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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 2:45 pm   #1
ekcopyephilips
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Default Interesting old phone

Hi all

HWMBO wanted to go to a local Christmas market in Bungay today. The weather here in the Waveney valley is awful today. Cold and rainy. Christmas market was as ‘meh’ as these thins always are. Fed up with the rain we went into a local Junk emporium which was heaving with everyone else trying to get out of the rain.

I spotted the phone below and had to have it. It looks in good condition. Can anyone tell me anything about it?

Cheers

Mike
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 3:14 pm   #2
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

It appears to be a Bellset 39 with presumably a Telephone 248, but I've not seen one with a RECALL button before. Is there any chance of a more readable image of the paster diagram, and does it include such a button?
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 3:30 pm   #3
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

Having looked at diagram N539 for Bellset 39, it appears to be the same as the paster as far as I can see (without a RECALL button). In Bellset 39C (for shared service), the CALL EXCHANGE button looks as though it replaces the button to call extension 2, rather than being a third button. I wonder whether the extra button is a non-GPO modification.

edit: I should add that I've never seen a Bellset 39C.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 3:37 pm   #4
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

Part of Plan 105?

https://www.britishtelephones.com/ei/ti/b4%20c0008.pdf
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 4:50 pm   #5
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

In the 70s we were on a party line with my Grandma, She had one of these phones with a 4 position switch + draw but no extra switches. This was used with a hand cranked generator, to call our house. In a dark cupboard under the stairs we found a wooden case with some Flag Cells in it and on the wall was a Bakelite box, IIRC it was a bell box but not too sure. Not too sure about the Flag Cells, they may have been left over from a previous phone set, I can not remember them ever been changed. In our house we had a 746 phone and hand cranked generator to ring Gran so she could switch us over so we could have an outside line. When she went out she would have to "switch the phone over"

John.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 5:20 pm   #6
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

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Originally Posted by Station X View Post
Prototype maybe? Bungay isn't that far from the old PO/BT research centre at Martlesham.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adastral_Park

It does look as if it dates from the Dollis Hill era though.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 6:16 pm   #7
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

Hi all

I couldn’t resist. The toolbox came out and I had a look inside, the bell set has indeed been modified with the recall button being added at some point. Two wires coming in from the wall cable had been disconnected and taped up with black glass tape. The two wires from the recall button connect to T3 and T10 on the terminal board. From the date codes this was made late 1956.

Cheers Mike
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 6:18 pm   #8
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

I love the indicator flag. Other pic is the standard phone unit on top.

Cheers.

Mike
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 6:19 pm   #9
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Station X View Post
Prototype maybe? Bungay isn't that far from the old PO/BT research centre at Martlesham.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adastral_Park

It does look as if it dates from the Dollis Hill era though.
Bungay was in Norwich Telephone Area where I worked. I remember seeing several telephones like this in 1967/68. They were replaced with Plan 105 which used 700 type telephones.

Adastral Park where I also worked post dated the Bakelite telephone era.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 6:30 pm   #10
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

Fascinating that the dial insert is marked "STC Private Communications Division" rather than anything mentioning the GPO or any landline-number.

That would suggest to me that it was used on some kind of PABX rather than directly connected to POTS landline service.

Perhaps an 'escape' from STC Labs in Harlow? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standa...n_Laboratories https://stlqcc.org.uk/60-years-in-harlow/
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 6:54 pm   #11
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

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That was my first thoughts, but before my time. Very similar to 105, but unless part of a PMBX system, can't see a need for the recall button.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 10:31 pm   #12
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

Of course (he said smugly) I knew all about how to operate a Bellset 39 at the age of 7, as there was one in my boarding school office where we were allowed to phone home (reversing the charges).
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Old 4th Dec 2023, 1:57 pm   #13
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

Hi,

I think this is a Plan 7 Phone.

We had one at Metro-Cammell, which was still working in
1985 when I left.

Kind regards
Dave
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Old 5th Dec 2023, 11:57 am   #14
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

I wonder why this was done. Why would you need a main phone/extension set up on a PABX. Why not just connect the extension directly to the private exchange? Maybe to exert more control over the extension??

