Brass and Marble Rotary Phone

kitariFebruary 15, 2010

Well, I went camping and brought this back! I was wondering if anyone could help me find out the general worth etc of it. It does work (well it rings) but it has a slight wiring issue that Im going to fix so that it can answer and possibly dial out. Ignore the cord in the pictures, Its supposed to be threaded through the base

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My telephone company still recognises the rotary pulse, and I have a house with working rotary phones. But my phones are not ancient. They were installed before touch tones were mainstream. There may be issues with older phones.

You may need to get an adaptor plug to interface with modern wall jacks. They may not work with VOIP systems, either. The problem may not be in the wiring, however. You have recievers and microphones and other devices in the set, any of which could have issues.

I have no idea of its worth. It's really neat if you can make it fully functional and it's compatible with your system.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:15AM
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When we tested it out we could hear a faint buzz, and when the other line was in use we could hear the worker, so would that be why it wont pick up?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 6:35AM
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Way cool ... I think it's a hotel lobby phone.

You might be able to hide the innards of a modern phone inside the dial box.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 6:10PM
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I can't really give you a simple answer. First of all, your descriptions of how the phone works now/doesn't work now aren't clear to me. Old phones are pretty straight-forward mechanisms and there are plenty of them around for parts if you need to have your unit repaired for modified to make it workable. However, there aren't a lot of people around who do that sort of thing other than collectors or hobbyists and most people who would be comfortable with working on a unit like that or know much about them are old geezers like me.

Was this sold as a working unit? Is your phone company POTS compatible (plain old telephone), is that new wiring on there and is it done correctly?, Most old phones have a four prong interface with your wall jacks. What kind of plug does yours have? That'll give you an answer if somebody has monkeyed with it or tried to modify it to a modern system and did they know what they were doing? LOL.

First thing to determine is if your phone company even has equipment compatible with rotary dial phones. Second thing to do it to try to identify the manufacturer of the phone unit. Somewhere on that phone should be a manufacturer name. It can be on the handset, and on typical old phones it is simply under the unit, but your unit isn't typical.

Then, given you are on a rotary compatible system, and you have it plugged in correctly to your jack, what the unit does and doesn't do. Does it ring when somebody calls your number? What do you mean by buzz? Can you hear a conversation on it at all? What is the worker you refer to on the other line? It's a process of elimination taken step by step to determine from the most obvious reasons it's not working right to the least. If you can hear conversations, even from another phone on your line for example your receiver is working. If you can, but the party can't hear you, you have problems with your transmitter. Or you may have the wrong wires hooked up somewhere along the line.

IOW it's not as simple as plugging it in and it works. I did all the wiring for our phones, and installed the jacks for our equipment when we redid our kitchen. It's not difficult if you know the basics about phones and know you have working units. If you don't, then you should find a nerd who does. LOL. I just don't want to talk down at you if you know all this, or over your head if you don't.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 10:53PM
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Since I got it at a fleamarket it was sold as is.

We plugged it in, dialed the shops number, it rang. picked it up, went hello hello, could not hear, a worker did not know we were testing it picked up her line of the phone where she went sitting, went "hello thanks for calling..." and we heard her over the phone(cordless) but not the tester who called on his cell phone.

The guy checked out the wires near the jack itself where it plugs into the wall, and said they were switched on the wrong side, something he has seen people do by accident which would cause us to not dial about and hear that "bzzzzz" like its busy on the line.

I am having a more phone savvy person than I am take a look at it, he has the tools to test the wires etc on the phone itself.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:22AM
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Good for you! I would also take the time to make this a functional unit. I bought my parents an old rotary phone, designed a lot like this, only it was a small tabletop phone, not built into a marble stand. I was hoping to use it, but they're usually not compatible with cable systems. So haven't bothered to modify the plug-in to a modern jack, and likely won't bother.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 11:30AM
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That's my kind of camping!


    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 2:03PM
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I never expected to see that when I opened the link! How wonderful. Never saw anything like that phone before.

I also have an antique rotary phone and have used it for 30yrs. There is some crackling on the line now and then, but I think it's in the cord; has to be jiggled just the right way to eliminate the noise.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 11:28PM
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That's way cool! For some reason I picture it in the lobby of a mid-Eastern hotel, maybe Cairo. Guess it's the brass. ;o)

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 7:20AM
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As an old geezer who used worked for the "Bell System" in the 70's, I can address the faint hearing and speaking issues. If you unscrew the mouth peace and ear piece covers, you will see the speaker and microphone (laymen's terms) pieces. Take them out, lay them on a hard flat surface and give them a good whack with a block of wood or slam them flat onto the hard surface. We were instructed to (out of the customer's sight) use a hammer and a block of wood but I won't suggest that here. What happens is the iron filings slowly become permanently magnetized and clump together, leaving few or no filings to transmit sound. A good shock knocks them loose and they should be good to go. Also, before you put them back in, use a ruby red eraser (or a red one on the back of a pencil) to clean the connection on the piece and also inside the handset. Whenever you have an issue where the phone answers but no dial tone is available or, you can't dial out, it usually means the tip and ring are reversed. You usually need only reverse the wire connections in the jack to correct that. There were rare cases where this wasn't the problem but in my experience, it worked 99% of the time.

Some other old phone guys reading here knew the parts as KSxxxx's

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 6:08PM
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