Other Wall Phones

There were many other wall phones taken on board by the Australian Post Office at Federation. The State administrations had bought in different brands for different purposes. The PMG kept some in the inventory, and others were dropped as they were finally taken out of service. The earliest reference available to me is a Technician's Handbook from 1914. By this time the APO had a pretty good idea of what phones they were going to keep. The remainder are covered (briefly) in this section. They were not allocated Tele numbers as far as we can determine. For an excellent coverage of these phones , see " History of the Telephone in New South Wales" by Jim Bateman.


Berthon Ader: This French phone appears to have been widely used, especially in N.S.W. It was also used by the Railways. It dates from 1885, but Australian use seems to start about 1890. It was made by Societe Industrielle des Telephones in Paris, Clement Ader's manufacturing company. The phone was an effective performer, and the receiver was particularly sensitive.







Gower Bell: This phone was used by the British Post Office as their standard phone, and it was also used in Australia. Gower Bell phones equipped the first telephone line in Tasmania. It was rather clumsy and went out of use once the Bell patents (which it circumvented) expired.


Photo courtesy Laurence Rudolf






This phone was built in Sweden and later in Britain at the Ericsson / National Telephone Company factory at Beeston. Although it is a modified Ericsson model, it is often called the "National Phone" because of the company's logo. Some were imported in the years just before World War 1, but the model was dropped after the war in favour of the British Ericsson N2500.

There are a number of variants to this style - side handset, pulpit transmitter, etc. Some were pre-1900 imports direct from Ericsson in Sweden. A similar model with a side handset was built by Norway's Elektrisk Bureau for the Kristiana Telephone Company by Ericsson in Sweden, and some of these found their way to Australia to make up the supply at a time of shortage. Just before World War 1 Ericsson was having trouble keeping supply up to demand, and a lot of the Ericsson variants seem to have been imported to fill the gap.

The APO dropped all the early models in favour of the Commonwealth Ericsson, then the British Ericsson after World War 1..









Bell Telephone Manufacturing / Western Electric Blake 3-box Wall Phones

The Model 5722 phone shown here is a typical Bell phone from the late 1800s. The centre box was made necessary because of the size of the Blake Berliner transmitter they were currently using. It was also used to house the later Hunnings receiver. By 1900 most of these had been replaced by two-box phones using the Hunnings or Delville transmitters, mounted inside the bell box, but the old three-box phones continued in service for many years longer. They were sometimes repaired by replacing the Blake transmitter with a specially-designed Ericsson unit.

A twin-box version was made with a wider battery box at the bottom to house more batteries. These were generally called "long distance telephones" and were widely used in Australia and New Zealand, by both the Post Office and the various Railways administrations.

They were made in handset versions as well, but eventually most of the Western Electric handsets were replaced with Ericsson ones on maintenance.

Similar styles of phone are known from Stromberg Carlson, Sterling Telephone & Electric, and Kellogg. Again, see "History of the Telephone in New South Wales" for more detail.




Canadian Independent

Imported from Canada around 1900 by most State administrations. It was closely based on the Western Electric 317 wall phone, and would have been a good substitute at a time when WE and Ericssons were having trouble meeting demand.







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