re: Restoring a 302-type telephone [Telecom]

Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2008 14:32:36 -0800

>From: "Al Gillis" >To: >Subject: Restoring a 302-type telephone [Telecom] > >I'm restoring an old Western Electric 302-type telephone for a woman who is >retiring from a former Bell System company. She's like it as a working >conversation piece. I've got a couple questions. > >What should I use to clean the bakelite case and restore some of the luster >Western Electric built into it several decades ago? AmorAll? 409? Or >some home-made mixture? > >I want to make a dial card (the paper thingus that goes behind the plastic >window in the middle of the dial) but don't know what fonts to use. I've >seen photos of such cards that are black with a white window where the >telephone number was typed. Above the window was the text "Wait" (in white >characters on a black background) and below the window was the text "For >Dial Tone" also white on black. The font used for the text was a sort of >script and the telephone number was typed in a fairly block-ish font. >Anyone have an idea how to replicate these fonts in a Windows font? > >And any other cool restoration ideas are welcome!

I probably should have responded to this post sooner. If anyone is interested in restoring classic telephone equipment, one of the best sources of information is the Telephone Collectors International has a web site at

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In addition, there is a lively moderated discussion forum and mailing list for the group at
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The Western Electric 302 is a true classic and came in many flavors. The folks on the TCI mailing list forum will be able to tell you all kinds of useful stuff ranging from how to clean your 302 to whether the handset cord should be rubber or cloth covered (depends upon when the phone was manufactured) to things about the internals of the phone and dial mechanism.

If you want to see where the 302 fits into the history of Bell System dial telephones, I have a web page at

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BTW, here's something to think about: Modern telephone switching is all digital -- but there are line cards used at your central office which simulate dial tone, ringing and busy tones, provide sufficient ring voltage to drive an electro-mechanical brass ringer, and to convert make-and-break dialing pulses to digital signalling. All this is done to make the modern network backwardly-compatible with virtually any dial telephone made over the past 90 years.

Regards, Will

***** Moderator's Note *****

I've worked in some offices that would still respond to _incoming_ ring voltage by connecting the line to an operator who would handle "manual service" calls.

Bill Horne Temporary Moderator

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Will Roberts
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