Edit

I worked in a training centre which had a separate examination room. It had a phone in it which was only ever used for emergency outgoing calls as the invigilator was not allowed to leave the room. The bell on this was disconnected to stop incoming calls. Maybe some set up like that
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Old 5th Dec 2023, 2:16 pm   #15
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulR View Post
I wonder why this was done. Why would you need a main phone/extension set up on a PABX. Why not just connect the extension directly to the private exchange? Maybe to exert more control over the extension??
Looks like a vintage secretary/boss setup where, as ever, the Secretary is the person really in charge and responsible for keeping the boss undisturbed whilst also dialling calls that he doesn’t know how to dial himself (and yes, it would have been HIMself).

Martin
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Old 5th Dec 2023, 4:38 pm   #16
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

Certainly, when I worked for Istel we had this sort of arrangement (albeit using Ambassador units rather than Plan 5/7, or even the later 105/107) for managers with secretaries who managed 'phone calls on their behalves. This gave a closer coupling than simply being on separate extensions of the PABX which covered the whole office building.
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Old 7th Dec 2023, 9:48 am   #17
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

It looks like a classic Manager/Secretary set-up to me, where the secretary could filter calls to two managers - calling each by pressing one or other of the two chrome buttons.

It would work fine as a system if direclty connected to an exchange line, or to a PMBX (i.e. manually operated), as the secretary could have depressed the switchook to recall the operator.

However, many of the early PABXs (i.e. automatic) employed 'earth recall', which would have been impossible to reproduce by flashing the switchbook - so a properly wired button would be needed.

If there were only one manager connected, the other chrome button could be wired as recall (and properly engraved labels were available for such an eventuality).

I would guess that in this case they needed earth recall but all the 'official' buttons were already used, so a non-standard button needed to be fitted instead.

I would also guess that it might have been a financial decision... it would have saved swapping out the whole system for a more modern Plan 105 in plastic, where such buttons would have been easy to fit, if not a little more expensive.

John
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Old 11th Dec 2023, 10:54 am   #18
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Smile Re: Interesting old phone

Hi,
I bet your beloved was delighted!
I know mine would be.
Cheers, Pete.
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Old 19th Dec 2023, 8:54 am   #19
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave757 View Post
Hi,

I think this is a Plan 7 Phone.

We had one at Metro-Cammell, which was still working in
1985 when I left.

Kind regards
Dave
I agree because it has two extensions. The single extension version being a plan 5 (later upgraded to plan 105/107 using 700 type phones with a planset N625.
I've maintained GPO version of these phones which were built like brick toilets and only ever had two common problems IME. Handset cords wearing out and noisy/dirty switchooks which could easily be cleaned as they were like relay contacts.
As a GPO engineer, I looked after Birmingham University in the late 80's and they had sorts of things hanging off extensions of the main PABX 4, including House Exchange Systems and Key & Lamp set-ups. The most problematic being an HES 4 where recall was achieved by an "overpress" of the line button but heavy-handed users would answer an incoming call by pressing the appropriate line button all the way down and immediately going into recall.
Not the best solution and one I spent a long time explaining to new users!
The also had an STC PAX onsite and this phone looks like it was connected to such a system.
Thanks for the nostalgia trip
Regards
Another Dave
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Old 24th Dec 2023, 6:26 pm   #20
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Default Re: Interesting old phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Test Desk View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave757 View Post
Hi,

I think this is a Plan 7 Phone.

We had one at Metro-Cammell, which was still working in
1985 when I left.

Kind regards
Dave
I agree because it has two extensions. The single extension version being a plan 5 (later upgraded to plan 105/107 using 700 type phones with a planset N625.
I've maintained GPO version of these phones which were built like brick toilets and only ever had two common problems IME. Handset cords wearing out and noisy/dirty switchooks which could easily be cleaned as they were like relay contacts.
As a GPO engineer, I looked after Birmingham University in the late 80's and they had sorts of things hanging off extensions of the main PABX 4, including House Exchange Systems and Key & Lamp set-ups. The most problematic being an HES 4 where recall was achieved by an "overpress" of the line button but heavy-handed users would answer an incoming call by pressing the appropriate line button all the way down and immediately going into recall.
Not the best solution and one I spent a long time explaining to new users!
The also had an STC PAX onsite and this phone looks like it was connected to such a system.
Thanks for the nostalgia trip
Regards
Another Dave
I fear someone's little grey cells are having a problem

A Plan 7/7A had a single internal/external extension whilst a Plan 5/5A had two internal only extensions.

See the relevant explanatory N diagrams for the Plan 5/5A and Plan7/7A

Hope that corrects things?
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