Today’s photo is from my friend Darrell who snapped this photo at a Mexican restaurant near Rockford, IL. The photo is of a rather worn Meridian M7208 digital set manufactured to work on the Norstar line of KSU’s from Nortel. These are not to be confused with the similar looking M2008 series digital phones that only work on a Meridian One/CS1000 PBX.
The M7208 is an intermediate set usually found at hostess stands, bars, cash registers in retail stores, and school classrooms. The buttons are laid out in a simple 1A2 format reminiscent of the old analog key 1A2 telephones. Line buttons for the Central Office reside on the top, features in the middle and intercom/Handsfree on the bottom. A fixed RLS, Hold and Feature key and a volume bar under the dial pad are the only other extras. The Red hold button is reminiscent of the old blinking Red hold button on a 1A2 set.
Unlike most key system phones of the early 1990s that seemed to contain hundreds of blinking red lights and buttons, the Norstar sets were sleek, clean and simple to use with simple LCD arrow indicators and cleanly labeled feature button caps.
Rather unfortunate, this particular set was probably a gleaming almond white color when new, but time has turned it yellow. The best of these sets were the black sets, which never yellowed and with a Clorox wipe, can look brand new again.