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WESTERN ELECTRIC
Design Line Telephone Types

Rotary and Touch Tone Models

©1997-2014 paulf.  All rights reserved.
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Design Line sets in Phone Store

ON THIS PAGE:    Accent    Americana    Big Button    Butcher Block    Candle Stick    Celebrity    Character Phones    Chestphone    Coin    Coquette    Country Junction    Country Squire    Cradle Phone    Director    Elite    Exeter    Glow    Noteworthy   Olympics 84    Showcase - Indianapolis    Sculptura    Stowaway    Telstar    Touch-A-Matic 16

RELATED PAGES ON THIS SITE:    Colors     Table Key    Development Timeline    Touch Tone Development
Other Decorator phones:   TeleConcepts    TeleQuest    Northern Telecom    Lamps


Design Line phones arrived in the 1970s, toward the tail end of the 500-series reign, and were primarily based on late 500-series technology (although Trimline handsets were used in some later models).   Many were made until divestiture in 1984.

After 1984, the Design Line was continued by AT&T and phones got the AT&T logo.  They are not covered here.

They were featured prominently in Phone Store displays, such as shown above.  "Friendly" boxes were used, so some of the inventory could be stored on the floor, ready for quick sale.

This page is intended to be a quick summary of the models produced and major functions.  Western catalogs and technical documentation only show the models that were in production or service at the publication date.  To understand the full scope of models produced we must compile data from many years of documents.

Each model had suffix letters that defined variations.
Details can be found in the Bell System technical documentation (e.g. BSPs - Bell System Practices).

The Design Line Sets are covered in the Station Service Manuals that were published from about 1975 to 1980.
Models changed from year to year, so it's important to view them all!

Most info in the chart is from manufacturer catalogs and ads plus discussions on the ATCA and TCI listservs.
No claim is made regarding accuracy or completeness.

There's a great 1979 video highlighting the Design Line sets on the AT&T site:
http://techchannel.att.com/play-video.cfm/2012/12/13/AT&T-Archives-Design-Line-Fashions1

If you're enjoying looking at this level of detail and haven't joined one of the phone clubs yet, see the links page.

If you're identifying a phone, you still need to check the internal components as many phones were refurbed and had internal components changed or removed.  If done in a Bell System refurb facility, the code on the bottom was usually repainted or remarked.  Many independent shops or field mods were not remarked with the accurate model number.

As with the 500 series, a W suffix indicates sets made without Bell System markings, and M indicates a Modular set.
More details on set coding are found on the 500-series page.  Many also apply to Design Line sets.

For color information, see: Phones in color!

This page is a work in progress.  Please send comments, additions and corrections.

Last update: Feb 19, 2014


 
DESIGN LINE SETS

Most rotary Design Line set components are in the model 581A “Telephone Set Bases”, which was intended for use with customer-supplied housings and handsets.

Complete model numbers are in the form mmmAnnn, (e.g. 881C100 – Rotary Chestphone in Walnut),
where mmm is in the Model column, and Annn are variations found in Major Functions in the table below.

Color was sometimes added as a suffix (e.g. 902A1-93 – Rotary Sculptura in yellow ).

G” was often inserted after the letter to indicate an internal polarity guard on TouchTone models.
2” prefix for TouchTone models.
CS” prefix for later models which were customer-owned (including internal components).

           (Higher BSP number apparently documents this change.)

 

Names in bold are the Western Electric names from the BSPs.    Help fill in the blanks and guesses!

Date in BSP column is the month/year of Issue 1, if known (or year of best guess) – should be close to announcement date. My BSPs end at 1980. Please send info on models and colors during the 80s.

From the manual:
“The customer buys the housing and handset from the telephone company and the telephone company retains ownership of the transmission and signaling components.”

This policy was changed in the 80s, when the customer bought and owned the entire phone (CS-marked sets).

During this period, many sets were sold without internal components, and the customer was instructed to contact the phone company to have them installed.  Installation also started monthly billing for the service of using the phone network.  A sample instruction card from DecoTel can be seen here.  (Use your browser back key to return here.)

88x models apparently used housings manufactured by others:

    881 -- American Telecommunication Corporation (ATC) / DecoTel.
    882 --  United States Telephone Company (USTel).  [Coquette]
    883 -- ?   [Stowaway Rolltop and Jewel Box]
    884 -- ?   [Butcher Block]

The housings were also used by GTE (with their internals) and in the Deco-tel line. A 1978 modification added a set of contacts to the line switch, causing a variant change in most ATC models.

MODEL

MAJOR FUNCTIONS

BSP

NOTE: see Table Key for prefix and suffix codes and reference info.

881
2881
Chest Phone, Walnut

Chest, Leatherette

Chest Phone, Optique

100

101

110

112

Chestphone  (ATC) – A-hardwired (MD77), B-mod (MD78), C-line switch (78+)


100-
Walnut, 101-Leatherette, 110 -“Optique”; 112-Orange [e.g. 112B-Denver Broncos logo and colors]


(e.g. 881C110   Chestphone, Rotary, Optique)

503-200-107

12/74

503-200-119

881
Cradle Phone, Antique Gold

Cradle, Mediterranean

Cradle, Early American

102

103

104

Cradle Phone  (ATC) – A-hardwired (MD77), B-mod (MD78), C-line switch (78+)


102-Antique Gold, 103-Mediterranean, 104- Early American


(e.g. 881B104 Early American Cradle Phone)


Rotary Only.

503-200-108

12/74

503-200-120

881
Candlestick, Canadian

105

106

107

108

Candle Stick    (ATC) – A-hardwired (MD77), B-mod (MD78), C-line switch (78+)

105- Black, 106- Red, 107- White, 108- Stars and Stripes;

(e.g. 881C108    Stars & Stripes Candlestick)


Rotary Only. (GTE used tone pads as in the Genie phone)


Canadian
(maple leaf) model – Northern Telecom model QSQM423A


Note: ATC also made wood grain (shaped shaft) and promotional models (Budweiser, football teams, colleges, etc.), not yet found in Bell literature.

 
A wood grain set was seen with a WE TouchTone dial, but no WE model number.

503-200-109

12/74

503-200-121

881
2881
Mickey (box)

109

Character standing on a rectangular base with wood grain sides and red top.  All were available with add-on lamp kits, but haven’t found a Bell ordering number. 

 

Mickey Mouse    (ATC) – 109   Standing, holding handset in right hand.

503-200-111

3/77

503-200-122

881
2881
Snoopy, rotary

111

Snoopy  (ATC) – 111   Standing with Woodstock.

503-200-112

7/78

503-200-123

2881

113

Winnie the Pooh – (CS2881CG113)    TouchTone only.  

[ATC model TBM 8020 (Rotary) and TMIF 8021 (TT).]

Note: ATC also made a similar Kermit model, not yet found in Bell literature, but seen with Western internals (including rotary, as shown below).
The Kermit ATC model is TEIF 8030 (TT).

     Character phone collection  Photo from Tom Heckhaus

503-200-117

882
Coquette

Coquette  (USTel) – 200-White;

A-mod (MD78), B-line switch (78+)

Rotary Only.

503-200-110

12/75

503-200-124

2883
Stowaway, Rolltop

Stowaway, Jewel Box, Box

Stowaway  A300-Roll-top, A400-Cherry “jewel box”;


TouchTone only. (Found sets dated ’81 and ’83)   K1A handset with handset cord retractor.


See Model 910 below for earlier Stowaway sets.

503-200-127

2884
WE Butcher Block with optional shelf

Butcher Block    CS2884A100 , Wall mount.  


TouchTone only. 
[Found set dated ’83]


There was also an optional matching storage box with slanted writing shelf that could be mounted on the wall just below the phone.

503-200-135

900
Exeter, rotary, borwn, with box

2900
Exeter

Exeter  AD-initial release, B-2 added line switch leads;

1-Customer applique , 2-Alligator, 3- Etched Metal, 4-Green Vinyl, 5-Floral and Irridescent appliqués, 6 -Floral and etched metal appliqués;

in white-58, brown-104 and green-105; K1A handset.

(e.g. 900AD2-104    Exeter Alligator brown)


[See 2953 for later wall model]

503-200-100

(74)

503-200-125

902
Sculptura, rotary, yellow

2902
Sculptura

Sculptura  A1;


in white-58, yellow-93 and brown-104

[Also seen in pink (painted), but no BSP reference reported.]

DecoTel had a similar shaped phone called the CirclPhone (on right below).

Sculptura (L), CirclPhone (R)

503-200-102

1/77

503-200-126

2903
Big Button, blue/green

Big Button  AG1 and AG2; in white-58   

(e.g. CS2903 AG1-58)

N1 handset.

