TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Classic Six-Button Keysets - Cost During 1970s?

Re: Classic Six-Button Keysets - Cost During 1970s?

Carl Navarro (
Sun, 14 Aug 2005 23:56:04 GMT

On 13 Aug 2005 18:30:30 -0700, wrote:

> Back in the 1970s, a standard fixture in almost every business (and
> even in some wealthy homes) was a key telephone. This has six buttons
> along the time so that the phone could handle more than one outside
> line, intercom lines, and HOLD function. I was wondering what basic
> key systems cost in the 1970-1975 time frame.

Since the stuff was regulated in that time frame it might be hard to
tell. You rented it and paid whatever the phone company wanted you

In 1985, I paid:

6-button set 65.79
10-button set 93.29
20-button set 195.53

Line cards were about $20.00 without MOH option and KSU's about $340
for a 512 (12 or 13 slots in an empty huge cabinet), and the intercoms
started at $100 for a 9 or 10 station Valcom with $1.40 for low
voltage and $4.00 for high voltage buzzers. We used ITT 601 KSU's,
one of which is still in my warehouse. It runs to mind that it was
about a couple of hundred.

Now, to give you a comparison, the new-fangled Comdial Executech
system was about $720 for a 616 KSU (IIRC they were 2 for 1 in a
promo), and the phones were about $150-190 each.

> From what I saw, the pricing was a la carte--every little feature was
> a charge. One large organization did not bother with line lamps to
> save money. The "wink-hold" feature, where the line lamp blinked
> slowly when the line was on-hold, was optional. I never saw a system
> without a HOLD button, but apparently even that was optional. (I
> believe later systems, such as ComKey had package prices).

> Anyway, would anyone know what typical pricing was in the 1970-1975
> time frame, for the following:

>- "Hunting" feature so busy calls would go to the next line.

Still in the $2-4 range per line.

> - Two lines, two keysets, line lamps that would blink on ring, but not
> wink-hold.

> - Wink-hold feature.

> - Basic manual intercom (push-button to sound buzzer). Sometimes there
> was a SIG button on the phone, sometimes there was a tiny panel with
> pushbuttons mounted next to the phone.

In the '80's, the unit was about $25 for a 401 common battery card.
You hand modified(took out the screw) the last button and added

> - Dial intercom, one common channel, one digit automatically sounded
> desired buzzer.

> - Other features of the six button keyset?

Whatever you wanted, you added them ... if they would fit in the set.
We even put Demon dialers on later 1A2 sets.

> - If a residence had a key system was the cost cheaper than a business?

Probably not, just the lines were less.

Carl Navarro

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