That initial success prompted Ron to purchase more phones, which we rapidly sold. Eventually we branched out to include various magneto, dial, and nondial phones. Then we realized there is also a market for parts. Because we could not fill all the requests for originals we decided to have reproductions made from our designs. With Ron’s background in industrial arts, we were on pretty safe ground concerning wiring and refinishing. What we didn’t know, we learned along the way. The time came when our part-time work required full-time hours so Ron retired from teaching to work full time in our new business. Phoneco, Inc was launched!
Since that time we have gone from kitchen table to a four-level building in downtown Galesville. Ron concentrates on part of the work in a barn at our nearby farm where he has a small crew to help him, while I head up the order and supply business downtown along with about 40 employees. In 1981 we received our FCC registration so we are licensed to test, repair, and register any telephone that passes the FCC test.
Our downtown building includes several departments including painting, polishing, rewiring, repairing, sorting, and shipping. Our office includes several women who take phone orders plus help customers who need extra information concerning parts.
An important service we offer is phone restoration and repair. We have literally repaired hundreds of phones for grateful customers. Every week we receive letters from people who tell us they never thought they could have their parents’ or grandparents’ phones restored to working condition. It gives us great satisfaction as well to have a nice old phone restored to its former charm and become useful again. Working with old phones is almost a labor of love. All of our employees enjoy seeing shabby old phones become objects of pride. After hours of loving care these phones once again become welcome objects in many homes. Often the owners say they can’t believe it’s the same phone.
For those who’d rather work on phones themselves we have a full line of parts (cords, mouthpieces, networks, bells, housing, etc.) for phone repair. We also sell in quantity for dealers and telephone collectors.
We are proud that we furnish phones to many television, stage, and screen production services. Coming soon, our phones can be seen in the movie Cadillac Records starring Beyounce. Other movies include, The Good German, The Good Shepherd, Seabiscuit, Starsky & Hutch, American Gangster, All the Kings Men, Get Carter, Dvinie Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood, Chicago, From the Earth to the Moon, Cradle Will Fall, Jumangi, Bridges of Madison County, JFK, Jingle All the Way, and many others. Chances are, when period phones are used in any production, they originally came from Phoneco. If you are interested in our rental agreement please call 608-582-4124.
Last year we had the distinction of participating in the 19th International Telecommunications Union Conference in Switzerland. Our old phones were just a part of the huge demonstration of the communication industry. We were pleased and honored to play even a small part in that conference.
19813 East Mill Road · PO Box 70 · Galesville, WI 54630