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An Antique Western Electric 233g 3-slot Payphone For Sale
A Western Electric 233G
A Working Coin Mechanism.
This is a picture of the actual payphone being saleed.
It is not a stock photo.
Step into 'The Wayback Machine'
Submitted for your consideration:
The only antique Western Electric payphone currently on with
a coin mechanism that functions in a 100% historically correct way.
Itis themarriageof vintage parts and 'state of the art'technology.
Alittle telephone history.
If you're old enough, hopefully some pleasant memories.
Turn your speakers on.
This sale has historically appropriate background music.
(Sorry folks,doesn't work with the ipad browser.)
When I'm 64
EMI Records 1967
In 1949, The Bell Systemintroduced the model 500 desk telephone.
This newmodel with improved transmitter and receiver had a 425 network
whichmaintained the audio of the telephone at aconstant level.
Below is a picture of the inside of a 500 series desk phone.
The 425 network is the block with the screws on the top.
The 233Gwas Western Electric's payphoneequivalentof the model 500 series desk
Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to fit the425 networkinside the 233G payphone,
so a separate box or 'subset' containing the 425 network and a ringerwas
mountednext tothe payphone.
Below is a picture of the inside of the subset that would have been used with this
It is a Western Electric model 685.
More about the need for this external 'subset' later in the sale.
The pre-pay 233Gwasintroduced in 1959 and was the first model payphone to
coin relay' developed by Bell Labs.
Below is a front view ofa single coil coin relay.
This payphone has been refurbished and is in excellent condition.
If you own a phone booth and have been waiting fora perfect 3-slot
to put in it, this is the payphone for you.
It Comes With
A modified Western Electric 531A external ringer
A line coupler/power supply built into the external ringer
A front andtop mounted instruction card holderwith instruction cards
Locks and keys
Acast chrome plated vault door
To eliminate the need foran external 'subset' (previously mentioned),
a speech networkboard was installed insidethe payphone.
An RJ-11phone line interface board withan 'incoming call detector' was also installed.
To make the coin mechanism function as it did when this payphone was in actual service,
the coin relay was rebuilt so it would work in conjunction witha coin control module
that was also added.
I designed and manufacturedthese assemblies.
If you aren't old enough to know (or are, but have forgotten),
below is a description of how this payphoneoperates.
In the 1950s and early 1960s you didn't walk up to a payphone, lift the handset and get
a dial tone; you had to deposit 10 cents first.
This type of operation was called 'Coin First'.
Whenyou deposited a dime you heard two'dings' and you received a dial tone.
Ifyou deposited twonickels, the first nickel was held in the phone until the second
nickel was deposited; then you heard two 'dings'andyou received a dial tone.
If your dialed call wasn't answered and you hung up, after a long time your initial
deposit was returned.
If your dialed call was answered and you hung up, after a long time your initial deposit
Every original detail has been duplicated in the design of this
unique payphone; even the precise timing of the slower coin
Using this payphone is like taking a step back in time!
Below is a simplifieddescription of how this
You lift the handset and deposit adime or 2 nickels.
After the initial depositis madeyou hear a dial tone.
You dialthe desired number.
If your dialed number isn't answered,theinitial depositwilleventually be
returnedwhen you hang up,ifit's been less than 60 seconds
since you got the dial tone.
If your dialed number is answered,theinitial depositwill eventually be collected
when you hang up, if it's been more than 60 seconds since you got the dial tone.
You answer incoming calls like you would with any telephone.
Below is amore detailed description of this payphone
and its operation.
This payphone is equipped witha programmable coin control module.
The coin control module operates the coin mechanism of the payphone exactly as it
operated when the payphone was in actual use.
The coin control module and the coin mechanism are powered by a small, external
9 volt power supply.
The control module and the coin mechanism take no power, receive no information,
and are totally isolated from the phone line.
Thispayphone wasdesigned to operate with modern featuressuch as'Call Waiting'.
There is no need to worrythatthis payphonewon't work with your present telephone
service, or if you change telephone service providers in the future.
A Rotary To Touch Tone Converter can be added outside of the payphone at the wall
jack,if it becomes necessary in the future.
A 7-ft. telephone cord comes standard with the payphone.
If you need a longer cord, or have to replace it because of damage,
one can be purchased from most chain drug stores or Radio Shack.
The payphone has an internal RJ-11 connector that makesreplacing the cord very simple.
