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Old 14th May 2019, 3:43 pm   #1
Dave Moll
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Default "Butt" 'phone

At the NVCF on Sunday I acquired the "butt" 'phone pictured below - which I have had a bit of fun getting working. The main reason for posting is that I don't recognise the model and there doesn't seem to be anything resembling it on Bob Freshwater's site. Does it have a separate model number or is it just a variation on the 280?

Returning to the "fun", I started by noting that the dial was either sticking or returning very unevenly. It turned out that the original dial had been snipped out leaving loose ends flapping about inside, and they were fouling the dial contacts of the disconnected dial. Once removed from its enclosure the dial was working OK.

Next stage was working out how to dismantle the case of the 'phone, which was clearly in two parts. In the end it transpired that the two screws in the metal bar below the dial and two nuts either side of the transmitter inset were holding it together between them. Once they were removed, the back lifted off so that I could now get at the innards, including the wires to extend them for re-attachment to the dial.

Before doing this, I decided to test the rest of the function (having found replacements for the two missing screws to the receiver), and was a little puzzled to discover that it was making a loop (evidenced by a faint dial tone being audible) without the press button being pressed. Doing so merely made the sound louder by making a "proper" loop. This problem was caused by the capacitor in series with the receiver leaking like a sieve. Replacing this restored normal operation, so I could return my attention to the dial.

The orange dial wire simply went back to the press switch, so I decided to replace this, but with the pink and brown wires it was easier just to solder on extra lengths of wire. Having re-assembled the 'phone, I then reconnected the dial to the extended wires to achieve a working unit.
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Old 14th May 2019, 8:21 pm   #2
ChrisC18Mar
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

The handset and microphone cover look very like a Tele F (etc) handset - could it be military? The dial looks a bit out of place - could it have replaced an earlier No.10 dial?
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Old 14th May 2019, 8:46 pm   #3
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Doesn't look like British post office. The familiar rubber one was supposedly the first one with a dial, and it's smaller than the domestic version, so that dial wouldn't have fitted. Intrinsically safe, perhaps (once!)
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Old 14th May 2019, 9:13 pm   #4
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC18Mar View Post
The handset and microphone cover look very like a Tele F (etc) handset - could it be military?
The mouthpiece cover is certainly of the field telephone variety, but I have no guarantee that it's original. The rest of the handset has a superficial resemblance to that of said field telephones, but there are significant differences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC18Mar View Post
The dial looks a bit out of place - could it have replaced an earlier No.10 dial?
As I implied in the OP, the dial is almost certainly something that has just been stuffed in the hole after the original had been removed - rather crudely by snipping its wires.

I think I have a more appropriate dial that I can substitute.
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Old 15th May 2019, 8:02 am   #5
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Hello Dave.
The Butt you are discussing is more than likely from Australia.
I have about a half dozen of them here put away in boxes.
I can not remember much about them but if you want me to I can dig for a while and find some of them and the info.
I do have a circuit or two if needed. Again buried like so much of my stuff.
The dial on yours is not original.
The mouthpiece could be original as there was a change to these to give a more rugged one.
I can not remember the markings on my ones. I think they were made by the Australian Post Office (APO marking) and some might have been made by STC (Standard Telephones & Cables)
Contact with the Australian Telephone Collector's Society could well produce a lot more information.
If you need more info I can help given time to dig stuff out.
Cheers, Robert.
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Old 15th May 2019, 9:26 am   #6
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Are you sure it's looping when switched off?
It's normal, and useful on a butt to be able to monitor speech, ringing current etc via a capacitor without the butt looping the line.
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Old 15th May 2019, 10:59 am   #7
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo1152 View Post
Are you sure it's looping when switched off?
As I said, this was cured by replacing the leaking capacitor. It is now behaving as it sould - monitoring the line but not making a loop (i.e. dial tone only present with button pressed).
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Old 15th May 2019, 11:03 am   #8
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

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Originally Posted by QQVO6/40 View Post
The Butt you are discussing is more than likely from Australia.
...
I do have a circuit or two if needed. Again buried like so much of my stuff.
Thanks for the identification as Australian.

Yes, a wiring diagram would be useful if not too difficult to unearth, but not worth going to a lot of effort, as I now have the 'phone working.
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Old 15th May 2019, 8:43 pm   #9
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

It now sports a more appropriate dial:
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Old 17th May 2019, 2:57 pm   #10
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Hello all.
I have not forgotten you Dave. I had a look in my shed today to find one of the books I have that I think will have a circuit of your recent butt.
I finally got to the books but the one I was looking for was not there. (Expletive deleted.)
I could give you info on cable laying, building ducts under roads and tool safety as well as a lot of info on aerial lines but no "substation equipment handbook".
I will look further tomorrow if I can put away the stuff I dug out today.
You are a terrible man Dave.
Just joking.
I have not touched this stuff for probably 20 years and I thought I was over this addiction.
I guess not.
It's your fault I am going to take a 400klm round trip on Monday to an auction to hopefully get a couple of butts.
I mentioned our conversation to a friend and he informed me of the auction in Tamworth so I am going to see what I can get.
All good.
Cheers, Robert.
Forgot to mention that the new dial looks good.
Not sure if you have worked it out yet but if you press the red button in and turn it slightly to the right it will stay depressed. Slight turn to the left and it returns to normal.