Seen with orange/yellow or blue/green buttons.


(See 2954 for wall set.) 

(Click for internal photo)

503-200-118

2905

Glow Phone, On and Off hook
Photo from Steve Schlink

Glow Phone Box

Glow Phone   (CS2905AG1-58

In white-58.

N1 handset.

Front is all black until the handset is lifted when the numbers all glow.

There's an electronic ringer with slider volume control on the back of the set and a pushbutton ringer cutoff on the right side toward the front.

Requires a transformer (3110C 5 volt @ 5.6va) .

(Click for more details and internal photos.)

503-200-134


(83)

910
2910
Stowaway Walnut

Stowaway, Mediterranean

Stowaway  A10-Oiled Walnut, A11-Mediterranean Oak;

in black-03 and ivory-50.  K1A handset with handset cord retractor.

     Stowaway, Mediterranean, Open

Early Stowaway models had the Bell Logo and model name hot stamped into the plastic near the dial.

Housings made by Nelson Industries

Presentation sets were customized with brass plaques or designs burned with a laser in the top of Oiled Walnut and Roll Top models.

Late additions: see model 2883 above for additional styles.

503-200-101

(74)

503-200-127

911
2911
Telstar

Telstar  A1-in black-03,   K1A handset with handset cord retractor.

503-200-105

7/78

503-200-128

920
2920
Accent, Cord Retractor

921
2921
WE Accent Rotary and Tone

Accent   (x920 models have a cord retractor, x921 models have coiled handset cords)

A-tall case (MD78), B-short case (MD80) 

20-Customer Trim Option I, 21-Walnut, 22 -Wicker, 23-Delft, 24 -Customer Trim Option II.

in ivory-50, white-58, yellow-93, lime green-106 and blue-115;    K1A handset.

  (e.g. 2921B22-106 Accent short case, wicker in lime green.)


The original tall case was required to house the cord retractor mechanism.  After that was discontinued, the case was redesigned and shortened.

Early Accent models had the Bell Logo and model name hot stamped into the plastic, as was done on the yellow 2920 set shown.

503-200-106

(74)

930
Elite, Leather

2930

Elite Touch Tone, round buttons


Elite, TouchTone, green


2931

Elite Commemorative

Elite (930, 2930)  A-Leather, B-vinyl; 30-Green/gold in green-105, 31-White/silver in white-58.

  (e.g. 930B30  Elite, green vinyl with gold trim, green plastic base and handset.)

K1A handset.



The 2930A Touch Tone sets have round buttons, while the 2930B sets have square buttons.



Elite Commemorative (2931) B33-with Medallion, B35-Non-medallion in black-03, TouchTone only.    

503-200-103

(74)

940
Celebrity, ivory

Celebrity, Rotary

2940
Celebrity, Touch Tone

Celebrity  A40-Chrome trim, 3 feet (MD78); B40-Gold trim, 3 feet (MD78);


in ivory-50 and blue-62

Later C40 Chrome, C41 Gold;    D40 Chrome, D41 Gold, 4 feet. 

L1 Handset standard. L2 handset without plating.


[Late addition: 2940DG41-03 – TouchTone black with gold trim. ‘82: In the 6/83 price list]

503-200-104

(74)

503-200-129

2941
WE Country Squire

Country Squire  (CS2941AG1)  Wood desk set with french-style handset.

503-200-132

2942

Director

Director  (CS2942AG1-03, or CS2942A1G-03)


   
Black Trimline handset with a rectangular wood-cased base.

503-200-144

950
2950
Noteworthy

Noteworthy  A1-Half round matching frame in yellow-123 and rust-124, A2-Half round contrasting frame in white-58 with light oak trim, A3-Sculptured frame in brown-104.

Has room for telephone directory and reversing cork/blackboard. Trimline handset.

A4- Cork front with large clock in almond-148.(late production).

         Noteworthy with Clock

503-200-114

6/78

503-200-130

951
Country Junction, rotary


2951
Country Junction TouchTone

Country Junction    (951A1) Oak wood with nickel trim, small box wall set with oak-handled handset.


Initially rotary, TouchTone added later  (2951AG1). 
Note the addition of the # and * keys and absence of a finger stop.

