Switchboards – Western Electric

#phoneoftheday #westernelectric #operator #switchboard

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I don’t know my switchboards from heart, but this is a small console that looks like it can support up to 12 calls at one time. Taken at the NH Telephone Museum. I was there off hours and didn’t play with that one or that many. I was there last night for a discussion on 9-1-1 relevant to my state.  It’s rather interesting and disturbing at the same time. If you go to any PSAP elsewhere, you’d be jealous. It’s so underrated the Fletchs of the world don’t even talk about it!

I’ll have a full report next week and an ongoing awareness on Enhanced 9-1-1 next week!

Phones @ Work: Cisco 7900 Series Phone – Concord, NH Office Building


The times I spend in Concord, is to do business, or attend meetings, etc. I don’t tour my capital city. One day last month, my mother had to attend a meeting and I decided to go along with her. I walked on Main Street and realized how interesting the city was – despite living here for my entire live.

There are several “squares” (i.e. common spaces on private land) just off Main Street. Reminds me vaguely of Faunel Hall, especially if you see some of the store fronts on the alleyways.

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Phones @ Work – Local Walgreens


This was a recent photo of a Cisco 7961 taken at a local Walgreens. Once a Norstar shop, I’ve been told by someone familiar with the company had cutover to Cisco company wide. Apparently since the last time I visited (which could’ve been a couple years now) they are using them.

It appears to be a Cisco Unified Communications Manager tied to some corporate data center (notice the “system message” stating “Your current options”) and if an event it can’t get through  to the data center, then you get some different message such as a fallback warning on that same screen. The paging does loudspeakers, but I’m not so sure on the sets, because the larger CM does not support set paging. (I could do a post on the lack of features in UCM 10, but then I’d start a religious war and be framed as a Cisco hater, and stuff like that.)


Phones @ Work: Macy’s – Bedford, NH

I’ve lived in this area my entire life, and always put on my hyper local bucket list to visit this Macy’s.


This soon to be closed Macy’s just at the split between Interstate 293 and the Everett Turnpike and will be sold to a developer and will be torn down and redeveloped for a strip mall.

The store opened in about 1966 – nearly 50 years ago as Jordan Marsh. The company was sold to Macy’s in the late 1990s and acquired the May Department Store chain, of regional branded stores, like Filenes. While Macy’s went into a buying spree (as Federated Department) in the late 90s, they would keep the old look as well as bringing in the bright white and red color scheme to parts of their stores.

Despite the May acquisition a decade ago, Macy’s made its mark at the nearby Mall of New Hampshire, taking the spot of the old Filenes. However they never closed the Bedford store at all.

I did get some closing deals, a couple socks for under $20, with an all sales final deal. The store is closing, but it’s being liquidated…it’s interesting how they are closing it.

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Central Offices: FairPoint – Keene, NH

DSC_0318This low res and highly compressed JPEG is a Central Office located just north of Downtown Keene, NH. It is operated by the primary LEC, FairPoint.

If that locale rings any bells, this used to be a popular hotspot in early October for the Keene Pumpkin Festival. It also broken several Guinness Book of World Records for the most Jack-o-Lanterns lit up. Keene State College is about a mile away from this Central Office and sadly the punks from KSC destroyed the city and put the public in danger last October to the point the hack Keene City Council denied proposals for what would’ve been their 25th annual. It’s now moving about 100 miles northeast to a secluded rural grounds in the Lakes Region and not in a micro-urban locale like Keene.


Newspaper Article – Hampton Technical Services – 1988

It’s interesting when one saves a newspaper or magazine for one thing (or just kept it for another odd reason.) Then when you find and run into it many years later, you may read something you didn’t originally intend to keep it for.

I don’t know the reason why there were old newspapers lying around the basement of my grandmothers house, some were of family value (if a story impacted us), etc. This specific issue I don’t know what the occasion was, but I saw in the business section of The Union Leader (which is a newspaper totally a shadow of it’s former self) an press release of a local business selling something like phone systems and services.


“A new communication and security business, Hampton Technical Services Inc, has opened at  102 Mace Road, say the owners and operators Richard and Lynda Gibbons of Hampton. Hampton Technical Services Inc. will move, install, rearrange, reprogram and maintain office telephone equipment such as Merlin, Spirit, EDTS 2000, Comkey, Horizon, System 25, Fax Machines, Dimensions, Com Dial [an obvious typo], Intertel, Crest, 1A2 Key, N.E.C., and E.Z. One, they report.

They security division of Hampton Technical Services, Inc. will install and service closed-circuit televisions, burglar alarms and smoke and heat detectors for commercial and residential use.

Richard Gibbons served four years as a Navy interior communications electrician, followed by nearly 20 years as a service and sales representative for A. T. & T.

Lynda Gibbons worked for New England Telephone in operator service and also has experience in the hospitality industry and publishing business.” – The Union Leader – September 1988

I’ve wondered if this business still exists, but 1988 standards they would appear to be a Business Partner to Ma Bell.


NH Telephone Museum; Modern Electronic Telephones

Continuing from a recent trip to the New Hampshire Telephone Museum, these sets today feature telephones made after the mid 20th Century featuring proprietary and business sets.



to the left is an NEC telephone, likely used in their KSU offerings. To the right is a TIE telephone (used in Key environments.) My local school district actually used that version, the name of the system escapes me because I think its used in NEC’s current offerings. Nitsuko (late 80s/early 90s) bought TIE and NEC in turn bought their Japanese competitor.






This is a Nortel/Aastra (now Mitel) 9000 series analog telephone. This was branded Meridan telephone and a similar set is used in the office area. The signature Nortel rings can be heard in the museum when a call comes in.



This is a Siemens PBX switchboard. This isn’t the cord boards like in the earlier post. This was used for an electronic PBX. The details, I’m not sure, it looks like it came directly from Germany because of the handset style. Siemens was in the US market for a while for phones, but after buying ROLM from IBM, Siemens just slapped their name on newer phones and switches and sets – like these – were probably not marketed to the US after.





you Cisco fanboys would enjoy this, a Cisco 7962 is featured here. This is a Java based, gigabit Ethernet desk phone still widely used.


Here are some old fashioned phones, they might be clones. It is important to note that Western Electric did sell parts to competing companies and companies like Kellogg (not the cereal company), ITT and Stromberg Carlson made clones of the Western Electric sets. Some sets looked different, but could easily be mistaken as a AT&T set.


this is a multi line 1A2 Key telephone. On the back it features a 50 pair Amphenol connector. Each line was hardwired into this set. This set appears to not have a switch hook, so accessing a line would require hitting a button. (I wished I got my hands on this set when I was there, since this area allows the public to touch and feel it. I’m surprised I just looked and took a pic.)

this set is one of the clones. To the bottom left, shows a little switch. I believe this was to enable a headset (with a two prong connector in the back.) And yes, its the same connector similar to those corded switchboards.

More will be added as time goes on.