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Post by tuberadiogeek on Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:01 am

I just purchased what I believed was a 5302, but turned out to be an 04. For those who are not completely familiar with vintage phones, the 5300 series were only produced a few years and were made from remaining 300 series parts. Basically for the customers who couldn't use the new 500 series phones when they came out in the early 50's. They were designed to look like the newer 500 series phones but with the reliability of the 300 series phones. This one has the F1 style handset, which was used on the 300 series phones. I placed it beside my 1960 500 for a side-by-side comparison of the two different but similar looking models. The 5304 is on the left and the 500 is on the left. I watched this for 2 weeks on eBay and luckily it was re-listed  and nobody put a bid on it until I did with about 3 minutes left on the auction.  Western Electric 5304 19204210    Western Electric 5304 10013910     Western Electric 5304 10628010     Western Electric 5304 10670010
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Post by Guest on Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:36 am

Nice photos, I didn't know you have an interest in vintge WECO/ Bell System equipment. I worked for the Bell System for 19 years. WECO was one of the 24 partners.

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Post by tuberadiogeek on Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:09 am

Thanks. Yeah, a slight interest. It started when I got a SC 554 from the 70's. Then that brought back memories from when I was a kid using a 500 series phone. So I got one of those a few years ago. After that I discovered a 5302 and had to have one. So I've been searching off and on for about 2 years waiting for the right time to make a move. This has a B3A ringer from 1940 and a 101B induction coil. It will dial, but not ring. I can only find a diagram for the B2A ringer. I followed that but it gave me a "dead" phone.
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Post by 75X11 on Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:50 am

Nice find! Did they have a wall configuration along that line?
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Post by 35Z5 on Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:08 pm

You mean one of these???

Western Electric 5304 Phone2_zpse66648b3
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Post by 75X11 on Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:50 pm

Yes, but with a handset like T.R.Geeks.
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Post by tuberadiogeek on Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:44 pm

Yes, they had a 352 and 354 but not sure if they made a 5352 or 5354. If they did make a 5300 series wall phones they are likely very scarce. As it is getting difficult to find 5302's let alone other desk variations in the 5300 series. The reason being is due to a limited number being made only until WE could improve the network design of the 500. Nobody knows exactly how many 5300 series phones were made due to them not made in a factory or being marked.
35Z5 that is a 554, likely from the late 60's to the 80's. The acrylic dial helps date it just by looking at it. Now just by looking at a picture I can't tell you if it's an WE, SC, or even ITT.
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Post by 75X11 on Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:57 pm

We had a wall phone with the older handset and metal dial. They would have had the phone installed in 1958, probably. It was in Henry Ford's favorite color.
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Post by tuberadiogeek on Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:08 pm

Yup, that was the time the metal dial was slowly going away. I want to say around 60 or so it was gone. All phones back then came in every color as long as it was black.(classic phone joke..lol) However after a few years special colors were released. If you can find a WE 302 that is in any color besides black you are one lucky person unless you have a few hundred dollars to spare because they were only a very limited number made in certain colors. Now even some 500 and 554 colors are rare. Of the 302's and 500's I believe the hardest color to come by is pink and the 2nd hardest color is red, especially in a 302. You can find red 500's but people usually want a high amount for them.
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Post by Guest on Fri Nov 07, 2014 6:18 pm

I'm, sure you've heard of the "BSP's" Wink

We turned to these books for everything related to the telephone company

Here is a link to a work in progress;
http://bellsystempractices.org/


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Post by Conelrad on Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:18 pm

I have a WECo 302 set that is in the original box, un-issued. Even with s still-wrapped 42A block.

Antique store, $20.

I don't have the heart to use it.

