The WE 2500 is the touch tone version of the WE 500. At least that is how it started out, as initially the only differences were the touch tone dial and the body shell. The WE 2500 has been in production for a long time, with many changes made during all this time. Please mind I do not use the past tense, as it is still manufactured today.
It was introduced in 1968, as a successor to the WE 1500. The WE 1500 was virtually the same, except that it had a 10 button dial, without the * and # buttons.
The model 2500 has been produced by not only Western Electric, but by many other producers. Many examples are still in use today and it is one of the most iconic US telephones since the candle sticks.
Not surprisingly it came in a huge number of variants, with different colours, buttons, lights, functions, et cetera.
Over time the electronics evolved, so that newer 2500s have very little in common with the early ones.
We do not see many of them here in Europe, so it took a while for one to appear on my desk. The first one was a green one, made in the early 70s. It was in good condition, with the same electronics as the WE 500. It was, however, not hardwired but a modular version. This means it has RJ connectors on the cords.
Of course I wanted a red one, and I was able to swap the green one with a friend for a newer red one. That one was made in 1994 and had a pcb. In any case I’m very happy to have this classic in my collection.