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Our Tribute to the Engineering and Science of the Bell System
A famous Bell System Practice parody from 1937
April 1, 1999

The Bell System Practices contained all of the standards and procedures required for the reliable, safe and efficient operation of the Bell Telephone system. They were developed from the detailed study of every business and engineering aspect of the industy.The 2B Regrettor appeared in the late 1930's as a parody on the Practices as well as a depression era political satire. Perhaps Harry Hershey's description taken from the Seventh Edition of his book Automatic Telephone Practice (1954) says it best:

"No one seems to know just who authored the "Regrettor," nevertheless this intriguing bit of nonsense has had a limited underground circulation in the communications field for the past ten or twelve years. It deserves wider distribution and certainly should not be lost to posterity."

With the help of the Internet, it is hoped that Harry's desire will finally be fulfilled beyond his wildest dreams.

The source for this particular HTML document came from a copy of the Seventh Edition of the book Automatic Telephone Practice by Harry Hershey. The book is from the collection of Keith Hlavacs. Scanning, graphics and HTML conversion was done by the TCI webmaster.

We hope that you enjoy our 1999 April Fool's offering.

Paul Wills - Telephone Collectors International

Special EngineeringIssue 1, 4-26-37
Extraordinary ServicesProvisional Standard


For People Who Think They Think

    1. Impedance Range
    2. Response
    3. Selectivity
    4. Output
    5. Circuit Design Considerations
    6. Power Requirements
    7. Mechanical Arrangement


1.11  The No. 2-B Regrettor is a light weight, compact unit, recently developed specifically for use by persons whose capacities for regretting are below normal, or who, due to various activities, have more to regret than can be conveniently handled without artificial aid.

1.12  Through the use of this device it is possible for the user to have his bad moments regretted for him, and he is meanwhile left free to engage in activities which may be regretted later.

1.13  This device may be absolutely depended upon to faithfully regret in accordance with the wishes of even the most talented of bunglers. It is guaranteed to bend every effort to perform its duties, being equipped with a dynamically stabilized microsynchronous effort bender of the cantilever type.

1.14  By means of a simple change-over switch, the No. 2-B Regrettor can be made to rue. Days are the least difficult of all items to rue. To "rue the day" it is merely necessary to set the machine up in accordance with the simple instructions given under OPERATION.

  1. In case there is doubt as to the simplicity of the instructions, see Part 4.

1.15  Provision has been made for the use of the No. D-9445 Anticipatory Converter Attachment in connection with the No. 2-B Regrettor. The combined action of these two units operating in conjunction is such that the Regrettor functions in a negative sense; The net result is essentially that of an Anticipator. The advantages attendant upon such flexibility hardly require pointing out.

  1. This singular effect is explained in Part 3 under CONVERTER ATTACHMENT.

1.16  The No. 2-B Regrettor may be adjusted to give down pangs of regret if such are desired. All frequencies up to 20 pangs per second are obtainable under control of the operator. When the Pang Frequency Control is set on 20 p.p.s. the output from jacks J-10 and J-11 labelled FACETIOUS OUTPUT may be used as ringing current on the drop side of all loops within reach, if desired.

Note: This is what would be known as a Regrettable Incident.

1.17  The No. 2-B Regrettor is designed to fit the No. 221-C Mounting.

  1. This mounting is shock proof and will withstand the impact of the housing of the Regrettor which sometimes produces violent motion when suffering pang regret of high amplitude. Helical spring pang suppressors suitably placed about the frame of the mounting aid in reducing the acoustic shock to a minimum, and serve to protect the tube from damage.


A. Impedance Range

2.11  The No. 2-B Regrettor has been designed to satisfactorily match a wide range of emotional impedance, the actual values of which depend in large measure, of course, upon the temperament coefficient of the user. Where this factor is known to be substantially consistent, the instrument may be relied upon to adequately perform regrets for long periods of time with re-calibration.

  1. Human nature being what it is, however, it is recommended that the instrument be checked at frequent intervals in accordance with the instructions given in part 5 of this Section under "CALIBRATION".

  2. On the other hand perhaps not.

2.12  A chart of the output impedance is given in Figure A, from which may be seen at a glance.

Caution: These values are the imaginary components only. The tabulation of real values is given Figure B. See table.

B. Response

2.13  The response of the No. 2-B Regrettor is substantially uniform over the entire sad gamut of emotional range being less than 2 db down at the perfunctory regret end and 3 db down at the black despair end.

  1. Note: Where a flatter characteristic is desired the Regrettor may be flattered with a 22 type False Praise Lavisher.

    1. Caution: If an A.C. operated 22-C Lavisher is used a filter will be required to smooth out the output.

      1. The action of the Lavisher may be smoothed somewhat by applying a drop or two of non-gumming KS-7415 Guile in the duct provided for that purpose.

