The Western Electric 183G

By Mike Davis

We are looking at a Western Electric paystation, the model is a 183G.  This is a phone that was made in the 1940s for automatic post-pay service. Electrically similar to many other models such as the 193, 210, 212, 168 and others.  Of all those mentioned there is one big difference with this model. That is the cost of a local call, this is a 5 cent phone.  All the rest, even the 168G required a ten cent deposit for a local call.  The upper housing is the same as for most phones  from it's time, the 181 and 182 equipped with a Western Electric 5 cent lead coin chute.  As the other automatic post-pay Western Electric phones a party would lift the handset, listen for dial tone and dial the number wanted then when a second dial tone was heard a coin would have to be deposited to complete the connection.


When a coin was dropped in the slot it would travel down the chute into the hopper where it would cause a momentary break in a connection putting a resistance on the line for a split second.  That would tell the central office that the coin was inserted.  The coin was not held in escrow as in a prepay circuit, it fell directly into the coin box.  There was no way of returning a coin, the only time a coin would be returned was when it was dropped into the wrong slot.  

I want to thank James Cheshareck for hisassistance in completing this article.