Sandy and I enjoy collecting antiques that have some meaning for us as we grew up. Neither of us is old enough to remember using a phone of this vintage, but we do remember friends and relatives that used this type of phone. This particular phone was stored on the basement floor at my Dad's house for nearly 40 years, or so I am guessing.
I remember this phone showing up around the time we were old enough to start messing with anything that wasn't tied down. My brothers and I were thrilled with the magneto that produced enough voltage to give each other a tingle while holding onto the leads. Dad donated it me when I asked about fixing it up.
The back plate was cracked in two places and a third joint was separating. There were a number of parts inside the box including two mouth pieces (also called transmitters) along with a knot of wire and the hand set (also known as the receiver). The light colored tag you see on the shelf of the phone in the picture above is a heavy paper tag that indicates the phone was refurbished by E.L. Klingel of St. Paul, Minnesota, 06/12/35.
An inventory of the "parts" revealed that I had two mouth pieces, one receiver, and a magneto. Unfortunately there wasn't a bracket to hold the mouthpiece nor were there any bells or the ringer assembly needed to hold the bells. In the same "pile of stuff" was a smaller oak wall phone that had parts labeled with a different manufacturer. This phone had a magneto, ringer, and bells, but did not have a receiver or it's hook. I matched one of the mouth pieces in the other phone to it by the manufacturers name, but it was still incomplete
I was tempted to construct a bracket for the mouth piece on the large phone and rob the bells and ringer from the smaller one. This would give me one complete phone, although cobbled. I decided to try to find a source for parts to make both phones complete.
Like all of us, I went right to the Internet and was very pleased to find many listings on the topic. In particular I found a listing for a company called Phoneco Inc.. At the time I found them they did not have a Web Site, but did have an e-mail address.
They sent me a catalog and through this very useful document identified the brand of the large wall phone as a Kellogg. The Kellogg has a unique cloverleaf shaped mouth piece bracket and I could see the imprint of this missing piece on the old phone. I was able to order all the missing parts and after refinishing the wood assembled the phone seen in these pictures. I made no attempt to make the phone ring nor did I try to convert it for use on today's phone lines. It is merely a nice decoration in the bar.
My next project will be a Candle Stick phone which lies in many pieces in the bottom of a box Dad dug out or the basement. It promises to be a challenge. I will also restore the Western Electric phone which is the smaller oak phone, when time allows.
If you are interested in this hobby you can find more information by searching for "antique phone" or follow the link below.
Phoneco - Antique Phones, parts, and literature.