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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Retro Sunday! The Western Electric 2905

In my very first blog post I relayed that I worked for Western Electric back in the day as a "Level 36 troubleshooter". This was corporate speak for "hey, we just made a boatload of these circuit boards and this pile over here failed final testing, can you take a look at them?" North Carolina Works looked something like this:

The breakup of the Bell System occurred while I was there. One of the conditions of the breakup was the fact that AT&T had to stop using the familiar Bell logo.

So the famous Bell became what we called "The Death Star" in 1984. I won't talk about the even worse "Coffee Cup stain o' quality" logo from 1996. I was long gone by then anyway.

Whoops I digress. Back to it!
The logo changeover caused some problems. Take a look:

It's 1984 and there is the Bell logo and the "Genuine Bell" wording on the box. First quick fix?

Yep, a big sticker over the Bell. That will do it!

So finally here is my 1984 Design Line Model 2905:

Note the Bell logo on the handset. Later production runs do not have any logo on them at all. I purchased it at a "AT&T Phone store" in July of 1984 just after getting hired by Western. It serves nightstand duty as it has since purchased.

I hope everyone has a great week!


  1. Well that's cool. the T-39 is made out of mostly leftover circuit breakers from North American Rockwell. I miss that airplane!

  2. @B.- The Saberliner is indeed one cool plane!

  3. My AT&T moment came when an IT operations type (whose name had 12 syllables, 27 consonants, and one vowel) asked whether AT&T had ever used Unix. The guy was born and raised on Mickeysoft Winderz and was, therefore, mostly clueless about everything. I patiently explained to him that AT&T had invented Unix, and that the copyright notice in the original Unix manual said Bell Labs, Greensboro, NC. He allowed as how that seemed unlikely since AT&T was originally created from SBC in Dallas. I asked him if he knew what SBC stands for (Southwest Bell Corporation), and if he knew that AT&T predated SBC by decades. At that point he became huffy and the conversation moved on.


  4. @Steve,

    I don't understand how the company that brought us the transistor and Unix also seems to continually take corporate stupid to new levels!

    1. Don't ever confuse a company's engineering talent (which, in the case of AT&T are some of the best there is) with its management (which, for any corporation larger than about 100 people, is probably going to be dumber than a box of hair.)