The Western Electric compact wall phones were initially small wood models and shortly thereafter of copper plated sheet metal composition having two coats of black enamel paint. WE compact wall phones, although fairly plain, have always been a favorite of mine. I find them highly desirable, as they require minimal wall space for display. Finding exceptional examples with the wood or metal in good original displayable condition is always difficult. All examples displayed here retain their original finish and ALL parts are original other than some cords. On rare occasion accessories have been re-nickeled if necessary.

There are a lot of images on these pages, please be patient when downloading.

#293A Compact Wall Telephone

Click for Larger View Detail of Receiver Hooks

c. 1905-1915 - I liked this compact walnut phone because it was a bit different as it is stamped Special Type 293A. The noticeable difference is the second lower receiver hook that is spring loaded, to secure the receiver. This application could have been for special use on a ship or train. It is the earlier style of this model, having the early lock mechanism and the door hinges with patent info "PAT'D NOV 16 1886" stamped into them. Equipped with a beveled face transmitter marked "WESTERN ELECTRIC COMPANY".


#293Y Compact Wall Telephone

293Y 293Y 293Y 293Y 293Y
c. 1905-1915 - I liked this compact walnut phone because it is in primo condition and is a bit different as it is stamped 293Y. The noticeable difference is internal parts, as this application was produced for local battery talking and central battery signaling. Again, early lock mechanism and the door hinges with patent info.

#293 Compact Wall Phone (Later Style)

For larger photo, click thumbnails #293 Compact Wall Phone (Later Style) Click on thumbnail for larger view Inside the #293 Compact Wall Phone (Later Style) Schematics
c. 1907-1915 Later style wood 293A. Updated switch arm with escutcheon plate and door latch. No longer is patent info stamped into the side of box but on a tag located inside of door. Envelope containing paper with electrical schematics.

NOTE: Original red bakelite mouthpiece (as opposed to oxblood red m/p displayed here.)


#333 Compact Wall Telephone

#333 Click fingernail pics for larger view #333 Click fingernail pics for larger view #333 Click fingernail pics for larger view #333 Click fingernail pics for larger view
c. 1909-1916 - Other than magneto sets, wood cases were disappearing, being replaced by sets that were metal which was copper plated. The #333 was the first of this type. It is very desirable among collectors maybe because it is the first model with the smooth metal look, or that it is very attractive with the gongs located on the outside of the box. This makes it very attractive, especially when the gongs are nickel plated.

NOTE: Very nice porcelain mouthpiece with brass threads and patent date Nov. 14, 1911.


12KY Compact Wall Phone

12KY wall phone - click all thumbnails for larger view 12KY wall phone interior view 12KY wall phone backside
c. 1910's - Interesting variation that is almost a cross between a #333 and #533. Except for some subtle exceptions, it has the size and look of a #333 with outside gongs, yet has the stamped window frame front like the #533. Equipped with a 143 receiver and 325W flush mount transmitter and considering its size, it is likely a Private Line Telephone Set used to connect rooms, or departments, or house with a stable or barn. The only model identifiers is "12KY" stamped on backside. I have never seen another and have been unable to find this phone in any catalog. Any info would be appreciated.

#533 Metal Wall Phone

#533 Metal Wall Phone-Click on Thumbnail for larger view Inside #533 Wall Phone Marked 143 Receiver

143 Receiver


Adapter 37A

Adapter 37A

For closer view, click on picture
c. 1910's - With this wall model, the gongs were now placed inside the box subsequently making it a basic rectangular box with a sort of picture frame stamped into the front of the door.

The second example is a #533 with a dial added. As the dial was introduced and Western Electric was always looking to save a dollar, an adapter, called the 37A, was designed to allow older manual wall sets to convert to machine switching service, ie: to accommodate a dial.

Made of metal with a black finish, it was designed to attach to the front of the phone allowing for integrating a dial. These adapters extended the life of some #333 and #533 models well into the 1930's. Today these adapters are hard to find

Very nicely marked 143 receiver.

(A 37A mounted to a #333 wall phone can be viewed in Mountjoys, 100 Years of Bell Telephones, top left of page 134.)


#553 Compact Wall Telephone

#553 Wall Telephone-Click Thumbnail for Larger View #553 Wall Telephone-Click Thumbnail for Larger View #553 Interior-Click Thumbnail for Larger View
c. 1920's-1930's - This model is the same black box as the #533 updated to accommodate a dial. I believe the addition of the dial and relocation of the transmitter makes the phone more attractive. The #553 was followed up by the #653, which was identical in outward appearance, but anti-sidetone.

#653 Compact Wall Telephone

#653 Front - Click For Larger View Inside the #653
c. 1930's-1940's - This model is identical in appearance to the #553 on the outside, just updated to anti-sidetone. (View the #553 above.) In order to be informative, yet not redundant, I have chosen to display a #653 that was factory updated to accommodate a handset. This one is labeled SP653AC and also has a D#, which usually was a designation for some sort of trial, testing or prototype.

I have left everything as was with this model. This type of "updating" was not unusual.


phonemandave.net/westernelectric compact wall phones