Last edited by QQVO6/40; 17th May 2019 at 3:03 pm. Reason: Additional info.
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Old 17th May 2019, 3:28 pm   #11
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by QQVO6/40 View Post
Not sure if you have worked it out yet but if you press the red button in and turn it slightly to the right it will stay depressed. Slight turn to the left and it returns to normal.
Yes, I was aware of this feature. In fact it was obvious from the internal shaping of the button while I had the lid off.
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Old 17th May 2019, 5:38 pm   #12
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

As a person with limitations in my English vocabulary, I just use google, searching for butt, and choose pictures.

when you clip the butt-set in your belt and climbs the pole/ladder, the most convenient place to hang it will be touching the butt (in in the pictures) so I was convinced about this was the meaning of a butt-set.

Now I have learned more, but the term buttinsky are still confusing!

dsk
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Old 17th May 2019, 5:46 pm   #13
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Moll View Post
It now sports a more appropriate dial:
On eBay at the moment - a Linemans telephone
Looks a bit familiar? Dial No 12 ?
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Old 17th May 2019, 5:47 pm   #14
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

I have a black rubber BUTT, issued to me back in 1972. free if anyone wants to come and collect from frinton on sea. also got a few odd bits of telephone exchange parts.

I will not post. collection only
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Old 17th May 2019, 5:49 pm   #15
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

I've always known it as a Buttinski, spoken rather than written, and never gave a thought for the origin, if there was one. As I remember the old rubber ones plugged into the selectors back then, but the modern ones (AKA banana phones) plug into Krone blocks nowadays.
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Old 17th May 2019, 6:25 pm   #16
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by dagskarlsen View Post

Now I have learned more, but the term buttinsky are still confusing!

dsk
Words with a "Ski" appended may be a joke reference to the USSR and Soviet state sponsored snooping.
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Old 17th May 2019, 6:58 pm   #17
Dave Moll
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pellseinydd View Post
On eBay at the moment - a Linemans telephone
Looks a bit familiar? Dial No 12 ?
Certainly the same model, confirming the Australian identification. I note, however, that it has the cupped transmitter cover - though did it have the sloped one originally?
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Old 17th May 2019, 9:58 pm   #18
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo1152 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagskarlsen View Post

Now I have learned more, but the term buttinsky are still confusing!

dsk
Words with a "Ski" appended may be a joke reference to the USSR and Soviet state sponsored snooping.
Was referred to as a 'butt' / 'buttinski' in the GPO when I started with them sixty years ago.
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Old 18th May 2019, 12:58 pm   #19
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

A good story found on the internet! -

Buttinski

Originally a short, loudmouthed Polish man (first name unknown). Buttinski was famous for giving advice. As a matter of fact, it was rumored (rumoured?) that he was soon to be the royal family's advisor. However, Buttinski's advice soon went too far. In his first week on the job, he convinced Poland to join a war involving three other European countries. After Poland loss innumerable soldies in said war, Buttinski told the royals that they made a major mistake by joining the war. The queen blew up, demanding that Buttinski be punished. After all, it was Buttinski who recommended joining the war. The king, who was something of a whipping boy, listened to his queen, and ordered Buttinski executed.

After news of Buttinski's execution had spread throughout all of Europe, the nickname "Buttinski" was used to imply that somebody's constant butting in could lead to their downfall. In those days, it was used as a warning.

However, as the 17th century began, Buttinski became more of a sarcastic label. When somebody would enter conversations without permission, they began to get called "Buttinskis" (Buttinskies?). It was used basically to show the meddling person that they were uninvited to a certain conversation.

The meaning is virtually the same nowadays, but friendlier. It still shows the person that they butt in to conversations too often, but it doesn't mean that the person should leave.

Get out of here, Buttinski. You weren't invited into this talk. "

No mention of a telephone!! (to get back OT !)
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Old 26th May 2019, 5:36 am   #20
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Default Re: "Butt" 'phone

Hello all.
I have finally managed to get to the box of Butt phones in my workshop.
Doing a count I have 18 butt phones and a dozen or more bag sets elsewhere in my workshop. Lots of other phones in the shed as well.
It looks as if I have an addiction to these phones. Is there a “Telephones Anonymous” section on this Forum?
Dave, I have 3 of the same butts that you have. 2 of them have the microphone cover so typical of the military phones and the 3rd one is of the original production run. I was told many years ago that the microphone cover was changed to the military style as there was breakage problems with the original. I can accept this as it would be tough on them getting thrown into a tool box regularly. Having used both styles myself I found the original cup type was better to use where there was a noisy background such as when working on a street pillar on a noisy road. Can cup the hand around the mouthpiece as well but not always easy when cable jointing.
The orange one is a Western Electric made in the USA. It came to Australia with a Tech working for an American company installing a PBX (private branch exchange) on an industrial site.
The red ones and the Yellow one are all Australian. Made in the PMG (Post Master Generals department) workshops in Melbourne. There are 4 marks of the red ones. The yellow one is a special used within a 2000 type step by step exchange and the red one below it was used in a crossbar ARM exchange.
The butt on the top left is made of diecast metal from the 1940s. The next diecast one is a butt phone for use on a CB (common battery) exchange and that is why it does not have a dial. Techs did not like these 2 butt phones as if you had the polarity wrong you would get a 48 volt belt if your lips touched the metal microphone cover. For this reason the butt phones such as the one Dave has were readily accepted.
The 2 blue butt phones on the right hand side are “Chesilvale” brand butts. The top one is a model 340 and the lower one is a model 361. Unlike the other butts, these require an internal 9 volt battery.
The yellow one on the bottom right hand side is my last acquisition after a 400klm round trip to an auction. It also requires a 9 volt battery. It works now after a simple repair. It is full of electronics.
I have not looked at this stuff for probably 20 years and had to dig deep into my shed to find them. I am fearful that Dave has rekindled my addiction to this stuff as evidenced by my little drive last week.
No sweat Dave. Just joking.
Cheers all.
Robert.
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