Thread Number: 75793  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Spot the errors
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Post# 996235   6/5/2018 at 02:05 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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Kinda easy. You'd think the poster would have noticed and done a little research.


Post# 996614 , Reply# 1   6/9/2018 at 01:30 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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Nobody? I thought there were telephony enthusiasts here who would spot the biggy right away.

Post# 996626 , Reply# 2   6/9/2018 at 09:27 by Eronie (Flushing Michigan)        

I don't get it?

Post# 996628 , Reply# 3   6/9/2018 at 09:37 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

I'm no telephone expert, but let's start at the 10 second mark. Many markets used telephones made by Automatic Electric or other makers. AT&T was not the telephone company for most of the U.S., but they did have all of the long distance business. At the 20 second mark, we can see the telephone is clearly labeled "Kellogg", so it would appear that it is not actually a Western Electric 500.

With so much bologna in just the first 30 seconds of the video, I have no desire to watch the rest of this nonsense.

Post# 996662 , Reply# 4   6/9/2018 at 15:35 by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

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The rest is very accurate, presumably he didn't have a true WEco #500 and found the cheapest #500 set in good shape he could.


AT&T owned 22 operating companies that did local phone service throughout the US, they served at least 2/3-3/4 or all US telephone subscribers. Most major cities were served by Bell, the only major city not was LA which was served by General Telephone(GTE).  Automatic-Electric, Kellogg, Stromberg-Carlson, and ITT made #500 set phones were virtually identical to AT&T's Western Electric made phones, they licensed the design out, presumably. 


Old AT&T's structure was as follows, AT&T owned 22 local phone companies such as C&P Telephone, Pacific Bell, Illinois Bell, and New York Telephone, these companies were who you paid your local phone bill to and who owned the equipment and building that gave you dial tone. AT&T also owned AT&T Long Lines, the long distance provider which owned major tandem switching machines throughout the US such as 4A Toll Crossbar switches and #1 Crossbar Tandems, they also owned coaxial cables throughout the US and many microwave radio relay stations that operated on L-carrier and microwave carrier respectively. AT&T also owned their equipment supplier, Western Electric, that made everything from undersea cables to 4A Toll machines and your(not technically yours, it was leased) #500 set. AT&T then owned a research laboratory, Bell Labs, that invented many things we still rely on today and many elements of modern technology is based on such as the transistor, UNIX operating system, 4ESS toll office, 4x the capacity of the electro-mechanical 4As.

Post# 996665 , Reply# 5   6/9/2018 at 16:10 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

I caught the comment about AT&T being the phone co. for the entire US right away, too. We had GTE for many years, and they used AE equipment.

Kellogg was the forerunner to ITT (now Cortelco) telephone equipment. The phone pictured in the video may or may not actually be a Kellogg. It may just have the Kellogg dial plate, and the phone itself may be a WE, Stromberg-Carlson (later Comdial) or Northern Electric (Nortel), as most all of the parts are interchangeable. AT&T licensed the 500 and associated designs to the companies listed above.

Linked is an ITT catalog from 1972.


Post# 996682 , Reply# 6   6/9/2018 at 19:13 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        
You got it.

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Soon as I started watching it the first time I'm going,, well that's not even a Western Electric set.

Post# 996710 , Reply# 7   6/10/2018 at 01:59 by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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We could certainly pick his post apart just like he's done to the various dubbings, but it was still interesting.  A little OCD for me, though.  Odd that such a nit picker would make a generalization about AT&T being the only phone company in the U.S.  If not for the mom & pop operations, many areas wouldn't have had phone service at all back in the olden days.  GTE wouldn't have existed if not for all of the mom & pops that it bought out to expand its network.


The 500 may have been a Kellogg, but the impressive phone was the 1500.  Getting your hands on one of those is no small task.  Or was it photoshopped?  Honestly, I don't recall 1500 or 2500 WECo sets having black-on-cream keys.  It was always white on grey, wasn't it?  Additionally, he could have found a 2500 with an older type of network to demonstrate the similarities to the 500 under the case.  Indeed, plenty of 500 bases were used for the 2500, keeping true to WECo's form of recycling and redeploying components.


I commented on the video.  He's dead wrong about the Dick Van Dyke ringer being a 500.  That's a chime box set to ring normally.  I can recognize the sound of those oversized gongs anywhere.


As for the various local exchange carriers across the nation, only the west side of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and coastal communities to the south were served by GTE.  Downtown and the rest of greater L.A. was served by Ma Bell.  When I lived in Santa Monica in the late '70s, I hated my GTE-issued AE phone set and replaced it with a vintage Stomberg Carlson which had one of the most pleasant sounding ringers I've ever heard.  I wish I still had it.  Still, I prefer WECo products.  There's just something not right about having the fingerstop all the way down at the bottom of the dial. 

