2023 Site Update!

In the last few months, just in the midst of the 10 year anniversary… TMOT is being completely rebuilt as an archive of work created from 2012 to 2019. During this time, major changes to the direction of the archived site has occurred, and there will be crackdowns to abusers of this platform that took years to build.

In late 2022, TMOT moved hosts from one cloud to another. The domain for a while was a sub-domain but has been at clickford.net/telephony and is expected to be it’s permanent home on the Web for the distant future. (So you can bookmark it.) No present certificate, but that’s a work in progress.

In life, there should be some hard boundaries:

  • The direction of TMOT is mostly on the subject of telephony on an individual level. Devices like private branch exchanges and key telephone systems are cornered-off to separate sections on the site. Why? Because we do not celebrate allaboutism, meaning all you care about is PBX systems, Avaya PBX systems, Avaya Red PBX systems after 2002, etc.  Because I was too open it backfired. But it’s not to say the history of telephone networks shouldn’t be excluded. Many of the innovations from on premise systems could be applied to modern day, but in the VOIP world, that has been raped by allaboutism. (And despite it being on a self-hosted WordPress – THIS NOT a “web-log” or “blog” – thanks much!)
  • Multiplatform approach. While the iTheme focused on the persona, it was time to make it easier for any device, and any platform. So now the site is reactive to whatever device and resolution you’re consuming
  • Cellular friendly photos. Now compressed and fits under a megabyte, makes it easier for people on the go… why the hell did Joe The UCX Guy not get that?
  • Any advice on modern day systems (made after Y2K including VOIP, Cisco and Asterisk is on my personal site… ahem not related to any of my existing clients or employers) again to keep a boundary of what TMOT should be.
  • Any present day rants, has been removed
  • The Facebook fan page has migrated to a Facebook group to build a community, a healthy and trusted one.

Like on WordPress.com, the accidental success on TMOT was the Search Engine Optimization; and in the coming months in the final work to finish the archiving, will be ensuring people get what they are searching for.

Follow up: AT&T Merlin

In February, I had made a series of posts on the subject of the AT&T Merlin. There was a meaning behind this. One was I had acquired two BIS and a 34 button set in the fall of last year.


The other was I was in the process to acquire at Merlin unit. I was building all this up to a big post sometime in the mid winter, that turned up to be a big smoke.

I mean literally too..

In February I acquired a Merlin 410 control unit, from an Etsy seller as this was a vintage equipment. I received this on President’s Day. The video rolling was originally going to be an unboxing, and as a result, it quickly became a documented situation to prove beyond a reasonable doubt I received this $88 item defective.

The following day, after the house had some bad fumes for part of the previous day, I then took it to the garage and it fumed up one last time.

By May, the system was working without much hassle. I still assume the system could blow up at any time, and still presuming the system is not fully operational. 

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Stromberg Carlson 1543 Wall Telephone

This was an addition in 2018 from someone on the Telephone Collector’s International Facebook group who offered to sell these as-is sets.

It has not worked yet. It’s the most vintage of all my vintage telephones. As of this writing, I tried to get it to work this past weekend, but still to no avail. The earpiece (the receiver) was easy to unscrew and open, but the mouthpiece (the “transmitter”) is still sealed shut.

It’s so vintage, that the handset cable is not coiled.

It was likely made in the middle of the 20th Century.

S.C. made some interesting industrial designs; meaning that this wall set was actually designed to be desk mounted, but with a couple of do-hickeys, flip the dial over, and the set could be hung on a wall.

Their approach to wiring was radically different to Western. The “network” didn’t use confusing letters. The same screws used to hold the shell, was used to hold the spade, a soft, rounded flat-head screw.


In fact this set had some hidden documentation literally inside the set, which on an August 2019 weekend, more than a year after I acquired the set came to my surprise.

This isn’t the only S.C. telephone in my possession.  There is another one too.  You’ll have to wait and see for that one.



POTD: Western Model 500 Rotary Telephone

a picture of a Western Electric 500 Rotary set

Today, out of nostalgia, here is a recently acquired Model 500 telephone taken this past month but acquired in April 2016.

In the fall of 2017, Hurricane Maria made her strong presence leveling out Puerto Rico. My hairdressers parents moved from New Hampshire to Georgia to then move from the state to a territory just about a year before. While their home wasn’t totaled like what was seen in the media, reaching out back to the mainland was difficult, as cellular service was completely knocked off.

Since I had many, and it was asked by her parents for an “old rotary” set, I had some extras. However, I had a few that were actually not working.   After constant swapping, and being a bit slow, I wasn’t able to sell it to her at a discount. So this stayed in the collection.

