Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I have dialtone and DC on the hotel phone! Not only that, it rings, too, with a nice, distinctive note.

UPDATE: Wired the dial Thursday night. It works but has a little "dial tapping," meaning the bell jangles when the dial is in motion. I suspect this can be solved. It's a telephone!

Started out tonight (Wednesday) polishing the Bakelite front part of transmitter with Flitz (they didn't pay me, I'm just a happy customer) and proceeded to reassemble the entire transmitter: the "cup" or back is held to a nifty pivoting section by two screws through a washer, the "bulldog" style element is held to the cup by four tiny screws around its circumference; that subassembly is fastened to a socket on the front of the telephone with a hollow bolt, flat spring, bendy lockwasher and nut and at each step, you've got to thread the two wires from the element though the next part. It takes about as long to do as to describe and I had time left. H'mm, it's almost a (non-dial) telephone at this point. All it needs is the receiver.
(Note the fine old genuine Spintite nutdriver at the right. They don't make them like that any more, though a nice Klein set comes close*). The inside-the-phone part of the transmitter is at the left side of the upper section. The large silvery thing is the flat spring.

I wired up the receiver (tinsel cord, soft as a shoelace, very nice), connected Tip and Ring of the phone line cord to L1 and L2 terminals in the phone, plugged it in and there was dialtone, loud as life. Clicked the switchook (same as dialing "1") and I was left with DC talk voltage. Reached over to close the phone and it was obvious the transmitter worked, too. Wow! What's next?Talking to yourself, of course. I called my landline number from my celphone and the bell rang! The delay in a modern digital cell connection meant I could get a pretty good idea how the hotel phone sounds, too. It sounds just fine.

Next step is installing and connecting the dial. I have it in place now but I need to get the card in the center properly aligned. The dial is the tricky bit -- I can likely get it to dial but making it properly silence the receiver when it's off the rest position could be interesting.

So, for everyone who was wondering: yes. It definitely is a working telephone.
* My Spintites are the best from a couple of sets. They used thinner steel than modern ones, which is nice for tight spots but wears out more quickly. Can't buy that kind new so you've got to find them used and evaluate them ruthlessly. This is an absolute affection; Xcelite, Vaco, Craftsman and Klein all make excellent nutdrivers and if the end result is what counts, you should buy a set by one of them. Worn drivers are nothing but trouble.


  1. I'm curious about what method Kellog used to provide strain relief for the line cord. Is there a crimp on clip like on WE sets or do they rely on a knot to keep the cord from being snatched off if you were to drop the receiver?

    Do you already have a dial card?

  2. I have a few Spintite nutdrivers that were part of my mother's toolkit when she was a QC Inspector for General Dynamics (she did QC for F-111 Fighter/Bomber radios) and I love them...for multiple reasons.

  3. Good job! I will post a few of mine as soon as I get a working digital camera. Anyhow - Xcelite uses a shade better steel than most, and with some care you can thin the business end and get the equivalent of the old Bristol SpinTites I grew up with. Now, IF I could just find a Brstol steel bait casting rod, and maybe a working Thor .019 engine... anyhow - good job!


  4. Is the ringer worthy of an MP3 for us to hear?

  5. Ed, as soon as I figure out how, I'll record something. I'm pretty sure my Eee can do it.

    B.S.P.: I don;t know. The receiver is a replacement; they didn't survive well. There's no sign of a strain relief -- it may have been a crimped-on metal collar with a lug that went under one of the terminal screws, or possibly just some lacing twine or a "tail" of the cable jacket that was tied off to the wiring harness. Internally, they used little bent-wire clips held by the hinge screws to anchor the wiring, and there's a figure-8 under one of the screws holding the network to the back where the woven jacket of the line cord would be tied off.

    In re nutdrivers, for new ones, I prefer Kleins: fit and finish is good-to-excellent and the steel holds up. The hollow shafts are hollow all the way through the handle! (But there's one size they don't make -- 11/32"?) Xcelites are good and they last forever, but the stench of the plastic they use for the handles is too much for me. My second choice is Craftsman. The hollow part isn't very deep but they're rugged and you can still walk into Sears and swap broken ones for brand-new.

    Still, the old Spintites have many advantages -- wooden handles, sockets that are only a little deeper than a standard nut is tall, and smaller OD. Alas, it's 50/50 any given example won't be too worn, rusted or loose to use.

  6. ...And I do have a dial card. Haven't been able to remove it but I did get it squared up.

  7. My wife says to reverse tip and ring (reverse wires on jack), to get rid of bell jangle. Ed Jones

  8. I have four nutdrivers that I bought one at a time as I needed them. I think there are three different brands. 11/32" is crucial for working on cars. Whenever the walls are too thick to get into someplace tight, I use quarter inch square drive sockets. Not as handy, but they have thinner walls.