What to do with 1 pair of Western Electric KS-1657

I have 1 pair of Western Electric KS-16575 (made by McIntosh) Mono Block Tube Amps ….
I bought these as part of a pile of old stereo equipment. I was after a Crown 700 series reel to reel, everything else was a bonus. The gentleman was a retired New York Telephone central office technician of 39 year. He got this pair in the early 1970’s as they were being taken out of service and being scraped! He put them in a box and they sat in his attic till this year.
First a little history about these amps. From what I have been able to find out about these amps these were made for about one year in 1957-58. There is a description on Roger Russell’s McIntosh history web site: under KS 16575-L1 (A-125) -
http://www.roger-russell.com/amplif2.htm#ks16575l1 - .
These (and later versions) were used to power intercom systems in Bell System central offices. The gentleman I bought them from confirmed this. They were rack mounted in large “relay racks”. That’s why all the input and output wiring is internal within the amps case, no wiring is sticking out that could be snagged.
I have found 4 different sets of these (2 in the U.S. and 2 in Asia) that have been sold over the last few years and I noticed on them the serial numbers were included in “product info label” printed by McIntosh on the amps. They were all in serial number 1000 and up range. On mine the serial number is left out of the standard product info label and is instead printed off to one side. Mine are number 107 and 108.
I though it odd but I did not really give it more though till I got a reprinted copy of the original instruction manual from Audio Classics. Printed on the front it says for “Serial Number 301 and UP”. This is my theory on why mine is labeled differently, and have talked to some McIntosh gurus and they think it sounds plausible.
My amps came from a large central office in Syracuse NY. There used to be a huge Western Electric facility on Thompson Rd. in Syracuse. McIntosh is about 70 miles south of Syracuse in Binghamton NY. Western Electric needed a large quantity of amps (a couple thousand?). They contract McIntosh to make them either to their own Bell Sys. design or a McIntosh design. They at least specified the input/output requirements and rack mount size that they needed.
So McIntosh starts making them and when they a quantity (100-200-300?) they start sending them to Western Electric in Syracuse to make sure everything is correct. Maybe changes were made along the way or not. Once Western Electric is happy McIntosh cranks out the rest and starting at 301, standardize and finalize the info printed on the amps and print up the final instruction manual.
The first batches Western gets they started putting in “local” offices in the Syracuse/upstate NY area either to test them out or just to start using them. On the inside of my set there is a date, Feb. 02 1958 stamped in standard Bell System print. I believe this is the “in-service date” that they were installed. It may be the date they were made but I have not seen this on the pictures of the other amps I have seen.
So should I sell them or keep them? There are a few reasons why I might sell. First off I’m not a big tube guy and even for tube amp these are very unusual looking do to their rack mounting stance. What you would think of as the bottom is the faceplate. I have come up with some “stand” ideas that would leave everything in tacked but have the tubes facing up were they could be seen. These amps have some minor scratches and there is some surface corrosion in these scratches. If I was to keep them, was looking into have them repainted in the exact grey “hammertone” paint finish to make the look new again. I was also going to have all the labeling copied and then re-silkscreened on when the painting was done.

I told my plans to a McIntosh fan friend of mine and he was mortified! No matter how good of a job I had done it would ruined any value they would have to a diehard collector. Better to leave everything original and sell them to someone who would appreciate them for what they are … rare, all original early McIntosh mono amps. He said if I wanted some “pretty” amps I should buy something newer … OCH!
So my questions is am I crazy to refurbish these or not? I’ve had these a few months now and their kinda growing on me .... but ...
Have you listened to them? If you like them and want to use them then do what you makes you happy. If you are not going to keep them, or only use them for a short time, then I would leave them as is. Bottom line, make sure that they are a keeper before you modify them in any way.
this is a simple question. Just donate them to me. I can make something nice with them. Contact me and give you my shipping address!!
Donate ... I don't think so! Though the more learn about these the more I think they may end up on the "Sell" page. It's probably the best thing to do with them.