The Telephone on P. E. I. - Wooden Wall Phones!
Member: Telephone Collector's International
|Western Electric 317B
Used in P.E.I. since appx. 1911. This particular phone is the long arm version (referring to the arm to the mouthpiece), and was powered by 3 No. 6 - 1.5 volt dry cells stored in the lower portion of its cabinet. A version was manufactured later with a short arm. The phone sports a slanted writing shelf at the bottom, and a three bar Western Electric magneto for ringing. A five bar magneto was an option. This phone is similar to the Western and Northern Electric 1317 model, except it doesn't have the selective central office ringing button on the side which was used calling the operator. This was included on the 1317 and later phones such as the N1517.
By the way, the handset is hung upside down in this photo - a museum visitor the day before had hung it up that way, and I didn't notice till after I posted the photo. I have been too lazy to retake the shot and process it to again remove the background.
To call, you would turn the crank to ring the bells along the line. When your phone rang, everyone on the line knew it! This beautiful old Western Electric 317B was found in a yard sale in Montague a number of years ago. When found, it was completely disassembled, and all its original parts thrown inside. It looked like a restoration attempt gone bad. I recognized it immediately, but the lady selling it had no idea what it was and thought perhaps it was an old radio. It had been stored for some years in an old barn, and the varnish was severely discoloured - a grey mess. It took little time to decide to buy it, and it was a pleasure to restore.
Note: Northern Electric (under license from Western Electric) also manufactured a version of this phone. Both appeared on the Island, as some of the independants bought from Western. The Western and Northern versions of this phone are virtually identical aside from the name on the parts. See a 1922 Advertisment for the Northern Electric version of the later short arm version of this phone!
Northern Electric N1517CG
This is a later Northern Electric N1517CG telephone. It is similar to the 317 and 1317, but instead of a separate transmitter and receiver, it has an F1 handset; also, a selective c.o. ringing button not present in the 317. It also has a five bar magneto, giving it more ringing power, and a condensor to insure ringing on line even if other receivers are accidentally left off hook.
This particular phone was manufactured by Northern Electric in January 1949 (as determined from internal dating), and these phones were used in country magneto exchanges throughout Canada. This phone was first listed, and documentation including internal wiring may be found in the Northern Electric T7 (1948) catalog, beginning pg. 82. These sets were no longer listed in the T8 (1955) catalogue, having been replaced by the smaller N717CG set shown below in 1952.
This telephone is a true beauty, and is in 100% operating condition when attached to other magneto phones or operated with my switchboard. The selective ringing button is located below the bottom of the handset on the left side, but doesn't show in the photo. This would be depressed when you rang the operator to suppress ringing on the line. When calling others on your line, this button was not used.
A MD-2127 modification kit was also made by Northern Electric to turn the earlier N1317 (similar to the US 317 above) into a similar telephone to the 1517. The kit consisted of a black plate to cover the holes left when the old transmitter was removed, a new handset hook, and an F1 handset to replace the transmitter and receiver. Converted phones may be recognized immediately by the black plate on the center of the door. There were many converted 1317's in use in Canada - this true N1517 is rarer as it was only manufactured for a few years.
This conversion was common and sanctioned by Northern Electric when they came out with the N1315, but there was a proper way, and a wrong way to do it. The Northern Electric T8 catalogue on page 71 covered the correct procedure and NE's MD-2127 conversion kit designed for the purpose. The old transmitter and transmitter bracket was to be removed from the front of the phone and replaced with a proper apparatus blank. The Receiver and cord were to be likewise removed. The switch-hook fulcrum pin was to be removed and a correct handset fork was to be installed.
|Northern Electric N515H Subset
I have recently picked up another "Uniphone" No. 5 like the one shown on the "Plastic, Bakelite Phones" page. This one came mated to the N515H subset shown here, slightly smaller than the N400CG subset shown with the above mentioned phone, and virtually identical to the N717CG phone shown below, minus, of course the handset and hook switch. It uses an identical magneto, inductor and ringer and exterior and internal layout.
This subset as well as the N400CG could also have been used with the Candlestick phone shown on the "Metal Desk, Wall Sets" page.
|Northern Electric N293GP
A similar sized unit to the N717CG shown below, only designed for central battery exchanges, using an older style front mounted mouthpiece with side mounted receiver, and with front mounted dial. This phone is now in my collection, acquired recently from a friend. An updated photo will be posted as restoration continues. It is an interesting style of phone, basically a subset, with a mouthpiece, earpiece, and dial added.
This phone was first used here in 1950 (and probably for several years before as preparations were being made for Summerside's new dial exchange) when Summerside first opened its dial exchange. They were issued again in Charlottetown which followed suit in 1953 with its first dial exchange.
|Northern Electric N717CG
An interesting phone used in the 50's on rural exchanges. This phone was used with local battery exchanges. The batteries were stored in an external case. This phone used a conventional handset.
In order to call the operator with the above phone, the button on the left was depressed and the crank was turned - this signalled the operator. When the operator answered, she asked the caller the number of the person you were calling. She would then connect you. From date markings on various components in this phone (Northern Electric N717CG), we can tell it was put into service shortly after 1952, a relative latecomer to the system.
These phones are now operational, and contain all original parts. The old tall dry cells they used (No. 6 - 1.5 volt), can no longer be purchased, but you still have a couple of options for powering these phones: A) use a dual D cell battery holder, wire it in series if not already wired that way - the disadvantage of this is short battery life; and B) Use a cell phone charger. Normal wall warts exhibit too much AC hum. Late model compact cell chargers exhibit little or no hum, and work great. You do need to find one in the voltage rage of 3 to 5 volts DC. I have found that two Motorola models do an excellent job, the SPN5185A (5 v), and the SPN4278D (4.4 v). This is by no means an advertisement for Motorola, but these are two I do find perform well. One charger per phone should be used. The original cord ends will have to be removed, and spade lugs should be soldered to the leads. These can be found on eBay for a reasonable cost
A source of the replacement alkaline version of the #6 dry cells has been found, the Everready EN-6. These may be ordered from BatteryCompany.com at http://www.batterycountry.com/ShopSite/specialty-cell.html. These are discontinued, and may not stay in stock for long. The same company has a Seagull brand carbon zinc version currently available from: http://www.batterycountry.com/ShopSite/product9982.html as of the end of March, 2008.