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!

September 11th Tribute – “The Twins”

On this 15th anniversary of the most horrific and atrocious day in American history, your humble Curator would like to dedicate this day with the AT&T’s mini documentary of the construction of the World Trade Center around 1976 and the installation of switching systems. This video has been embedded in past posts around 9/11, but as a duty to remember, I am posting this again.

I hope you enjoy your day, remembering the day with some grief with happiness of being alive and (if you’re old enough)¬†reminiscing¬†of enjoying life before our world became vigilant of terror.

Here is the video:

POTD: Western Electric Crank Telephone | Cannon Mountain Tram Station | Franconia, NH


This is another crank telephone I spotted at Cannon Mountain. There is at least three of these and after Monday, I might had spotted and have at least a capture of them all from my visits over the last couple of years.

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As you can tell in this second picture, there is a Shure like gooseneck mic, I wonder if phone is really a wiring box for intercom as my state government is known to be very frugal.


The Makings of a Telephone Museum, part two

This video has a faster time lapse and I have been able to get all 500/2500 (except for the ITT and other WE black set) to ring through a trick I learned through Jason with a coverage-answer-point, hunt group and coverage-group function on the Definity console. I’ll post that at a later time. But please enjoy this hard work that took nearly a near from idea to completion!

9/11 Remembrance/AT&T Archives Throwback

Every year the Museum will remember 9/11 until I die or the site dies, whatever comes first.

It’s something we cannot forget, because sadly people are forgetting and our children have no idea, and some people as young as 25 year olds are confused to see a New York once up in smoke and can’t understand how people fell out of the Twin Towers to escape the hell or go into hell, depending on how you look at it.

The Twin Towers had cheated disasters¬†before. The bombings in February of 1993 impacted a lot more people, because each tower could hold up to 50,000 people of workers, visitors, travelers, etc. On the morning of 9/11, Lower Manhattan was considered very lucky compared to 1993, given it was a late summer day, a Yankees game went into extra innings due to a rain delay and people deciding to show up at work at 9:00 instead of 7 or 6 in the morning made the death count much lower than what could’ve been.

(In the 1993 bombings, the bombers tried to hit one of the 4 corners of the towers, and supposedly if they had hit one of the corners of the towers, it could loose it’s integrity immediately. Lower Manhattan was lucky too, as the bombers missed their target.)

Regardless between the three coordinated attacks, over 3,000 people died. AT&T, which was mostly an LD, data transport and cable TV services did not loose any of their workers, while other engineers did loose life.

According to AT&T, the switching system used in 2001, mostly of 5ESS or possibly DMS switching systems remained in tact. In fact because the switching systems were in a vault, the services (at least wired connections) could’ve worked if it wasn’t the wiring getting severed by the atrocious damage of the towers.

In the early 1970s, AT&T produced a video of the construction of the World Trade Center, and installation of switching equipment at the time (albeit an earlier generation of an ESS) and the days that followed with a typical business day in the Twin Towers. This film was released in 1976

Telephone Network


This is basically the central processing unit to an old fashioned telephone. The “network” varies model to model, especially by generation. ¬†The first picture, ¬†made by Western Electric in the 1950s to late 70s, the network weighed a brick and they were sealed shut. Later models among all 500 and 2500 sets not just Western Electric moved to a PCB like unit. The phones themselves became more lighter because the move from a brick to a board. Modern analog phones have moved to chip based, so the units are much more lighter weight and use just a couple of chips. In short, this just another visual example of a critical component of a vintage telephone.

Western Electric Wiring Spool

This is one of my biggest collections of telephony related parts.

I acquired this wiring spool in 2008 at the Londonderry (NH) Gardens, the area flea market. I think I offered about $10 (probably $20 in 2015 dollars – it’s crazy I know…) The lady was trying to rid of if for years and the bottom part is finished. (Not worth scuffing the top to show something that isn’t relevant.)

Some photo updates of my classic sets in June 2015 sat on top of this spool. I cropped them out because I wanted to surprise my followers of this possession of mine.

I’ve tried to take good care of this. When I moved in 2010 (actually it didn’t arrive till 2012, it stayed at the other residence for a while after) some stuff sat on top of it. However it’s gotten more banged up, especially on the bottom.

I was going to Photoshop it, but that would be dishonest of me and I’ve tried to look for a set of photos I took around the time I got it to no avail (however it was on my Flickr account then I lost DVD backups and then because Flickr changed for the worst, I left without being able to download the pictures I once posted – didn’t even know that was an option.)

If someone truly knows how to restore these things without destroying it, please let me know by Dialing Zero. Don’t fib and say “well I [hehe] can restore these things [hehe]” I won’t tolerate that behavior.

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