Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Western Electric 5302 is a fascinating thing. From left to right in the photo, you'll see the 302, 5302 and 500 series phones. The 302 was Western Electric's flagship phone for a couple decades, but as soon as people saw the rich, curved lines of the 500 phone, it became a smashing style hit, and everybody wanted one on their desk!

WE still had piles and piles of parts for the 302 sitting around in the warehouse though, so they simply built new cases that looked more like the 500, which could be used with 302 parts; hence, the 5302. Although it looks more like the 500, it has almost nothing in common with in internally (within the realm of phones, anyway).

The 500 went on to be easily the most popular telephone deisgn ever, and the 5302 nothing more than a minor footnote, but they are really a fascinating step in the evolution of the device.


Soulshop said...

How do you make these phone ring for theater. We are putting on a small production that needs a ringing phone

matthewjosephpayne said...

Hi Soulshop,

What you need is a phone line simulator. Telephones need a low current, high voltage oscillating signal to trigger their ringers.

If you're electronically inclined, there are a number of schematics for building phone line sims available for free on the internet. If not, they pop up on eBay from time to time. I may even have an extra or two I could rent or sell to you if you're interested.

I've also heard of a method that involves amplifying the output of an audio file with the necessary oscillations to the point that it will trigger the phone. I don't know much about it offhand, but you may be able to find something about it googling.

Good luck!

Soulshop said...

Thank you for your quick reply.

It has taken a lot of online research to get a responds from someone and I greatly appreciate it. What would be the cost of purchasing a unit? We are a church group with a small budget so we would have to take cost into consideration before deciding the best solution.

We don't have anyone really technical enough to make one from scratch and I am not even sure where we would find the part. I have also been looking at a bell ringer kind of set up with no luck finding the parts needed.

Thank You again for your help!!!