Telephone Collectors International
Our Board of Directors
|First Posted June 26, 2013|
Last update Jul 21, 2016
Matt Foley 2017
Saint Paul, Minnesota
I am a lifelong resident of the Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis Minnesota, and I work in the financial services industry. Most of my career has been spent in project and risk management, but in my first job as a network administrator I was in charge of a small PBX. For better or worse it was the one piece of equipment that gave me the least amount of trouble, so I never got to indulge my hobby on the company's dime!
Although I could say my interest in telephony began as a child when I asked for a received a Northern Electric 302 I found in a neighbors basement, I did not begin to seriously collect telephones until I was in college. My passion for history and interest in technology, as well as the satisfaction of completing a successful restoration project, are what drew me into the hobby and have held my interest ever since.
John Mulrane, 2017
I live in Ireland and I started in the phone business in 1964 and trained as a technician with the Irish Post & Telegraphs. Unlike the USA, European telephone networks were run by the Post Office in each country at that time. I specialized in Crossbar Switching (ITT Pentaconta) and also worked on UK type Strowger, Concentrators and Teleprinters (Teletype). I left the Post & Telegraphs in 1977 and started my own company installing PBX's. During the years since I have been involved in a number of other ventures and in 1993 I purchased a Security Wholesale Company which I still own today and I am still involved in the day to day running of it. I have always collected phones and also PBX's. In my home in Ireland I have a 200 line Strowger (UK type) which is connected to CNET. I have recently built a German Strowger Exchange using parts from the GWN (PBX) system and it will soon be connected to CNET. In my hometown of Drogheda I am a member of the Old Drogheda Society and we have a museum which has a small telephone collection on display. I am also a member of the Telecommunications Heritage Group (THG) in the UK. At present I am Vice-Chairman of the THG.
Rick Miles 2017
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 in San Diego. At Indianapolis, we built wire-line phones; at Qualcomm, we build cell-phone chips.
Even though I worked over the years for six non-phone companies (including farming) between Western Electric and Qualcomm, I never stopped enjoying telephony. But now, through TCI, I get to know telephone collectors, a special group of knowledgable, dedicated, and obsessive folks who put unbelievable amounts of work into, and gladly share, their private collections of phones, switching equipment, and other stuff.
In addition to being TCI secretary, I also work on Singing Wires, TCI's newsletter, where I write, edit, and stamp out nits (those tiny little mistakes that drive everyone crazy). My 30+ years as a technical writer are finally being put to good use.
Bill Geurts, 2019
Walla Walla, WA. USA
I live in the thriving farming community of Walla Walla, Washington. I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and have lived most of my life in Oregon, Washington and California.
Phones have been a hobby of mine since the time I was about 14 when my next-door neighbor and I had our own phone system between houses consisting of a pair of Western Electric 500 phones, a battery and a pair of magnetos. The line consisted of many, many lengths of lamp cords, extension cords, inside phone wire and even some drop wire, all spliced together to make for a very noisy connection, especially when it rained. More recently I have been collecting and restoring phones for the last 8 or 9 years and I have been involved as a member of TCI for about 7 years.
Professionally, I am an accountant and I work in the accounting department of a regional commercial bank. For the last 4 years I have organized and hosted the annual Northwest Phone Collector's Show in Seattle, Washington.
Remco Enthoven, 2019
Nijkerk Gld, The Netherlands
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 Netherland's 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 an active member of the Dutch Telecommunications Heritage Foundation. This group consists of representatives from various museums and private collectors, and our main objective is to establish the Dutch telecommunications heritage. I'm a member of other telephone collector organizations like THG in the UK and SIG in Germany, and I am one of the founders and board members of the Dutch Telephone Museum Foundation.
I have been collecting telephones since 1999. I own a small in-house museum with various wood, metal, Bakelite and plastic phones from all over the world, and other telephony related collectables. I'm connected to C*NET and have my own on-line telephone museum as a way to make part of my extensive collection available for others to view and enjoy.
In June of 2015 I moved to the United States to assume the role of the curator at the American Museum of Telephony, also known as the JKL Museum of Telephony, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Disaster struck on September 11, 2015 when the museum and my home burned to the ground in the Butte forest fire in California. Fortunately for me, a decision was made to rebuild the museum. Currently I am busy managing new acquisitions, and preparing and making plans for the new museum.
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.
Russ Kirk, 2018
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.
Chris Mattingly, 2018
I have been a collector of antique telephones and related items since 1974. When I joined the collectors organizations beginning in 1992, the hobby for me really took off. I specialize in switching equipment, manual and automatic, and am co-editor with Doug Alderdice of Switchers' Quarterly. Since 1994 I have worked for Southwestern Bell and its successors, in the equipment rooms on the night shift. Mostly this was on No. 1AESS until digital switch cut-overs thinned the ranks. I still report to the one 1A office remaining here in St. Louis, and I still take care of it.
I am one of the few who work on phone equipment at work AND at home (some of my co-workers think that's weird). My goals for the future of TCI are the same as everyone's, to keep the hobby, the organization, the artifacts and history alive for those involved now and for the future. What we have here belongs in much more than just a history book. As monumental as telephony is, calling across the street or around the world, all this should be preserved AND enjoyed.
Lee Spenadel, 2017
Lee Spenadel has been involved with telephones from the age of 16 where he worked for various interconnect companies and had his own small business in New York City. He has been involved in telecommunications consulting, focused on multi-state tandem networks for banks, to now working for Polycom as a Voice Solutions Architect. His love for telephony has spilled into the VoIP world, which is where he focuses his efforts professionally. His passion is fueled by sharing knowledge, information and encouraging people to get involved in the hobby. He got his start in switching back in 1999 when a fellow TCI member encouraged him to build a Step-by-Step switch. Initially built with two talk paths, 10 stations and two trunks, it has been evolved into a 30 station system, three talk paths, four digit dialing with answer supervision (via coin trunk) to support his 20+ fully restored 3-slot pay phones.
He has built an ITEC electronic SxS PBX, obtained a 755 Crossbar switch and more recently acquired a 200 line plunger switch from Jeff Seidel. He has been very active with C*NET and all of the aforementioned switches are connected to this international VoIP network. His love and fascination of all things telephony has guided his career over the years and continues to fuel his passion for this industry. His goals for TCI include increasing membership, fostering member interactions, and encouraging continued use of TCI services.
Dennis Hock, 2019
I have lived in SE Michigan my whole life. I got interested in telephones at a very early age as my father worked for then Michigan Bell Telephone Co. As a young student I asked my dad to take me out on jobs instead of giving me money for every A I earned on my report cards. Somehow, in spite of company rules to the contrary I found my way onto many Saturday jobs. As with many other members I too wired not only the house but two of my neighbors with "private telephone service".
For 36 plus years I was very fortunate to be able to work in telecommunication for a local energy company providing engineering support for a large 42 switch voice network. One of my big interests is rural telephony and the Independent Telephone Companies as well as the REA, Builders of the Past, Architect of the Future. I am very much intrigued by some of the solutions that were developed to address the rural challenges. I have accumulated a bit of everything, step, key system, and various types of telephones. I have a working AE 22 line PAX and a small 10 line Step by Step system I purchased from another member.
I have recently completed reading, The Master Switch and Exploding the Phone, both very compelling reads. I am currently reading Network Nation.
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.