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Post by tuberadiogeek on Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:32 pm

Never heard of BSP's Mezlaw. Dennis, I don't blame you. As you are sitting on a potential gold mine. Regardless of what year it is, it could bring quite a large number from the phone collector that either doesn't have one or has to have it for their collection. You practically stole that sucker for 20.00.. A 302 is on my list down the line. They're still a bit high priced for me right now. I think an AE80 from the 60's or 70's is next on my list.
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Post by 75X11 on Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:43 pm

My big sister used to mind the household and keep an eye on me when we had that old black phone and one afternoon she got a call from the phone company. At least he said he was the phone company, and back then it was not yet cool to question authority. So the telephone company told my sister it was time for the annual clean out of the lines and in order to contain the dust and debris that would be thrown out when they blew out the lines, she would have to hang a pillowcase from the phone and tie the handset in it, leaving it hanging from the phone. Well, my mother always called each evening to make sure things were all right when she was working night shift and she thought something horrible had happened to us as the phone was busy for so long, so she called grandma to check as she left the factory because Mother worked closest to us. Mother didn't lose any pay that evening because they said that was the best story anyone made up to leave work. Grandma was not impressed either. We never did trust the phone company much after that.
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Post by Conelrad on Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:55 pm

My mom was an operator for Mountain Bell, and she was laid off when I was really young as Yuma went to dial switch.

I remember when we got our household 302 changed out for a baby-blue 500 set. Hot stuff!

SUNSET3-5452---Jeez, how did I remember that number?

D

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Post by 75X11 on Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:03 am

Ours was ORLEANS 4-1414.
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Post by 35Z5 on Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:14 am

(Midway)   MI5-1645

Sometime not long after we left WV, my aunt got MI5-2645

My grand parents here in VA had (Kimball) KI5-5960, originally before seven digits their number was 66-5960... I bought the house from my grandmother and kept the number, later my older daughter bought it from me and again kept the number... After 51+ years(I have a bill from '52 with the 66-5960 number), it finally left family in 2003... Now days could no doubt be transferred to a different area....

BTW my grandparents had the original 302(?), until late '70s when they got a ivory push button...
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Post by 35Z5 on Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:20 pm

BTW if I'd have moved next door I could have taken the 5960 number with me when I moved in '95... The main cross street has Bell(Verizon) but my street(I'm first house) was serviced by GTE... Funny part there is no phone trunk line on poles out front, we are serviced by individual lines from two poles down the street, was only maybe 125 ft from a Bell line but couldn't get their service... I was the last customer on GTE's system(originally Norfolk & Carolina Telephone Co)... That's at least on this leg, system was no doubt like a octopus, with tentacles stretching in several directions...

To give a idea of N & CTs resources, when Greenbriar Mall was built in their territory in 1981 they were unable to provide service, gave it to Bell...
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Post by tuberadiogeek on Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:17 pm

I come from the era of just normal 5 digit numbers and towards the end of the party line era. We had a party line with 2 or 3 other people in the neighborhood. Many of times I would pick up the phone to find someone else on the line. Sometimes we would remove the transmitter element so we could listen in unknowingly. That was the late 80's to early 90's. United Telephone was our provider. They were eventually purchased by Sprint, then about 15 years later Sprint was purchased by Embarq. Embarq was then purchased by Century Link, which is who currently provides analog telephone and DSL internet service locally. Eventually our area had so many phone number coming on they had to start issuing numbers with a shared area code from Findlay Ohio. That is when we had to start dialing number with area codes included, even calling local.
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Post by 35Z5 on Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:40 pm

You guys still had party lines in the '80s/'90s???

I dunno date as we'd moved, but back in the sticks of WV party lines were surely history by the 'early '70s(were still party in '61 when we left)... We only had one other person on our line, most had three or four... Of course Bell had installed a all new seven digit system in around 1958, probably wasn't a big deal to make them private...  Prior there was a five digit system up where we were and no free lines, someone had to die or move out of area to free up a number, never had a phone till the new system was installed...

Was some where around 1956/57 when the area here went to the seven digit system from the six digit... At time of switch Norfolk had a Lowell exchange, but by the time we'd moved here it was history... Was replaced with Madison... AFAIK there still isn't 56x exchange in the five cities area(maybe cell)... 562 is in Franklin 45 mi away...
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Post by Wildcat445 on Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:29 pm

Ours was MELROSE 2-9885. Before that, 2007-K, three longs and a short.

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Post by tuberadiogeek on Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:03 am

Oh yeah. I can't remember exactly what years we had a party line but it had to be sometime between 1986 and 1991. I'm also not certain how many were on our line but I believe it was more than just one other house. Keep in mind i'm only 32 almost 33 so I was quite young when we had a party line. Now I don't ever remember the phone having a distinct ring or any certain pattern but again I was young.
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