Business Phone Systems

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An international page:

This is how business key systems looked like in Italy. Designed ~1958 in Milan:

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

This is a secretary-director set for use with one external line and one intercom line. There was an extended version with 2 outside lines and 6 or 4 internal extension stations (with numbered signaling keys in the front).

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

A pair of Italian “videophones” from 1970s. These were actually door video intercoms:

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


Last edited by RedBul; 10/24/19 07:53 AM.
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Going through some inventory today. I definitely have too much stuff here.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

The next big thing will be to put together a larger system based on 2 Western Electric 584C panel and progress with the wiring across the house. The current 4 lines from 551C KSU look just ridiculous on the Call Direction which also accumulated over time. A lot of work ahead to develop the routing for cables trough the house taking into account all walls are brick & mortar and floors are reinforced concrete.

Another thing I have started to think about is reproducing the color buttons for Call Director as those continuously proved to be made of Unobtainium.

I was able to order some purple ones and they are on their way and will try reproduce a molding to make those in small quantities as reproduction.

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Please...don't stop me if you've heard this before...

Our local Federal US Marshal (WABAC Machine ~ twentieth century) couldn't understand why his speaker phone wasn't working.

  • Service call
  • Move the transmitter away from the speaker
  • Test
  • Works fine
  • Repeat


I know I had at least 4 service calls...don't know how many others from our company were dispatched for the same issue.


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Ha ha... I think the Marshal was clever: if those service calls were “free”, i.e. included into the monthly charge from Bell System for all the lamps, buzzers, buttons, etc. etc. Then you don’t pay more for each extra call.

Probably this was his logic: if we pay these guys so much for each lamp in my Call Director, I want them to work like hell and check the lamps/speakerphone/etc. every month.

Otherwise his secretary could be instructed “to fix” the speakerphone for her boss.

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Not to make anything political about it but he was assigned by President Jimmy Carter, ya'll.


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RedBul:

Sorry I had to cut our conversation short yesterday.

I will give you some advice on one subject you mentioned, and post it here for others who might need to know:

You intend to use 66B-25 blocks as the output connections for your 584C panels. Those blocks did not originally come with brackets that would allow them to sit proud of the backboard. (allowing the cables to be installed under the blocks, with the conductors brought out from behind the blocks, and through the fanning strips along the sides) the way the 89B brackets are intended for use behind 66M blocks.. To install the cables alongside the blocks makes a sloppy installation, so installers would fabricate "stand-offs" to allow the blocks to be held off the back boards. We used short (0.75") lengths of plastic tubing (PVC electrical conduit, typically) and sandwiched them under the 66 blocks, one at each corner, with the mounting screws run through the tubing.

In later years, several manufacturers (including WE) sold factory-made stand-offs for the 66B blocks. Some were plastic brackets, and some were aluminum.

Here are some...

http://phoneman.com/66b-block-bracket-need-2-for-1-block.html

stand-off 66B


Arthur P. Bloom
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Specially for Professor Shadow: this is why Carter never had a speakerphone attached to his white call director. He probably experienced the same issue as the Marshal appointed by him.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Hi Arthur,

Yes, I have already experienced the issue described by you with those R66B blocks (I have one piece since I was building the 551C based system, but I finally neatly punched the station cables directly to the KSU 66-block and the installation looks really good). Not sure why people like to duplicate 66 block externally for Shoe Box type systems, I think they were designed to be self contained with not much external boards/equipment.

Now with the 584C panels I cannot avoid placing the 66 blocks next to them. My idea was to mount the blocks on the same 23” rack as 584C panel - just by putting two horizontal rails below the panels and then mount R66B on those rails. Thus the 66 block will be at the same distance from the backboard as the panels and all cabling will be kept behind them.

I think I saw such installations somewhere or at least such rails were used for auxiliary equipment mounting like dial intercoms, lamp extenders etc.

Now as I still have to figure out the layout of the main backboard I’m going to have, I have an alternative option of using Reliable Electric R66 blocks. Those are much bigger than standard 66B - I believe one can punch them down blindly with eyes closed and in complete darkness. And they have the plastic base behind for placing them with some spacing from the backboard. I really like those especially for the main equipment backboard where you may need a comfortable access to individual pins for testing the panels without the risk of causing short circuit by a screwdriver or a probe.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

In that case I will move the standard “small” R66B blocks to the secondary backboard. The plan is that the equipment, panels and the main distribution frame will be located in the communications room in the basement. From there a 100 pair cable will run to the secondary distribution frame at the attic (closet). Because I have now the 4 Call Directors which I want to spread evenly across the house, having a full double set of all five 25-pair multiples in the basement and in the attic will give me the necessary flexibility to run any combination of lines to any station depending on the best cable routing situation.

For now I plan to have on the first 5 positions the incoming lines. The second row of buttons will be reserved for special “hot line” or “private line” type service for the most frequently called destinations. The other three could be just extra lines for now before I can find a better application for them. Because I still need to keep other 6-button stations fully functional, so I don’t want to put any incoming lines on buttons which are not accessible from all stations.

But it is only a plan for now, and a lot to do to make the implementation of it without disrupting the current service from 551C KSU. That one will be later moved to my office at the company to be used there.

Last edited by RedBul; 11/12/19 09:54 PM.
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An important mission has been completed today on the rare phone which waited a couple of years in the queue for restoration. The end result brought me in tears... of happiness.

This is original (not painted) Western Electric 564 set with rose pink shell dated 12-65. It came to me more than 2 years ago with heavy discoloration - only by a strip of intact plastic where the line designation strip has been covering it from sun, one could see the actual color.

Last two days was a lot of elbow grease and sandpaper as I do not use chemical process or retrobrite on color sets. But the result worth the effort. This is for sure the most beautiful telephone set I ever saw. I have to change the coiled cord as it was also totally discolorated - but the similar one (I believe from trimline set as the conductor colors were for line cord (green, red, yellow, black) not for handset cord (red, black, white, white). However, it fits well. Also the button strip with buttons, escutcheon and the finger wheel have been replaced. Though I used not a generic replica finger wheel for it, but one of my 2 NOS Western Electric finger wheels dated 2-69. So it matches the set. I will try to see if I still have the picture of patient before the "second birth" procedure - I find, will post it here for comparison of what a difference a good resoration can give on discolored plastic.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Last edited by RedBul; 11/17/19 08:00 PM.
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Wow look at that! Nice work smile


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That’s how it looked before. Just found the pic:

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

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