Theassemblies not original tothis payphoneare:
The speech network board
The programmable coin control module
The RJ-11 phone line interface board.
These assemblies are to makeiteasy
to install and operate asit did in the past.
They are what give this payphone
The picturesin this saleare the actual items you will receive.
If a 'stock photo' is used it will be as an example for educational purposes.
Obviously thefun of usingthis payphone is making outgoing calls because you are
using the coin mechanism.
You answer incoming calls as you would with any phone.
Before you offer make sure your telephone service provider supports rotary dialing.
If they don't, you will have to add a Rotary To Touch Tone converter between the
payphone and the phone line.
Thispayphone was never intended to be used as a profit-making public telephone.
It issold for amusement purposes only!
Scroll down and look at the pictures with detailed descriptions.
Please do not hesitate to email any questions you may have.
This is the inside of the actual payphone in this sale with the top removed.
This is not a stock photo.
Added assembliesnot original to the payphone are pictured and
described in detail below.
Line Input Board
Below is a stock photo ofa line input board.
The RJ-11 connector on the board allows you to replace the cord going to the telephone
jack if it gets damaged,or you want a different length or color.
Theboard has an 'incoming call detector' circuit.
This circuit allows the payphone to connect to the phone line,by-passing the coin
mechanism when the handset is lifted on an incoming call.
Speech Network Board
Below is aclose-up of the actual speech network board in this payphone.
The speech network electronically matches the receiver and transmitter components in
the handset of the payphone to the telephone line.
In conjunction with the external ringer,the networkboard eliminates the need for
Coin Control Module
The pictures below are stock photos that show the size of the module and the way it's mounted.
The 9 volt battery is for size comparison only.
There are no batteries in this payphone.
Below is a picture of the coin control module mounted in the payphone.
With the track for the coin can in placeit's not possible to see the control module.
Operation Of The Coin Mechanism
When these payphones were in service, deposited coins were collected only if the
called party actually answered.
Unfortunately, do to changes in telephone technology, a payphone that is capable
ofoperating that way today would be very expensive.
Since this payphone is being used for amusement purposes and is not a revenue
producing public telephone, the coin return/collect function can be timed.
Thepayphone switches from coin return to collect60 seconds
after the initial depositis made.
This givesenough time to:
Dial all the digits of the phone number, even ifit has lots of
9s and 0s, which take the most time to dial
Allows time for the call to connect
Gives the called party time to answer after 3 or 4 rings.
Timing this function adds coin control at a realistic cost.
The 'brain' ofthe payphone is the programmable coin control module.
The coin control module tells the coin mechanism of the payphone how and when to
The operation of the coin control module and the coin mechanism is a function of the
length of time the payphone's handset is off hook.
When a dime or two nickels is deposited in the payphone and a dial-tone is obtained, a
signal is sent to the coin control module.
The coin control module tells the coin mechanism to:
Refund the initial deposit if the handset of the payphone is hung up before an elapsed time
of about 60 seconds;
Collect the initial deposit if the handset of the payphone is hung up after an elapsed time
of about 60 seconds;
Perform this refund / collect functionwith a delay of 2-4 seconds after the handset is hung
up (this timing is dependent on the model andvintage of the payphone);
Perform this refund / collect function for a period of 1 second so that the deposited coin
will have sufficient time to clear the coin mechanism before it resets.
These timed functions done by the coin control module are what givethis payphone
Each coin control module is individually programmed to assure the operation of the
payphone it is installed in is historically correct.
The coin control module isdoing what the telephone company central office did in the
These functions are powered by a small, external 9 volt power supply.
This is the inside of the payphone'stop.
Itis 100% factory original, except for the substitution of a21B lock
in place of the original 10G.
The security lock (lower left hand corner)
It is used for cosmetic reasonsonly.
Dial And 'Daisy'
The porcelain dial 'daisy' is an original and inexcellent condition.
The dial is a #6 Western Electric that has been ultrasonically cleaned andaccurately adjusted.
Front and top mounted instruction card holdersare included with the payphone.
Theinstruction cardsarecopies of originals from the 1960s.
The top card is from Brooklyn, New York andone of my favorites.
This is a stock photo.
There areplenty of antique 3 slot payphones sold on with instruction cards
that arenothing but decorations.
I'll bet this is the onlyantique payphone on that is
capable of operating exactlythe way the
instruction cards says it should.
Locks and Keys
The payphone comes with a 21Bupper housing lockandkey.
