Telephone Collectors International
Our Board of Directors
|First Posted June 26, 2013|
Last update Jul 2, 2022
Joshua Alberts, 2024
I have been interested in telephones for as long as I can remember. In my teenage years, the magic of the internet gave me the opportunity to start learning about how telephones and telephone switching systems actually work. I had no way of knowing that I was beginning what is shaping up to be a lifelong journey to learn about how we got from the very first telephone to where we are today. Being a member of TCI has accelerated and facilitated very much of my learning and interest. I very much value what the club as a whole has done for me, as well as the contributions that individual members have made to my personal growth and development. I am pleased and proud to serve as a member of the Board so that I can help be sure that TCI serves the current and future needs of its members and helps to achieve its mission to educate the public and to preserve the history of telephony. At this point in my journey I am primarily interested in switching systems, and I have built a step-by-step system which I have connected to CNET. None of that would have happened if not for TCI, but that's a whole story in itself! I currently work in IT for a healthcare company, and in addition to this hobby my other interests include hiking, photography, cycling, and riding motorcycles.
Dennis Hock, 2025
I am a past President of TCI. I worked for some 36 years in Telecom, have been a member of TCI for 34 years since its inception and collect a bit of everything. A particular interest is researching rural telephony - - especially understanding the details of how service was extended into rural areas of the country. I also enjoy penning stories of my adventures in telecom for publication in the TCI Singing Wires newsletter.
I enjoy engaging in spirited group discussions when I have something to contribute, and feel good when we discover and share new sources of information. Finally I am on C*Net, the Collectors Network.
Rick Miles 2023
San Diego, CA. USA
My first job in telephony was as a thin-film engineer at the Indianapolis Works of Western Electric; my last job was as a technical writer/manager for Qualcomm (maker of cell-phone chips) in San Diego. Western Electric Indianapolis made ALL the telephones for the Bell System.
Even though I worked for six non-telephone companies between Western Electric and Qualcomm, I never stopped enjoying telephony. Now, through TCI, I get to know telephone collectors, a special group of knowledgeable, dedicated, and obsessive folks who put unbelievable amounts of work into, and gladly share, their private collections of phones, switching equipment, and expertise.
In addition to being TCI secretary, I also work on Singing Wires, TCI's newsletter, where I write, edit, and stamp out typos. Finally, I get to put my 30+ years as a technical writer to good use.
Russ Kirk, 2024
I have been in telecommunications for over 30 years. I started with Pacific Telephone as a PBX installer in those pre-divestiture days. I presently work for AT&T as a wireless engineer. My love for phones goes way back to my pre-teens when I tinkered with my parent's home phones. I remember when my dad placed a phone dial lock, which I still have, to keep my sister from making so many calls. I taught her how she could fiddle with the switch hooks to make a call which certainly upset my parents. That event was the start of my love for telephones. In my early years, my desire for collecting phones was limited due to raising a growing family. Now in my older years, I have been concentrating on expanding and growing my collection and knowledge of telephones.
Jim Churchill, 2023
I am retired from 35 years of working in two 9-1-1 centers. My interest in phones began in college where I became friends with the PBX operator. My senior year in college, I worked part time for a helicopter company and became the evening PBX and Telex operator receiving calls and Telex messages from all over the world.
I began my 9-1-1 career in a small PSAP and was there when basic 9-1-1 was installed in the mid 1970's. I moved to the largest PSAP in the northwest at the City of Portland and became a call-taker, dispatcher, trainer, supervisor, and finally technical support for the Computer Aided Dispatch computer and the 9-1-1 telephone system.
After I retired, I began collecting telephones in earnest, building my own Asterisk server, and now have 96 FXO/FXS ports which allow me to connect to C*Net users. My focus is key telephones and I am very fond of Western Electric Call Directors and my 555 cord switchboard. My seven year old grandson is a keen telephone fan and we often have telephone games. I have been fortunate in assisting with various museums in the United States.
I have helped install and maintain a SXS system at the JKL museum, built a display of over 500 telephones in Waikiki, Hawaii, and assisted wiring and operating multiple switchboards in Rockland, Massachusetts. I continue to learn various restoration techniques and am eager to share with new younger members and to support the TCI values and goals for the future.
Alan David, 2024
I first started collecting telephones as a teenager in 1983 when I came across some Deco-Tel phones with GTE guts outside a business near my home. I also became interested in switching about the same time when I aquired the book "Basic Telephone Switching Systems", which gave detailed descriptions of Step by Step switch components, mostly using GTE drawings. Between this information and a will to tinker, I built a small, very simple switch to serve my parents' house. This also explains my love of GTE and Automatic Electric, even though I grew up in a Bell System served area.
When I bought my first house, I revisited my desire to have a small telephone system. Searching for parts and information led me to start a membership with TCI around 2000, mainly due to the Switchers' Quarterly newsletter. I found the information very valuble, leading to the formation of the "MADhouse Telephone Company", a 200 line Automatic Electric Step by Step System. As I gain knowledge, I share it, having written several articles for Switchers' Quarterly and Singing Wires.
I explain my interests as "old electro-mechanical systems". This covers my interests in old trains, ships, signal systems, telephones, and other things. I was a trolley operator at a museum in Southern California for 8 years, but my job as a truck driver prevents me from being anywhere on a regular basis. So now I meet up with friends as I travel, and do volunteer work when and where I can while laid over. I also take phone projects with me to work on while out on the road.
