Almon Strowger filed his patent for the dial in 1891 and by the early part of the century, the Automatic Electric Company's dial exchanges were rapidly expanding.
The Bell System eventually saw a future in the dial and purchased a license to manufacture a dialing apparatus. In January 1919, Western Electric began production and on November 8, 1921 the first Bell System large machine switching exchange was put into service in Norfolk, VA. The telephone used with this new system was the Western Electric 50AL desk stand featuring a number 2A external finger stop dial. This all brass desk stand is similar to the non-dial 20AL and 40AL phones except that the shaft had been moved off center of the base to accomodate the dial. The 50AL was replaced with the 51AL which was identical in external appearance. The 51AL has a three wire internal harness rather than the four wire of its predecessor.
The Western Electric candlestick phone was manufactured and remanufactured throughout the 1930's even after the introduction of the handset desk stands (W.E. 202 phone) of 1929.
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