(2) Antique Crank Phone Hack





Introduction: (2) Antique Crank Phone Hack

I have a friend that owns Antique Alley an antique shop on Oahu in Hawai'i.
One day Pak'e sold an old crank telephone, you know da kine, you crank to summon the operator named Sara to ask her to connect you to Sheriff Andy, to a nice old lady that probably remembers Using one.
After the sale the lady stayed a while to talk story with Pak'e, the owner of the store.
It came to pass, during the conversation, that she wanted to use the phone as an extention to her existing phone line.
She did not care if she could use it to call out.
The Pak'e said he knew of a guy that could do the job.......

Enter drbill.

Step 1: Basic Materials:

1 Antique Handcrank Telephone
1 Modern Telephone Handset
Hot Glue Gun
Hot Glue Sticks
Screw Driver
Soldering Iron
2 Hollow Non-Conductive Tubes


Step 2: The Handcrank Telephone:

The 2 screws on the right side of the front panel allow the phone to be opened when un-screwed.

When the phone is open you will notice a very large empty box at the bottom of the phone.

This is where the modern phone will go and where all the wiring will be extended from and to all the various antique phone parts that may or may not work.

This telephone has a handcrank generator that produces _ _ volts that vary with the speed at which it is turned.
It is truly Wild electricity.
There is no battery in this phone.

Step 3: Various Parts (upper Section):

1) The Hand Set
2) The Mouthpiece
3) The Box
4) The hang-up Switch
5) The Capacitor (not used)

And Parts Is Parts.

Step 4: More Various Parts (lower Section):

This section was a large empty space.
It is where the modern phone is installed, connecting wires are run, and hot glued in place for neatness. 
See picture for parts placement.

Step 5: Antique Microphone Exposed:

The microphone is made of metal and Bakelite. The bakelite part is the black cone on the end of the mic arm right in front. Take it in your hand and turn it counter clockwise. Use no tools it will break.

Put it in a safe place where it wont fall. It is a brittle as glass.

The internal mic must be removed to install a modern mic as the old one will not work with the modern phone.

See the pictures for detailed removal instructions......

Step 6: The Modern Microphone Install:

As you make your connections make sure that your wires are long enough to be routed and glued down neatly in bundles. Makes for a nice clean, professional looking job.

Step 7: The Hand Set:

Unscrew the cup you put to your ear. Inside you will find the speaker. Pull it out. See the notes on the pictures for further dis-assembly.


The wire insulation is white. This is the asbestos. If you spray it with a clear craft spray you will make it safer as the asbestos will be less likely to turn to dust and fly around into your lungs after you coat it with the spray.
When you do this you are encapsulating the asbestos. Encapsulation is not perminant.

It is best to replace the wire with something safer and newer. Do not take chances.

Step 8: Wire Routing:

Try to route your wires in bundles so that you end up with a nice professional looking job.
Maybe you have seen a wire harness from a car where all the wires are tied with string or zip ties?
That is what you are looking for.

Gee..... This sounds like it could be another instructable........Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel !



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I'm interested - the wood doesn't look antique, the hinges look very cheap and not antique, I see no dial, the bells don't look right - is this an antique phone or a repro / hash of old &new?


OK Lemonie. The crank phone is old. It is an antique.

It would it be one where you had to get the operator to dial for you? Any idea how old it it?


My guess?  "It it" circa 1900.

Well, first off, I'm akamai.  Second off, from my extensive knowledge of Hawai'i's trade winds, Honolulu's extensive communications history, and can converse in pidgin (er...  Actually, I'm horrible at pidgin...  I can, however, speak pigeon...  Coo! Coo!), I can deduce that--


FINE!  I just read patent date on the phone...  HAPPY?!  HAPPY?!

Yeah, you're probably not.

I think it says (under schematic, left hand, bottom corner):
APR 30, 1907
[I can't read this line]"

I am very happy.
I did not own the phone.
I got Payed to do the hack.
I got special recognition on Instructables.
I cannot believe the number of hits it gotten.
I did it in a non-destructive way.
Last but not least all the original parts were saved out in case it wanted to be restored.

Yeah. I am Da Kine Happy. lol

If you didn't use alligator clips to make your connections, you ruined the phone.

I have restored about a dozen Kellogg and such crank phones. There is special cotton-covered wire to use, correct color wire to use, etc. Anything else simply diminishes the worth of the phone.

And there are PLENTY of NOS and OEM parts available for all of these phones...

Hacking something that is near worthless is one thing. Destroying something of worth is something else...

That was smart of you to save the original parts. Often you can just wire an old phone right up to your phone line and it will work fine, as the point-of-use interface has been kept backwards compatible for 100+ years. It should even ring!

You can even dial on a phone without a dial/keypad by toggling the switchhook; this is how rotary phones work. So to dial 411 you go bang-bang-bang-bang (wait) bang (wait) bang (wait). 0 is 10 bangs.

Ring voltage is now generated by the telephone company rather than your hand-crank dynamo. I'm not sure what would happen if you generate the 90V on your end but the system can certainly handle it.

Her name is Sara in the USA.

This reminds me of the old phone that my dad had reworked... inside it had a normal cordless phone that was connected in a way that allowed the old ringer to still ring when a call came through... seeing this makes me want to re-create it and make it better.... now only to find an old phone, or at least some old phone parts and some old wood....