2.14  A typical response curve of a properly operating Regrettor is shown in Figure C.

C. Selectivity

2.15  In regard to selectivity, it may be said that the No. 2-B Regrettor affords a fine power of discrimination between regrets differing by as little as a single blue note. In fact, 5 moods off resonance the response is 60 db down.

D. Output

2.16  During the recent lean years, many sluggards have repeatedly gone, not to the ant, but to the earlier types of regrettors which lacked sufficient output power to handle their requirements adequately.

2.17  To fill this crying need, the No. 2-B Regrettor has been designed to handle a maximum output power of 60 watts R.M.S. (Room for More Surges). This is far in excess of the power normally required for ordinary household and industrial use.

  1. It is of interest to note the fact that the No. 2-B Regrettor will withstand excessive overloads for long periods. Preliminary tests were made, in which the Republican Party Inc. and The House of Parliament Ltd. assisted in tests to destruction of the No. 2-B Regrettor. While regretting for the Republicans the test unit operated under conditions of almost 90% overload continuously for 6 months without failure, and this failure was directly traceable to an abnormally high concentration of hot gases and cigar smoke which interfered seriously with proper ventilation.

  2. The results of the preliminary tests with the Parliament people, proved conclusively that the ultimate breakdown point of the instrument far exceeded the requirements of normal use. In this case the operating conditions called for a continuous headache punctuated at intervals by high amplitude pangs. The test was made during a time when there was some question about the British coronary incumbent. The average overload was 72% and failure occurred by corona discharge and flash over in the plate circuits of the output tubes.

E. Circuit Design Considerations

2.18  Spurious or parasitic regrets are prevented by the use of Avrton-Perry windings on the beductance coils. The fact that each turn of wire is doubled back on itself is believed to be responsible in large measure for the low reactance of these coils and consequently for their effectiveness.

2.19  The No. 2-B Regrettor is always to be operated at the highest possible sobbing point. Sobbing point measurements can be made from readings of the non- rectifying type meter on the panel. This meter is of the past mistakes type having 1000 ohs per volt and will give a true indication of how far things have gone.

Note: Under conditions where regrets are desired in the "acheing" range (4.5 to 5.6 moregrets/sec) a slight inherent tendency toward regeneration would set up a violent sobbing condition which might increase in amplitude up to the peak capacity of the tubes were it not for the anti-sob resistors connected in the grid circuits. These effectively damp out all but the "racking" type of sob.

  1. The dampness is controlled by a lachrymal potentiometer conveniently located on the front panel.

2.20  Since certain regrets call for a sustained racking sob condition, provision is made for dissipating the excess energy thus developed in a load circuit made up of four 600 ohm Utter Futility type pads.

2.21  All grid prejudice voltages for the tubes are supplied from a single bias rectifier supply.

F. Power Requirements

2.22  The No. 2-B Regrettor is designed to operate from a 105 to 120 volt 50 or 60 cycle A.C. or D.C. circuit and requires 100 watts.

G. Mechanical Arrangement

2.23  The No. 2-B Regrettor unit is relatively light in weight, moderately small in size, fairly mobile and essentially the type of apparatus known as portable, A typical installation is pictured in Figure D.

2.24  Overall dimensions are approximately as follows:

(a) Width: 24 33/64 inches
(b) Length: 60 63/64 inches
(c) Height: 40 37/64 inches

Note: These dimensions are overall and include the carrying handles.

Caution: The handles are not furnished with the unit and must be ordered separately.

(1) Bronze only is furnished when specified.

Note: Nickel screws only are furnished with handles.

(1) Screws should match the handles.

Note: Screws should be ordered separately.

2.25  The total weight of the instrument including the No. 221-C Mounting and the No. D-9445 Anticipatory Converter Attachment is approximately 1242 pounds, 8 oz., 10 grams, 1 grain.

2.26  Controls are brought out to the front panel for accessibility. For ready maintenance on the interior of the cabinet, the 25 knobs and 15 keys are removed and the front panel is then removed by unscrewing 112 machine screws, and running an oxyhydrogen torch along the edges of the panel.

Caution: Since all wires and component units mounted inside the box are embedded in sealing compound, a trough should be placed below the front panel when it is removed.


3.11  Due to the inherent principle of operation of the No. 2-B regrettor, it assumes a perpetually pessimistic attitude. When the phase of this attitude is reversed, a steady state of optimism is set up. The D-9445 Anticipatory Converter Attachment is virtually a phase inverter. The pessimistic attitude of the Regrettor is reversed through a pi-section network.

3.12  After reversal, the attitude is fed into a Class B attioamplifier which excites a Class C Extrapolater circuit. This extrapolater by means of its dynatronic characteristic of negative resistance, absorbs the output of the attioamplifier faster than it can be supplied, and the net result is that a projection into the future is obtained. This projection amounts to negative regression, which is, of course, the same as anticipation. Figure E illustrates a typical curve of the operation of a regrettor with the Anticipatory Converter attachment.


