unique and may not fit into other categories of this website.
Examples would be desksets, decorative pieces, and a variety of other telephone related devices.

This W.E. model 130, often referred to as a Donut Phone, is all original except for the blue reproductdion mouthpiece made by Ray Kotke.
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 unusual 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 the other a 208. The difference was the number of line pickups, hold key, intercom line and signalling features, as well as the central equipment. The keys located just below the wall set above are also part of the 205 system. These sets have been wired to light the lamps corresponding to the colored buttons, for demo purposes.
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.
This 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 school professor.
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 condition.
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.
This phone booth dates from the fifties and was installed as a stand alone in a senior residence. Everything about the booth is original to the booth except for the interior signs. The booth is free standing and is finished on all sides. The phone is currently connected to the home phone line, but can be easily switched to operate as a station off the adjacent switchboard.
This 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. The 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.
This 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.
This 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.