Valerie Flores, 2025
I started collecting when I was seventeen years old. I was a junior in high school at the time, and my favorite class was AP US History. I liked it so much that I was always ahead by one chapter by taking notes prior to class. Because I already knew what the teacher was talking about during class, it allowed me to re- search things that I found interesting. While my teacher was talking about the Louisiana Purchase, I looked up 'Bell' since I knew he invented the telephone. From there, I fell down a rabbit hole and began to learn about the telephone system specifically the Bell System which was completely foreign to me. I attended my first TCI show that year and purchased a green 702B and began to tinker with it. I had never seen a princess phone before, and I knew nothing about relays or even the name of any of the components.
Now, three years later, there are still many things to learn and collect! My favorites in my collection include a very special black refurbished 702B, and my very first 702B which I purchased from the JKL museum. Despite never being on a board, I believe that I can offer some valuable skills. I am confident with social media, specifically Tik-Tok, and have informed many people my age (about 32,000) about the hobby of telephone collecting. I've also volunteered with the U.S. Army and assisted them with their extensive archival process, and I believe that my computer skills can assist with the process of archiving material for future generations. I am currently a tax intern for a small local firm in Monterey, California.
Dag Ståle Karlsen, 2023
I am a Norwegian, born 1963. Today I live outside Oslo in Hakadal where we went from magneto to rotary in 1974.
My relation to telephones started in 1971 when my father's friend working for the telco "Televerket" brought me two magneto telephones. Still I did chose to be a mechanical engineer. The only American project I have been involved with is the bridge between Oakland and San Francisco where I designed the control system of electro-hydraulics for the compression of the main cable for the east span. Now I work as a teacher in science and math at one of Oslo's high schools (Hersleb VGS). That helps me to keep a fresher mind so I will not retire before I have to. During my hobby I discovered C*NET and Ian Jolly helped me a lot. Later I got a mechanical PAX from 1946 and got lots of help from Ian and Steph Kerman. I like to fiddle and get things working. Through TCI I have learned a lot from Ralph Meyer's columns. When it comes to collecting, I have about 100 phones from 1898 to 1982, some exchanges, some military telephone equipment etc. All this has linked me to the National Telephone Museum, now a part of the Museum of Science. Even though I feel I have a modest knowhow, I'm sometimes able to help them and feel honored by that. Actually I love to help solve technical problems.
Joshua Meyers, 2025
My name is Joshua Meyers of Kimberly, Wisconsin, I grew up in Mercersburg, PA and started collecting telephones when I was about 7. My collection has grown over the years to around 200 telephones, including 1A1 key equipment and several Call Directors, also several wood wall phones. My favorite phones are the Stromberg Carlson 1543 and 1553 along with the Ericofon. My goal is to have phones that work and not just look pretty.
I began my career in Telecommunications in 1997. My partner (Mike) and I moved to Wisconsin in 2017 when I took a position at AIT Business Technologies as a Senior Telephone Engineer.
I originally found out about TCI from a story WGAL Channel 8 ran about the Lancaster TCI Show, I attended that show and joined as a member of TCI, I attended the Lancaster show yearly until moving to Wisconsin. Along with TCI, and attending the Lancaster show, I have been to the Cincinnati (Erlanger) show and Mattoon, IL I am also a member of the ATCA and have attended the Shipshewana show as often as I can
I started my career in telecommunications almost 30 years ago. I worked for KPN, a huge Dutch/Netherlands corporation that provides most of the PSTN, ISDN, VOIP and mobile phone service in the Netherlands. I worked in the department that manages most of the Netherlands' transmission of cable and other television and radio signals. Before I started working at KPN, I had a four-month internship at the Dutch national telephone company and served one year in the Dutch army signal corps. I am one of the founders the Dutch Telephone Museum Foundation.
For the past five years, I have been employed as the curator of the JKL Telephone Museum in northern California. I am proud to say that I have played a significant role in the re-establishment of the JKL Museum after the original museum was totally consumed by fire in September, 2015, just two months after I arrived to assume the role of curator.I have been collecting telephones since 1999. I own a small in-house museum in the Netherlands with various wood, metal, Bakelite and plastic phones from all over the world, and other telephony related collectables.
The people I meet are what I enjoy most about our hobby. Some have become close friends and many have been of great help to me. I am very committed to TCI and would like to continue to provide my services as a board member in addition to my other TCI roles as one of the webmasters, online librarian, and editor of Singing Wires.
The Membership Chairperson has been an appointed position the past ten plus years, which provides stability in this important role. The volunteer in this position is primarily responsible for processing membership renewals on an annual basis, enrolling new members, and keeping the membership database up to date and accurate. In addition, the position has for well over ten years included the packaging and mailing of the monthly newsletter. For the past several years I have also been a member of the editorial group who publish our newsletter, Singing Wires.
Westford, MA. USA
I am a member of the Singing Wires Editorial Board, author, administrator of the TCI Library, participant in the Classic Rotary Phones Forum and developed the web site, www.paul-f.com. Much of the info on the site came from collaboration with countless collectors since 1997, and demonstrates the power of volunteering a few hours a month over a long period of time with a vision and a common purpose.
My collecting "hot button" is studying evolutionary product trends that are evident from detailed examination of sets, plus the technical and marketing documentation produced throughout the product's life cycle. The interest was sparked by tinkering to build a phone patch for my amateur radio station in the 1960s, when parts were traded "under the table" at hamfests. The collection grew slowly until the internet made it possible for us to communicate at warp speed. It now encompasses mainly Bakelite sets thru the WE Design Line series, plus BSPs and other documentation and working demo 1A2, Comkey 416 and Merlin systems. A favorite area of research is WE prototypes and field trial sets from the 1930s to 1960s.
Falling Waters, WV. USA
John is a longtime member of TCI who had involvement with the shows for many years as a planner, registrar, and inspiration to the rest of the show hosts. Of his many contributions, one that stands out is the on line show registration site that he and Kirt Stanfield developed.