4.11  The Regrettor should be placed in as bright and cheery a location as possible. Dark, dank corners should be avoided inasmuch as the instrument generally surrounds itself with an atmosphere of gloom and where this cannot be dissipated rapidly, it builds up to an undesirable concentration in the vicinity.

4.12  The maximum ambient attitude should not be allowed to become higher than a medium "pall of gloom". Ambient attitudes higher than this produce a corrosive degenerative effect on the instrument causing its output to drop off, and ultimately the machine will go into a decline and waste away in the manner of an exponential function.

4.13  The Regrettor should be mounted vertically.

a. When mounted horizontally the grid lead resistors cannot drain rapidly enough and the result is as shown in Figure F.

Note: See Figure F.

(1) It is to be understood that this is representative of an average case only.

(a) Average cases are difficult to find.

Note: It is doubtful if such exist.

(1) See Figure F.

4.14  The Regrettor should be turned "ON". Shortly the tubes will be hot, and the Regrettor will be prepared to receive its first assignment.

4.15  The assignment generally used to determine that the set is functioning properly is essentially that of regret at having purchased the instrument. The procedure below would be followed:

  1. Set switch D2 to the "Regret" Position.
  2. Advance "OUTPUT" control to about half full scale.
  3. Rotate the QUALITY dial to the setting marked "PANGS".
  4. Look at invoice reading "Price: $3,145.25, slightly higher west of Kearney, Nebraska".
  5. Observe that the Regrettor has a single high amplitude pang, and note the immediate cessation of doubt and regret at having bought the instrument.

Note: (a) If it is found that following this pang, a wish to buy another identical unit arises, the OUTPUT control was set too high.
(b) If a slight lingering feeling of regret is noticed, the OUTPUT control was set too low.

4.16  The D-9445 Anticipatory Converter should be attached and tested by patching through from jacks marked "ANTIOUT" to "REG. IN." and from "UT. FUT. MON" to "ANT. HYB. IN" and the following procedure carried out:

  1. Advance Regrettor OUTPUT to FULL.
  2. Set QUALITY knob to "ANYTHG CN HPPN".
  3. Turn the OFF-ON switch on the converter to "ON" and observe that the Agastat S-3 picks up.
  4. Rotate the Converter dial marked "TIME" and its Vernier, "HOURS", slowly, and observe the following future trends:

    (1) Skirts will become longer, then much shorter.
    (2) Non-fixable traffic tickets will be fixed.
    (3) The New Deal will conduct investigations.
    (4) Rows of theater seats will continue to be too close together.

4.17  If it is observed that "Hearst prints paper in RED ink", the instruments are defective and should be returned to the manufacturer for adjustment.


5.11  The calibration of the No. 2-B Regrettor is most conveniently checked by the arbitrary values of regret felt on March 15th*. The desirability of the type of regret connected with this date lies in the tact that it is a universal standard, welling up on every hand, and flavored with equal bitterness everywhere. The following procedure is recommended in calibrating the No. 2-B Regrettor.
*(editors note: at the time this document was written, March 15 was the deadline for filing US income taxes)

  1. Set the Regrettor QUALITY dial to ACHEING and leave D-l turned "OFF".
  2. Look at notice from Bureau of Internal Revenue and recall 1936 Presidential Campaign.
  3. Observe dull ache near billfold.
  4. Suddenly turn Regrettor switch D-l to ON and observe that as tubes heat and Regrettor takes up the load, ache near billfold subsides, and a wish is felt to rise and sing first two verses of "We're With You, Mr. President."

5.12  This procedure will accurately check the calibration. If the instrument is found to vary, repeat procedure and reset QUALITY dial to ACHEING.


6.11  From Durand's "Critique of Pure Reason", it can be shown that, given sufficient time, an element dv of the regression characteristic is a periodic function:

Fd(r) = FDR sin t + P2W2A2 (k)

The last term is largely transient as shown by its factor:

P2W2A2 = (PWA) (WPA) x 107

The summation


lim f (P2W2A2) = G. O. P. x 108
t = 1940 AD

The latter half of this expression cancels out, of course, where the bias voltage of the Chief Justice approaches cutoff, and where the ratio 5/4 holds.

since = a constant (Kerr-Plänck constant)


it is clear that

in F. P. C. units (Farleys per cm2)

will be

The tippling coefficient as shown by Haig and Haig


T = K (1 + .00073LV) per cavort which puts the quart before the hearse.

and the regrettor dynamic function is

T x 108 +
This explains why F (r) is essentially not linear.
Knowing , the characteristic can be extrapolated with a fair degree of accuracy to a first approximation.

Hence the gullibility factor () may be increased without limit, and at all times equals the number of what P2 T x 109 Barnum said was born every minute.

The End