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Author Topic: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.  (Read 892 times)

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Offline shortrackskater

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I bought this Western Electric desk phone on ebay for a whopping $5! I though it was a WE302 but turned out to be a WE 302 EW, a military version with a different dial, a AE dial, which makes things a little different for wiring. I learned a lot rebuilding this with plenty of help from the grumpy good folks at classicrotaryphones.com
The phone was in horrible shape and I bought it just to see if I could make it work, and clean it up, basically a "semi-restoration" just for the hell of it.  The case was cracked and had a whiteish corrosion on the plastic (or tenite) case. I was able to sand the plastic and then do a series finer sanding with steel wool and plastic polish and finally Meguiar's auto polish for the last part. The cracks were a pain in the ass to deal with. I tried various epoxies and finally got then to hold, using super glue as a "topper" on the wider crack. One problem was that the case was warped. I think this phone was just left out in the elements for a long long time. So, I had to fill the crack instead, which was the only way the case would go back on the chassis.
I disassembled the phone and just spot cleaned and steel-wooled parts such as the hook switch. The dial cleaned up nicely as well. The feet on the chassis were rotted so I bought the leather and rebuilt the feet, thanks to a great DIY on the phone forum. My goal was to keep as many of the parts that came with this $5 phone. The only thing I did buy were the transmitter and receiver units. The originals were simply shot. So here's a few before shots and after shots. Oh I did buy the center card retainer. Those darn things are expensive - I paid $14 just for that. But that's okay. I had a lot of fun doing this and now the phone works perfectly.
Here's a jillion pictures.
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Offline shortrackskater

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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2017, 05:41:42 PM »
More...
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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2017, 05:52:30 PM »
And finally...
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 08:51:45 AM by shortrackskater »
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Offline Jimise

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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2017, 08:59:57 PM »
Amazing that is the same phone.
Looks great!  :yes:

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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2017, 08:42:39 AM »
Wow! What patience! :hail:
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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2017, 08:54:49 AM »
The night I got it fully operational, I had a 30 minute conversation with a friend. I wondered when that phone had "its" last conversation? Easily could have been 30 or more years ago. I asked the seller if he had more information on it but all he knew was that the phone was left out for curbside trash pickup.
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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2017, 09:15:36 AM »
From trash to treasure.. Nice job.. :applause:
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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2017, 09:25:17 AM »
Nice!  It's amazing to see what phones were back in the day.  The other day my 15 yr old saw a rotary dial for the first time at a friend's house.  He thought you had to put your finger in the hole to dial  :arrowthruhead:
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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2017, 09:42:05 AM »
Nice!  It's amazing to see what phones were back in the day.  The other day my 15 yr old saw a rotary dial for the first time at a friend's house.  He thought you had to put your finger in the hole to dial  :arrowthruhead:

It's such a solid phone too. And the audio quality is great!
Did you kid think the phone had buttons inside the finger holes? I keep seeing crappy reproduction "antique phones" that have a "dial" but inside are just push-buttons.
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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2017, 03:43:30 PM »
Those old-style rotary dial phones actually have a set of contacts on the inside that open and close the phone line the same number of times as each number that you dialed. For example, if you put your finger in the "5" hole and move it to dial the number when you release the dial there is a spring inside that causes the dial to return while the switch contacts inside open and close 5 times. And for the number "9" there are 9 clicks. Some businesses used to try to get a phone number that had lower numbers in it so people could dial it faster and easier. On rotary phones like this you can also dial a phone number by pressing the cradle disconnect button quickly the same number of times as the digit in the phone number, then pause a half second and do it for the next number, you never have to touch the dial. Those things were built like tanks, many by Western Electric that had a high-quality reputation for durable and reliable equipment that lasted for decades despite the abuse people put them thru.







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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2017, 04:19:37 PM »
Yes it's cool to look at the inside of the rotary dial and see all those in action! What an amazing invention too.
When I saw this on ebay, it definitely looked shabby but I had this feeling that the dang thing would work still, and it did.
It's difficult to actually find anyone who appreciates this other than here or on the classicrotaryphones site. Most people under 30 or so have no clue about old telephones and probably don't give a crap. They're too busy playing with "apps" on their cell phones.
CLICK on the cartoon. That dang banner is too big... Joey???
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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2017, 05:11:45 PM »
I'm actually surprise you were still able to connect it to the phone jack. A lot of those old phones were hard wired or had a square 4 pin hook up.
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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2017, 05:46:44 PM »
It looks good. Glad you got it finished.  :cool_thumb_up:
"All things being equal. The easiest explanation and the easiest answer is probably the right one".

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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2017, 11:52:13 PM »
I'm actually surprise you were still able to connect it to the phone jack. A lot of those old phones were hard wired or had a square 4 pin hook up.

The original line cord was hard wired and shot. I have a handy RJ11 crimping tool and I make my own line cords.  :propeller:

Thanks all for the comments. Click on that cartoon and have a laugh.
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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2017, 12:11:20 AM »
I'm actually surprise you were still able to connect it to the phone jack. A lot of those old phones were hard wired or had a square 4 pin hook up.

The original line cord was hard wired and shot. I have a handy RJ11 crimping tool and I make my own line cords.  :propeller:

Thanks all for the comments. Click on that cartoon and have a laugh.

What's the meaning behind the name "Lucy" phone?

The cartoon shows that the old phone has a coiled line cord, but some of the early phones just had straight uncoiled cords like the photo below. I remember my grandparents having a phone with a straight cord, it just hung down limply.

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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2017, 08:01:58 AM »
As I understood it, the larger cities in the US had low area code numbers because of the speed of dialing, i.e. Detroit 313, Chicago 312, California 213, New York 212 and so on. The larger the city, the lower the area code digits would be.

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Re: Oh god... another phone! This time a "Lucy Phone" - well sort of.
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2017, 09:30:02 AM »
That's interesting on the digit numbers. I think I read that on the classicrotaryphones site. I wonder what city got stuck with 9's back then? :rotfl:

My phone here does have a coiled receiver cord but I think it was added when the signal corps ordered or purchased these phones. The base is dated 1942 but the case and receiver is 1952. My phone had the "weatherproof" (or whatever they called it for tropical areas) stuff in it. The line cord has a grommet. And the dial was slathered in what looked like cosmoline. My late 40's Western Electric 302 does have just the cloth cords for both receiver and line cord.
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