This phone booth and 3 slot Automatic Electric pay phone came with our house

Cowboy Frank and Friend
This page was first posted on January 26, 2012, 3 days after I turned 60.

From early 1972 to about the middle of 1974, I worked for the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company (C&P), part of the famous Bell Telephone System. Specifically I worked inside the Western Electric manufacturing plant located at 1201 S. Hayes Street in Alexandria, Virginia, about 1/2 a mile south of the Pentagon. My job, along with about 9 other guys, was to sort phones and equipment that had been removed from service (taken out of homes and offices) and sent into this plant for cleaning and refurbishing. Primarily I worked a conveyor belt where we sorted an average of 14,000 telephone sets a day.

Ever since I was about 5 years old I had dreamed of being a telephone installer and serviceman. When I first began my job with C&P, they told me the position was intended to last about 6 months, after which they would move me out into other parts of the company. After almost 2 years, I was still there and starting to loose my mind. I have never been able to work repetitive task jobs for very long. If my mind isn't actively working on solving problems or learning new things, I get bored very quickly. I enjoy jobs that involve troubleshooting and helping other people, especially in the electrical and computer fields. I left the company in the summer of 1974, very broken-hearted.

During my time there, I acquired a couple of phones, as did most everyone else who worked for Ma Bell. I still have those 2 phones, but in the fall of 2011, my light blue, 12 button Princess phone, fell off a table and the case shattered into about 30 peices. Boy was I broken-hearted (there's that phrase again). Then I thought of checking Ebay and what a resource that has turned out to be. I collected phones like crazy for a while, much to the dismay of my partner. I have now throttled my collecting way down. I am now only buying items I can actually use, are very unusual, or parts to repair phones I already have that are broken.

In general, my collecting interest is in Western Electric phone equipment from the late 1960's through the end of the Bell System era in 1983.