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 Western Electric Ringers


Sewing Machine - Automatic Answering Service
"Mirrophone" wire ribbon recorder/player
Telephones - PicturePhone - Bell Chime


If you've ever heard the sound of an old mechanical telephone bell that was used in the telephones prior to the Bell System divestiture, you probably remember how loud they could be compared to today's telephones with those wimpy, sissy, lame, bird-chirping electronic "ringers".  Those brass bells sure got your attention when they rang!

On this page we will be presenting various bells made before the days of the "poor-excuse-for-a-bell" piezoelectric trash we are forced to buy today.  I've included some high-resolution digital photos of bell assemblies and their components.


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P-Type Ringer Information

The "P" type ringer  consists of one steel or brass gong, a lever-position loudness control, a bias spring for adjusting bell sensitivity, a permanent magnet, an electromagnet, a brass clapper ball and iron core for concentrating the magnetic fields.  It was designed to be much more compact than the "C" type ringer for use in the model 2554 wall phone, Princess phone and Trimline phone among others.

The following (slightly edited) was contributed by Rodger Hart, a visitor to this website:

"The Western Electric P-Type ringers were supplied with a brass gong (Western Electric Part #63-A) early on. They have the same general configuration as the steel gong (Part #WE-65-A).

There was also a muted version of the 63-A gong with muting "indentations" stamped into the gong rim in 3 places. (Part #WE-65-B)

Strangely enough, I like the "crisper" ring the 63-A (brass) gong produces over the sound of the 65-A (steel) gong.

I'm proud to say I also have a Western Electric Exeter telephone {1976 model} in brown; (An early version with a cast chromed trim band/internal component mount in tone dial) that I have added a Western Electric P1A ringer WITH the 63-A gong to. (It is still working quite well.)

Also, I believe the 63-A and 63-B gongs came primarily on early P-Type ringers with 5-wire "coil assemblies"."

Identification and Maintenance Maintenance and Ringer Adapter Plates Schematic and Bias Spring positioning Closeup of Bias Spring positioning Table A andBias Spring Position


P-type ringer - The "P" type ringer has only one gong and was used in the model 2554 wall phone, Princess phone and Trimline phone among others.

Dissection of a P3A type Western Electric ringer:

C-Type Ringer Information

The "C" type ringer consists of two brass gongs, a stepped-cam loudness control, a bias spring for adjusting bell sensitivity, a permanent magnet, an electromagnet, a brass clapper ball and iron core for concentrating the magnetic fields.  It was used in the model 500 and 2500 standard desk telephones and the 554 wall telephone among others.

General Information and Maintenance Volume Control, Bias Spring Position, and Inspection Gong types (distinctive tones) Table A - Bias Spring Position Table B - Ringer Tests and Requirements

Below are links to the digital photographs of various parts of the C ringer assembly to help you identify the various parts of the ringer and functions/adjustment:

Strong bias (high notch) position - Use this position if you have "bell-tap" problems.  "Bell-tap" is when a voltage spike on the phone line causes the bell clapper ball to hit one of the bells causing a quick "ding" sound.  Voltage spikes can be from nearby lightening strikes, a rotary dial phone on the same line that is dialing a number, or going on or off hook.

Weak bias (low notch) position - Use this position if you have a lot of phones hooked up to your phone line.  The added loads of many phones weakens the ringer current from the central office so by setting it on the low or weak position, it takes less energy from the central office to make the bell ring.



#7 bells and buzzers are all low voltage AC or DC devices. The voltages are listed in many WECo catalogs. According to catalog 12T for buzzers:

7A = 270 ohms, 14-40V DC, 15-21V AC

7B = 10.5 ohms, 2-6V DC, 4-9V AC

7C = 2.6 ohms, 2-8V DC, 3-8V AC

7D = 15.8 ohms, 4-15 V AC/DC

7E = 105 ohms, 10-20V AC/DC

7F = 682 ohms, 20-60V AC/DC

7A and 7E were typically used in key telephones systems @ 18VAC.

7C was typically used in early 1A key telephone systems without lamps where the only source of power for ICM talking and signaling was (3) #6 dry cells (total 4.5 Volts).

7F is commonly used as an alarm bell in 48VDC PBX equipment.

Note: The above descriptions were provided by Steph Kerman.

7a ringer

7E Bell

Here are some photos of a new-old-stock (NOS) Western Electric 7E bell (or ringer) that I bought on eBay:

Front view of bell

Rear view of bell

Scale showing height of bell in centimeters


Scale showing width of bell in inches


Scale showing depth of bell in inches

Scale showing height of bell in inches (5.5")

Protective cover removed to show electromagnets, contacts, armature, striker arm and screw terminals.

Close-up view of contacts that open and close when bell is operating hence interrupting the current flow.

Click on images below for larger view

BSP sections on ringers:

C-Type Ringers
E1-Type Ringers
F1A-Type Ringers - GIF format or PDF format
I1A-Type Ringers
P-Type Ringers
S1A and S1AM Tone Ringer
W1A Tone Ringer
28A Ringer Isolator
1A Termination Unit
603A Ringing Extender


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