Western Electric 302


Western Electric 302
Western Electric 302

Designed by the famous Henri Dreyfuss, this model was introduced in 1936, after an extensive trial phase. It’s outward design was based on the Ericsson model 1931. It was produced until 1954 and remained in use long after that.

It is an American classic and many US collectors collect these. A lot of information on this phone can be found on the internet and there is a good article on Wikipedia about it, containing a lot of information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_302_telephone

Although the autonomous telephone was already a common occurrence in Europe for decades, this WE 302 was the first widely available integrated telephone (containing ringer, network, etc) in the USA. Older American telephones need a subset, containing a ringer and network to operate. Please mind that the subset is more than just a ringer unit and these older American telephones are not like the GPO 232 and PTT24, who just need a simple bell set.

Americans are different

The inside of US telephones is quite different from European telephones in two major aspects. First there is a component called a network. This is not just a bunch of coils, but basically all the telephone components except the ringer, hook switch, capacitor and dial.

Secondly, these telephones were made with changing components easily and quickly. Therefor all the wires have nice spades on the end. In European phones components are usually hardwired to a wiring loom that is nicely bound up.

Lend Lease telephone

My particular example of this telephone was not part of the Bell System, because the handset has the marking F1W on it instead of “Bell System”.

Dated 1944 I bought it in the Netherlands and it probably arrive here with the American army during the later stages of WW2 or just after that.

1 Comment

  1. This set was indeed a non-Bell System Western Electric 302 – not only because of the F1W handset but also because of the AE (Automatic Electric) Company dial. The US armed forces preferred the AE dial for some reason, as did a number of American independent telephone companies. The AE dial is easy to identify on sight because the finger stop is at the 5:00 o’clock position instead of the 3:00 o’clock position found on a Western Electric dial.

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