A truly revolution model designed by Henri Dreyfuss and the epitome of modernity in post war USA this model set the standard in North America for decades. It improved on many of the design features of the model 302, but had new electronics giving it a superior sound quality and making it suitable for rural (very long) telephone lines.
Also its outside design was very state-of-the-art, so much so that everybody wanted one and it inspired many similar looking models with all of Western Electrics North American competitors.
It was so much in demand that they had older WE 302s refurbished and fitted with a new body shell, similar to the WE 500 resulting in the WE 5302.
It came in many colours and many versions and was in production for several decades. Even now versions of this model are still being made, even with modern electronics and a rotary dial that dials DTMF.
Touch tone developments of this model, the 1500 and 2500, are still very much in use in North America. Newer version of them are also still in production, although no longer in North America.
In my collection
The first one I acquired was a white Canadian built exact copy, by Northern Electric. Later I got a red one, when a US collector, travelling to Europe, offered to bring one over for free and send it from somewhere in Europe against shipping cost. He had a small list of telephone, and on it was this red WE 500. So when nobody took up his offer, I chimed in and he sent it to me from Germany. He found the shipping costs so low, he did not want reimbursement so I got it totally for free.
Later I bought another one, that was converted for use as a mobile phone. I still have to test that one. But more about that at a later time…J