The vault lock is a type30C withonekey.
A locking coin can is not supplied with this payphone.
They are more trouble than they're worth.
The track for the coin can is mounted in the payphone.
If youmust have a locking coin can buy it from someone
else and use it at your own risk.
The payphoneis supplied with a cast chrome plated vault door.
External Ringer/Phone Line Coupler
The payphone comes witha Western Electric 531A external ringer.
This ringerhas two brass bells.
These bells sound great!
Theringer has beenrebuilt to also act as a coupler.
The coupler connects the payphone to the telephone line anda 9 volt power supply
that powersthe coin control module and the coin mechanism.
The gray telephone cable plugs into the telephone line.
The small power supply plugs into a standard 110V outlet.
It is UL listed.
The payphone plugs into the connector in the ringer box.
Below is aphotoof the inside ofthemodified ringer box
included in this sale.
If the winner of this sale requires a power supply that is 230V AC,
it will be supplied in place of the 110V unit at no extra cost.
One of the characteristics of 3-slot payphones that gavethem theirpersonality
was the delay after the handset was hung-up, until thedeposited coins were
returned or collected.
If you were a kid in the 1950s and 60s and grew up using 3-slots you didn't just
hang-up a payphone and walk away.
Back then ten cents was a lot of money to a kid!
A candy barcost 5 cents.
A Coke (in a real glass bottle) was a dime.
Maybe 'accidentally' the coins in the payphone would be returned instead of collected.
So, after you hung-up you stood and watched the payphone and waited and waited and waited,
This payphone was designed to mirror every original characteristicof the way you remember
these payphones operating in 'the good old days'.
If You Own A 3-Slot Payphone
If you already own a prepay 3-slot payphone that is in 'as removed from service
condition' and you would like the coin mechanism to operate,
click on 'See Other Items' at the beginning of this sale.
I manufacture an outboard payphone controller for that purpose.
Adding an outboard controllerto your payphone is more cost-effective than buying
a payphone with built-in coin control.
Sorry, No Popcorn
The 233G payphone in the video that follows is not the one
being offered in this sale.
Except forminor cosmetic differencesthey are identical and operate in
exactly the same way.
This video won't win any awards butit does an adequate job
demonstrating how the payphone:
Returnsthe deposited coinswhen a call is not completed.
Holds the first deposited nickel until the second nickel is deposited.
Returns both nickels after a delay when the call is abandoned.
Collects the deposited nickels with a time delay, if 60 seconds has passed
since the deposit was made.
Payclose attention to the timing of the various coin functions.
Notice the time delay before the payphone returns or collects deposited coins.
The telephone audioyou hear isfrom a 'Spokesman' telephone amplifier
connected to the phone line and out ofcamera view.
This payphone was designed to mirror every original characteristic
of the way these payphones operated in actual service.
If you have an interest in the history of the payphone
you should own a copy of this book.
'Payphone History'is the most comprehensivestudy of
the evolution of the payphone ever undertaken.
It is the result of an enormous amount of research.
Itcovers over 100 years of payphone history.
The author, Ron Knappen, is a recognized expert
on the subject.
The book is available on .
Do a search for seller:
Thanks for looking and have a great day!
Terms of Sale
If you have zero response you must contact us before offerding.
If you have more than 3 negatives in the past year you must contact us before offerding.
We reserve the right to cancel any offer for any reason.
Payment is by Paypal ONLY!
New York State residentsmustadd 8.7% Sales Tax or email a valid
Tax Resale Certificate after the close of the sale.
Shipping and Insurance
We Do Not Make A Profit On Shipping!
No local pickup- all items must be shipped.
We only ship via UPS within the U. S.
Insurance is MANDATORY!
We ship the next business day after payment is received.
Foreignbuyers please note:
Shipments are via USPS
Customs Declarations are filledout accurately.
What is on the Customs Declaration is what is in the box.
The declared value on the Customs Declaration is the exact amount of the winning offer.
The winning buyer is solely responsible for all taxes, fees and duties.
Their isno charge for packing.
Packing material is a cost of doing business.
in2 inchesof bubble wrap.
Itisthen double-boxed withbubble wrapbetween the two boxes.
The outerbox isan extra heavy duty type ECT-44.
Every effort is made to insure that what comes out of the box at your end is in the
same condition it was in when it went into the box at our end.
This item has been shown 324 times.
An Antique Western Electric 233g 3-slot Payphone: $405