TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Touch Tone vs. Rotary, Desk v. Wall Sets?

Re: Touch Tone vs. Rotary, Desk v. Wall Sets?

T (
Sun, 27 May 2007 21:31:46 -0400

In article <>,

> I dunno, but these apparantly were decisions that Western Electric,
> Bell Labs, and/or AT&T Headquarters made some 40+ years ago, which,
> IMO, were a bit "silly". They wouldn't have had to design TWO
> different housings for a 500 or 500-like desk telephone, one for the
> rotary 500 set, and one for touchtone 2500/etc. desk telephones...
> Maybe there's someone retired from Western, Labs, or AT&T who knows
> the reason?

You forget the Trimline series. They were fairly slim and had the dial
in the handset. That was quite a departure for WE at the time,
particularly the 1016 net in the x220 series Trimlines.

I also love to chuckle when peole put up the inferior Trimlines as
collectibles on ebay. They're junk. The 2220C I have is late model
Trimline with the LED illumination of the dialpad but it's built modular
and like a rock.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The earliest Trimline phones were
rotary dials; the dial returned very rapidly and the finger stop
was sort of loose. The light inside them operated from an external
power supply. (The four wire cord used red/green for the phone line
and black/yellow for the power supply. (From the wall outlet for the
phone, two other wires were snaked out to the power transformer which
was mounted nearby.) On those, the light in the dial stayed on at all
times unless you flipped a tiny switch on the bottom to turn it on or
off. Then next, came the _10 button_ Trimline touchtone phones, with
no # or * on the bottom row, just the zero button. Then came the
phones with # and * added to the bottom row with the zero button.

Then, they started making Trimline phones which were illuminated from
central office power, and (obviously) these did not stay lighted all
the time. Not only did they not stay lighted all the time but would
blink rapidly if it was a rotary dial phone (blinking as the contacts
would break off connection with the central office during dialing).
These also did not use the little 'switchboard-like' light bulb
like the oldest Trimline phones but instead the illumination came from
a green LED mounted in the handset under the plastic push buttons.

With the 'Princess-style' phones, those could be equipped for two
lines as needed, with a twist button on the base. (And those things
were _horrible_ to take apart down to the last wire and put back
together again). But the 'Trimline-style' phones never came out with
more than one line, as far as I recall. But I did see one very weird
thing in Chicago once: a Trimline _pay phone_; or a half-assed one at
least. Trimline phone on a table in a hotel lobby; the traditional
payphone coin box mounted on the wall (with cord leading down to the
Trimline unit, a table with a chair for someone to sit there and make
a phone call.

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