Automatic Electric Phones
model 40 is my oldest AE phone. All the AE desktop handset
phones before the mid
sixties (?) are called "Monophone", and this one
is labeled on the base with that name. I got this phone in a second hand
shop in Middletown NY. The owner had it under the counter. He said it
came from his own house. One of the things I love about this phone, (besides
the cool-o deco styling) is the fact that there are no letters on the
the early '60s Ma Bell decided that their phone designs were the best,
and that all the manufacturers should be using them. Suddenly all the
phones manufactured in the US started to look mostly alike. Hence the
AE didn't go with
the plan for all of it's models. Their wall phone did not follow the mega-corp's
design, and in fact the model 90 is one of the most reliable
phones ever made. The datestamp on this beauty is 16-6-67.
model 182 Starlite is AE's answer to the Western
Electric Princess. It's not quite so little or lovely, but some of
them light. The Princess phone uses an external transformer and an incandescent
bulb to illuminate the dial. The Starlight uses a space age luminescent
panel, and has a regular ac plug coming out beside the phone line hookup
Sometime in the mid '60s Automatic Electric was swallowed up by GTE, and started producing more mainstream designs. This model 192 wall phone is stamped Starlite, but also has the GTE logo impressed on the backplate.
This AE/GTE Styleline
is very similar to the WE Trimline. It's a little squarer, but
otherwise almost exactly the same as the WE offering of similar vintage.
Here's an unusual little item. I got a nice email from a former employee of GTE in Canada who identified this model as a Linear. It's dated 1984, and was intended for sale to customers (not lease). It has all kinds of cutting edge features like hold and redial. It even has pushbutton pulse dialing (not pulse tone selectable either). Cool huh?
Most of the model numbers on this page were supplied (or corrected) by another TelCo worker in Canada, who also sent along the following:
There's a professional phone refurbishing guy in Arizona named Steve Hilsz who has a very good series of pamphlets (one of which features one of my phones!) on wiring several of the older AE phones. He will also restore your malfunctioning hulk if you send him some money.
Tell me about all the factual errors in this page,
or ask me to put up a particular phone.