PROJECTS

The museum staff is currently restoring a Western Electric Dial PBX and an International line truck. These exhibits will be added to the museum’s existing collections.

Western Electric 750A PBX

The Western Electric Dial Private Branch Exchange (PBX) was manufactured in 1928 and was removed from service in the early 1980’s. It was stored in Davenport, Iowa when it was acquired by the museum.

The model 750A Dial PBX is an all-relay PBX switching apparatus. Our volunteers have removed the old cable stubs and cleaned the dust and grime out of the cabinet. The equipment has been powered up and the dial tone circuit has been repaired is now functional. This amazing accomplishment was achieved in a very short time and without adequate documentation.

The Dial 750A PBX was manufactured in two sizes. One version was an eight-line, two trunk system the other a 15-line and 3-trunk system. Calls can be dialed through the switch and incoming calls also can be completed.

Type 205 and 750A Telephone Set

The type 205 as seen on the left in the photo is a specialized telephone set that equipped with a dial and a five button mechanical locking key. The buttons were two or three trunks, a hold and an intercom. A typical 6-button set, as seen on the right, can be modified to work with the Dial 750A PBX.

1955 International Bell System Line Truck

A retired telephone company construction employee’s estate donated a 1955 International Harvester R150 Bell System line truck to the museum. The employee purchased the truck from the telephone phone company when the vehicle was retired from the company fleet. It was used as a farm vehicle on his property.

Ready for Transport

The truck was stored in Port Angeles, Washington for several years and was moved to our temporary storage site in North Bend, Washington, which is much closer to the Museum of Communication and will facilitate its restoration.

Waiting on Spring

Six years later

We have made considerable progress on the line truck over the past 6 years. We’ve completely rewired it, had the gas tank boiled, flushed the block, rebuilt the hydrovac and brakes, replaced the exhaust from the manifold on, recovered the bench seat, replaced many a rusty bolt and nut, several instances of body work, new tires, painted wheels, primed the body with rust killer and given it at least two coats of paint, and have let it run for a bit. Some things left to do include replacing the flywheel, additional fiberglass/anti-rust detail, clean up and detail the cargo areas, replace the glass and channel felts, wire brush/prime/paint the boom, pull out the wench line, inspect it and reel it back in nice and cleanly .. and much more.

Update: September 2015

Our intent in 2004 was to restore the truck and use it to publicize the museum at automotive shows and in parades and eventually have it displayed at our museum here in Seattle. Restoration proceeded slower than anticipated, however, due not only to the distance from Seattle but also because local weather conditions (North Bend is in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains) made work on the truck impossible for much of the year.

After Curator Don Ostrand’s death, we evaluated the project and realized that it wasn’t practical to continue and we began to search for a new owner. Museum volunteer Dale Thompson headed the effort and made a successful outreach to the Lemay Family Collection of Tacoma, Washington. In April 2015, representatives of the Lemay Family Collection took possession of the truck with plans to display it at their museum. We are tremendously thankful to both Dale and to the Lemay Family for the smooth ownership transfer and we look forward to visiting the truck at its new home.

The Lemay Family museum is open year-round on the grounds of the former Marymount Military Academy in Tacoma, Washington. You can visit the Lemay Family Collection at http://www.lemaymarymount.org/tacoma-car-museum/.

Our Wish List

The Museum of Communications is continually adding to its collection. We are currently searching for the following items:

  • Western Electric Drop Side Toaster
  • Blue Color 302 Telephone Set
  • #5 Cross Bar Tandem Trunks
  • Plunger Line Switch

    If you own or know the location of the above items we would like to talk to you about them.