There was also an optional matching storage box with slanted writing shelf that could be mounted on the wall just below the phone.
       Country Junction Shelf (optional)

503-200-115

(79)

503-200-131

952

Americana

Americana Wall Telephone    (952A2) Oak wood with nickel trim, 3-box long case with separate receiver and transmitter.


Rotary Only.


[A TouchTone set marked 2952-ES was found – believed to be from a run of 80 produced for employees of the WE Shreveport, LA plant – not regular production.]

503-200-116

6/80

953
2953
Exeter Wall Box

Exeter Wall  (CS953A, CS2953AG)    e.g. CS2953AG7-58   7-Floral    appliqué, in white-58.

[See 900 for desk models and other codes.]

503-200-125

2954
Big Button Wall Set

Big Button Wall (CS2954AG1-58)   

in white-58  

N1 handset.


(see 2903 for desk set.)

503-200-133

960
2960
TouchAMatic, 2960

Looks like a slightly larger version of the Exeter. K handset, bell ringer.
Touch-A-Matic 16 (960A01M) includes Trimline-style #10 rotary dial and 15 button Touch-a-Matic memory, last number dial, has ac supply and battery back-up.  Also TouchTone ( 2960A01M) .

503-301-100
503-301-101

ZCS2960
Olympics 84, special edition

“Olympics ‘84” special edition (ZCS2960COI)  Has red, white and blue stars logo over Olympic Rings logo, then "AT&T: Telecommunications Sponsor 1984 Olympics". 


Paper label on back: "XXIII OLYMPIAD, (bar code), SOUVENIR OF AT$T (sic)".  Traditional 4x3 TouchTone pad.  Same shell as 2960, but without memory functions.


The "official" phones used during the Olympics.  They were sold to the employees as souviners after the Olympics. There was another faceplate that had Western Electric as the sponser.

-

2961

Olympics 84, with three interchangeable plaques


Olympics 84, Equestrian event statue Shown with Equestrian Statue

“Showcase Olympic Commemorative Telephone” -- 1984 Olympics  (CS2961AG2-3)


in black-3 with a white rectangular plate on top with the "Star in Motion" design and Olympic rings.  Text on the front reads, "Games of the XXIIIrd Olympiad, Los Angeles 1984"
N1 handset.


Has a flip-down front panel which conceals the keypad (2 rows of 6 touch buttons) and contains a battery powered digital clock that is visible from the front with the cover closed.  Probably sold at the Olympics and in Phone Stores as a souvenir.


2 Optional plaques were available: "Multi-Events" showing pictograms of all 23 Olympic Events, and "Sam the Olympic Eagle", the official mascot, designed by Disney Studios.


[Found set marked “CS2961AG2-3 83199 nici manufactured under license from the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee ”]  


Seven sculptures by Marcel Jovine were produced that could be mounted in place of the Olympic rings or displayed separately: Torch Carriers,  Equestrian, Yachting, Discus, Runner, Swimmer and Gymnast.   Original prices of the sculptures was $100 - 150.  Produced by the Barrett-Colea Inc. foundry, cast in polyester with pewter or bronze powder reinforced with wire and hand finished.


- - - - -

A special edition of the Showcase was made in 1986 to commemorate the closing of the Indianapolis plant, where the phone was made - along with most other Design Line and single line telephones.

In addition to the plaque, the phone differs in that there is no Olympic text on the front left and no model number on the bottom.

Indianapolis commemorative phone

-

D-180574

Coin Decorator with Backboard

Coin Decorator   

Issue 1 of the BSP describes the conversion process for modifying a 236G coin collector.  By Issue 2 (10/77), other sets were being modified. “The D-180574 telephone set is a modified 220-type, 223-type, 230G, 234G, or 236G coin collector. The modification, which is performed at the service center, removes coin handling and security features, converting the coin collector to a general purpose telephone set.”

In black-03, green-51, beige-60 “or as offered by the local telephone company.”


[Also seen in bronze, chrome and a Bicentennial edition (red and white stripes on the top box, blue bottom box, white handset and an eagle card in the top frame).]

Available mounting: 144 or 174A backboard, table top base in walnut (841385719) or maple (841385727) or table top stand with drawer for subset in walnut (814385735) or maple (814385743).

Rotary Only.

503-200-113

9/75


Special thanks to Rick Gast for initial Design Line BSP info.


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©1997-2014 paulf.  All rights reserved.