Posts Tagged mods

1960’s Operator’s Headset modification completed

Posted by on Monday, 14 February, 2011

I actually completed this nearly two weeks ago, but it took me a bit to test, take pictures, and get around to posting them.

Specs: 1960’s era Telephone Operator’s headset. Dual prong 1/8″ RCA plug. Modified to run a Plantronics CT-12 wireless phone and Firefly headset system (with the glowing ‘in-use’ microphone tip).

From the photos, you’ll see I completely re-wired the internals of the headset. I used the Plantronics Firefly headset internals to swap into the operator’s headset, removing the original wiring, mic, and earphone. This left a great deal of space to work with in the ear piece, and surprisingly even more in the mic section. I used an extra foam earpiece as a backing inside the operator’s headset to hold the much smaller speaker in the center of the earpiece. The mic section is wide open and internals are visible through the perforated clear plastic covering, allowing for the red “in-use” LED indicator to be visible.

Once I learned how to wield a soldering iron, making a wiring swap was fairly easy for this project as it was essentially just shoe-horning the Firefly headset internals into the much larger operator’s headset. I retained the wired plug at the end to connect into the CT-12 wireless keypad so I have access to dial/talk/release functionality anywhere in the house. Next up is to find a solution to hide the base-station and antennae. I’m thinking a simple but nice cherry/oak box will hide it with class.

Of course, now I need to focus in on my 1930’s hand-crank office phone. That one is going to be a bit more of a challenge to retain as much functionality as possible and still make it a usable (and by usable I mean with dialing functionality) for daily office use.  To that end I have obtained an older slimline Samsung push-button wired phone from the late 80’s early 90’s which I should be able to shoe-horn into the base of the 1930’s crank. Should be very cool if I can make it work!

Operator, give me information…

Posted by on Friday, 28 January, 2011

Information… give me looooooong distance…

Ok, enough Manhattan Transfer. 🙂 While out antiquing a few weeks back, Jean and I happened upon a particular store which has a small specialty in restored vintage phones; the majority of which have been rebuilt with modern parts to function with today’s phone lines. While I love the idea, I just can’t bring myself to shell out the $200-400 wanted for such pieces, which are more novelty than truly functional due to the minimal feature sets.

So, while out browsing eBay once again, I happened upon a few fun vintage pieces which I looked at and thought to myself, “I could probably hack in some thing to make these functional”. So I bought them, and they’re now sitting in my garage awaiting inspiration to strike. You know, that moment when I can finally visualize how it will all go together. Mind you, I have ideas for each bit, I just haven’t really decided on an overall idea: do I want them to be semi-functional, 110% vintage, and stay wired? Or do I want to go wireless and maintain functionality if not 100% authentic looks. It all really depends on -how- I can make these work for me in my daily job, since I’d love to replace my desktop phone with a vintage hack.

So, until I decide and get a move on, here’s a quick look at the original pieces before any modification. I will, of course, post a write up with full details and photos once/if I complete the project and get a functioning system: