Save the Phones!

Every year countless old telephones are lost to posterity.
Many forgotten phones are relegated to the shredder or landfills.
Some perish tragically through senseless shipping accidents.
You can help!
AE 34 broken handset
Damaged in Shipment.  Handset was resting on cradle.
(Guideline 1)

Please help!
If you want to place an orphaned phone, or repair a damaged phone, please contact us.
We will help find it a new home or restore it to health.
 If you are planning to ship an old phone, please follow these...
Shipping Guidelines:
   1. SEPARATE THE BASE AND HANDSET:  Never ship a phone with the handset sitting on the cradle!

   2. REMOVE OR PROTECT ANY PROTRUDING PARTS:   For example, things like magneto handles and bakelite transmitter mouthpieces should be unscrewed (counterclockwise).   Candlestick hookswitches should  be protected by a cardboard tube or lots of firm padding.

    3. WRAP AND PAD EACH PART SEPARATELY:  Use several layers of large-bubble bubble wrap or other thick padding material.  Bakelite and Princess phones should NEVER be padded with paper.  Paper is a poor choice of padding material for phones, as it does not absorb shock well.  Flat paper transmits most shock directly to the item. Crumpled paper is not strong enough to cushion heavy phones - it compresses when the item is dropped.  Padding that traps air works best -- bubble wrap with one inch bubbles or thick foam seem best for phones.

    4. TAPE THE PADDING AROUND EACH PART, so it won't come off during transit.  Make sure all parts of items are protected, such as the ends of handsets and the sides of Princess phone bases.  (Masking tape or other easily removable tape permits recycling of materials.)

   5. TAPE ALL PARTS IN THE SHIPMENT TOGETHER, so they won't hit each other when the shipper throws the box around.  (No need to "mummify" it.  A few tape strips work fine.)

    6. Use a LARGE, HIGH QUALITY, CORRUGATED shipping container.  Allow several inches for padding on all six sides of the item!

    7. FILL THE BOX FIRMLY WITH FIRM PADDING MATERIAL.  UPS recommends several inches between the item and all six box sides for fragile items, in case the box is punctured. Styrofoam or other material can be used here.  Large air filled padding is risky -- especially if made of relatively thin plastic.  If even one or two sections are punctured, the item can bounce around inside the box.  Please use bubble wrap instead.


Put a copy of the shipping label with the destination and return addresses inside the box -- just in case.  Then seal the box.

    If shipping items of different weights in one large box, put the lighter, more fragile item in a cardboard box to protect it from the larger item. 
    Jim recommends making padding "pillows" when shipping larger items by filling plastic bags with styrofoam peanuts.  This helps keep the mess under control, and they can be easily reused.

For UPS recommendations, see  http://www.ups.com
and search for "packing guidelines," "my packaging"
or the "Packaging Advisor"


For a page to print only these guidelines and some money saving tips, click here.
Help unwrap a well packed phone -- click here.

View more photos of shipping damage
--  click here.

WE Celebrity - broken neck
Damaged in shipment. Handset fastened to cradle.  Insufficient padding.  Box was undamaged!
(Guidelines 1,2,4,7,and 8)

Some folks in the past have assumed phones are indestructible and just tossed them in a box with a little newspaper and called them well packed.  I've also been told, "But I marked it 'Fragile' and paid for insurance, so they should have taken better care of it."  We all know that the shippers don't transport the boxes around gingerly on satin pillows.  They work fast to get them to us in two days.  Boxes are thrown, things get dropped.

Unfortunately, phone cases will crack in shipping if not well padded.  Bakelite and Princess phones are especially vulnerable.  Many of the phones that arrive damaged arrive in UNDAMAGED boxes!
Insurance only helps if the phone is lost, totally destroyed or properly packed.  If there's minor damage and I file a claim, the phone usually goes to the carrier and ends up in a landfill.  I prefer to preserve it as an interesting piece of old technology.  I'd really rather have the item intact, than an insurance claim or repair problem.  Also, if the carrier examines the box and packing material and find it wasn't packed to THEIR standards, they don't pay or take a year to settle.  FedEx uses the term "declared value" instead of insurance to help customers realize they aren't really getting broad insurance coverage to protect them in all cases.  Read the terms on their site (www.fedex.com ).  
I've sent and received thousands of phones and other fragile items.  Dozens of other collectors with even more experience have contributed to these guidelines.  When the guidelines above were followed, there has rarely been any damage whatsoever!  Even when boxes have arrived dented and bashed!

Box with dented corner
 Damaged box -- Phones arrived safely!  

Thanks for your help!
Thanks for reading this far.  I'd appreciate any help you can give to maximize the probability of receiving the phone intact.  If you have any additional hints, please send them along.

If you'd like to see more photos, please click here.   I hope you don't get one in email, after the phone you ship arrives!


Permission is granted for any site with an interest in safely shipping phones to link to this page.
Please use this link:  http://www.paul-f.com/SaveThePhones/


Comments and additions are welcomed.

Email address -
            NOT Clickable
2000-9, Paul-F.  All rights reserved.