Post# 996718 , Reply# 8   6/10/2018 at 07:58 by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

Yeah...didn't watch, but Cincinnati was probably the largest city to not be legacy AT&T (Cincinnati Bell is independent and ATT was only a minority stockholder, Rochester, NY (Rochester Tel now Frontier); then it goes much smaller in the 40s (Las Vegas, Tampa, then way smaller (Lincoln, NE; Lexington, KY; etc.

Post# 996738 , Reply# 9   6/10/2018 at 11:41 by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

Yeah, there were a lot more small independent telephone companies in the U.S. than most people realize. The smaller outfits were the main market for Strowger / Automatic Electric step-by-step switching equipment. The regional Bells inherited a lot of these as they acquired independents over the years, and for the most part they continued to operate and upgrade them, not replacing them until the first wave of the 1AESS electronic switching systems in the early '80s.

Post# 996870 , Reply# 10   6/11/2018 at 18:12 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

When I was a kid, we had 2 phones - one in the entry hall near the kitchen, and the other in the basement. The one in the hall was originally an Automatic Electric Model 80, in a light Gray color. It was installed when we moved into the house in '57. The one in the basement was an AE Model 40 "Monophone", in Black. I remember it being rather heavy, and it was a very nice looking phone, much more so than the 80. I'm nearly certain it was in the house when we bought it - probably installed when the house was built in '52. In '57 the exchange was part of the Ohio Consolidated Telephone Co., which was soon bought out by the General Telephone Co. (later GTE). Anyway, OCT was using AE equipment for many years before being purchased by GTE. I suppose a lot of the exchanges that GTE bought were already using AE equipment, as did their existing territories, so at some point in time they purchased AE.

Sometime in the early 70's we got a Yellow AE Model 192 (Starlight) wall phone (rotary dial) in the basement. I wish I still had the Model 40, but the phone man took it away. Around '80, this phone was replaced by a GTE Styleline pushbutton wall model (also Yellow), at the time they they started offering tone dialing. This was kept for a few years until I bought a WE 2554 (Ivory) to replace it. Sometime in the late 70's, the Model 80 in the entry started acting up, so the phone man came and replaced it with a newer version in White. I sold this one at a yard sale several years ago for $3.00. I'm now using a used 2500 in Beige, that is a combination of WE and ITT parts, that I bought in the late 90's when the downtown Lazarus (old Shillito's) store closed and a contents sale was held. It works good, but I need to get a new handset cord for it.

GTE sold the local exchanges to Verizon several years ago, but they sold it to Frontier (formerly Rochester Tel. Co.) a while back. The service quality increased dramatically when Verizon took over from GTE, and is still good under Frontier.

Post# 996900 , Reply# 11   6/11/2018 at 20:30 by mikael3 (Atlanta)        

This guy’s business is recorded sound, but I agree, it’s really bad he messed up the other information.


One thing I learned, though, really clarified something for me.  I have always been annoyed by the low-pitched ring on TV phones of the ’70s, ’80s, and such, because it sounded flat—really flat, as in, a whole tone flat.  In watching this video, I realized that the “flat” pitches are coming from touch-tone phones, and the “correct” pitches are coming from the more familiar (to me) dial phones.  Who knew?

Post# 996917 , Reply# 12   6/11/2018 at 23:33 by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Verizon sold off their small service area locally to Frontier a couple of years ago, I think.  It resulted in many complaints due to failures in the internet access part of the operation.  A very sloppy transition. 


This little GTE/Verizon/Frontier pocket serves some of the more expensive neighborhoods in Silicon Valley.  When we moved out there in 1989 (to an affordable section nearby), GTE was still the provider and service sucked.  It improved significantly after GTE became Verizon.  We had landline service there for 18 years, and by the time we left, the Verizon switching equipment was superior to what SBC/AT&T was offering in much of their adjacent service area.


I remember long before divestiture, probably in the mid to late '70s, a friend of my aunt and uncle worked for AT&T.   Even back then, before I ever lived in GTE territory, I knew how inferior their service was and mentioned it to him.  He replied, "GTE is our best form of advertising."

Post# 997010 , Reply# 13   6/12/2018 at 20:02 by cadman (Cedar Falls, IA)        

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I'm pretty sure that 500 is a real-deal WE set with a Kellogg insert. Pre-55, judging by the black hook switch nubs. And based on the way it reflects light, looks like a G1 bakelite handset.

I didn't make it to the talk of Dick Van Dyke, but the ringing on that show was a dead-ringer (sorry) for an old-timey wind up alarm clock I had as a kid with the brass bells on top. Even the ring duration would vary episode to episode if the guy holding back the hammer with his thumb was a little slow to the punch.

Incidentally, I picked up a 1941 copy of 'The Bell Telephone System' recently and was reading it last weekend. There are some extremely impressive statistics on phones in use (both bell, and non-bell), where the spending has been going (back to 1925), Bell practices, codes of service, cost of calls over time. Regulation, production figures, radio-telephony, etc. etc.

For example, in 1925, it took roughly 7 minutes to setup a long-distance call. By 1940, only 1.5 minutes. And in 1925, 9% of Bell System phones were dial; by 1940, 60% were. And so on. Real interesting stuff.

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