I ruled out the “network” on the other black colored 500 set, was the culprit. I discuss it here, and a Facebook Live from last fall as well.

I have been talking to long lost family on my paternal side for the first time in literally ever in my life. One of the members I had video chatted on Messenger, remembered this type of set; and her children (or my blood cousins) are not old enough to remember or even understand this antiquated technology. Of course as you know my household from 1987 (remember the world begins when you’re born right? ;)) to 1996, my maternal grandmother’s house (where I also lived till 2010 ) had a green colored wall mount Model 554 which was my first exposure to the technology.

Hence why this site has been running for the most part since 2012. 🙂

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POTD: AT&T/Avaya 26B DXS Module

More of part two than anything else, for the reason that this device came with the CallMaster I got a couple years ago. Despite the size and dimensions and other similarities, they cannot work together AT ALL.

This had not worked until I got a 302B in early 2017. Wether the 302B will work is still uncertain because it came in a sketchy condition when I received it in that same time.

These “lamps” lit up like a tree because I applied power before plugging them into the four wire DCP port.

This module is called the “Direct Extension Selector” or DXS. It also serves as a classic Direct Station Selector or DSS. What makes this module unique, is the Hundreds Selector. The row 20 buttons below the numbered buttons, is almost like pages. So if you have a 4 digit dialing plan, “31” would be the “3100” range, 32 would be “3200” range. (Ironically these were original to the module, 3100s have been the range for my museum wall for a while; actually the button at “31” is actually “2” because the dialing plan in the house is 3 digits, so for the handful of 200s would be labeled “2” If you have a five digit plan, the numbers would be 3 digits. For 52655, that label would have to be “526”.

Early on in the System 75 PBX era, there were only about 8 to 10 buttons, then later models had up to 20 HGS, short for the Hundreds Group Selector, since the port counts went up as the Definity G1 and G2 grew.

Other vendors have similar modules, and even in the Avaya world, since smaller ends are totally separate technologically than the larger PBX. In the ol Nortel world, they had DSS for their 2250 Attendant console, but it only had up to 100 stations. If you wanted to monitor a bunch of sets, there was this LCD screen that was very ahead of it’s time (the idea that is) but it really wasn’t that easy to manage.

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POTD: Avaya CallMaster IV

Today’s Phone of the Day is a retake of the CallMaster IV terminal for the use of Avaya enterprise grade PBX systems. These are not telephones, and they are not attendant consoles and while there is an apparent resembelence of the Call Director, these sets would not be used for “answering centers” since Voice mail had taken many of those roles anyways.

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POTD: Polycom VVX 310 SIP Telephone

This is a revised post of the VVX SIP sets I got from the street of a business that relocated in fall of 2016. I was able to tell that they were using Comcast’s SIP services by looking at the config screens. Of which, I do not prefer if I wanted to use a cloud phone system with less than 20 phones. Security wise, it scares me. I recently acquired some SIP phones for work purposes, and they came from second hand complete with a Ring Central handle and password. The seller is lucky I wouldn’t do anything illegal like toll fraud. I always recommend SIP Proxy services when possible. SIP Proxies are basically the modern day “splitter” since VOIP is all software base. Even Free and Open Source Software can do this for free on existing store-bought routers.

Complete with the 6 call appearances, line appearances, but only up to 6! and 4 softkeys that can only go up to 4 features! Also a Gigabit connectivity is great if you want speed without sacrificing using Fast Ethernet.


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POTD: Avaya 9650 IP Deskphone

This little fancy gadget is the 9650 IP Deskphone from Avaya. Introduced in 2006, to replace the 6 year old 4600 Series; these phones were initially thought of as clones to Cisco given some of the similarities. This was also Avaya’s first sets to move away from the simple to use user interface, to the flip phone like functionality (to change ringers, you do not press Conference when idling, and most one touch features doubled or doubled in a half.) Sadly the legacy AT&T, then Lucent to become Avaya’s simple, telephone line focused digital or IP sets were never applauded. (This is why I rave this company I used to kinda favor.)

In 2008, similar paper-desi sets came along as the 1600 Series, and digital sets 9500 and 9400 series and 1400 series for paper desis. In the Avaya world, people like to choose to express how they want to assign their buttons. In color and their own words. Some sets that use screens instead do not allow the systems administrator to use their own form of assigning buttons. If you want to put blame, blame the customer, but remember the customer is the one whose right, not the vendor at least in traditional American business norms.

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