Can you help me to rewire this very old telephone?
July 16, 2013 3:13 PM   Subscribe

As part of my ongoing efforts to remain stuck in the twentieth century, I'm trying to rewire and use this telephone.

Whoever removed the original wire cut it away inside the box of the phone. Here is a picture of the inside with four cut wires indicated in red circles. I have a standard four wire phone cord with a black, red, green, and yellow wire. To complicate matters further, after taking the second photo I discovered that the yellow wire that you see disappearing behind the bell is also cut off, so I have five wires inside the phone that are cut.
Here's the obvious question: what do I connect to what to make this thing work?
posted by crazylegs to Technology (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Appears to be a Western Electric 300 series. This site has wiring diagrams.
posted by Longtime Listener at 3:22 PM on July 16, 2013

Longtime Listener is right. Unfortunately that phone is missing the network circuitry that lets it work. Compare yours with this one in this picture and you'll see what's missing.
posted by zsazsa at 3:26 PM on July 16, 2013

This is the missing piece which seems to correspond to your model which has a 2-wire ringer. Here's the corresponding wiring diagram. Once that's in and hooked up, connect the red wire in your phone cord to L1, and the green to L2. The black and yellow wires in your phone cord are for a second line so they're unused.

This is of course assuming nothing else is missing on that phone.
posted by zsazsa at 3:36 PM on July 16, 2013

Pulse dialing as opposed to touch tone is not supported in all areas. If you intend to use this phone, make sure pulse dialing is supported in your area.

Here is a reproduction phone that uses touch tone technology.

Wiring a touch tone pad to any rotatory dial phone.
posted by JujuB at 9:15 PM on July 16, 2013

Aw man, I wish I'd seen this sooner but it looks like you've already got some good answers here. I've rewired one of these before, what I thought was a model 302 but turned out to be a 304 - set up for use on a party line. Took a while to figure out how to get it to ring properly. Anyway, I've got an extra 302 sitting in a closet, if you want the coil or any other parts send me a message here.
posted by Venadium at 5:21 AM on July 17, 2013

JujuB's note about pulse dialing is particularly worth noting, as there are very few COs that still support pulse dialing at all. There are, however, pulse-to-DTMF converters (a little black box that is wired between your phone and the wall) that will generally work. You still use the rotary dial on your phone, and the box converts those pulses into DTMF tones, which are then sent out over the line.

I have an old multi-line rotary phone that I am trying to adapt to our older PBX, because I like the idea of having an old rotary phone from the 50s placed next to my shiny new iMac.
posted by xedrik at 11:06 AM on July 17, 2013

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