Telephone No 31 (Geelong)

This was the first automatic phone used in Australia, introduced in 1912. It is known to collectors as the "Geelong" phone, after Australia's first auto exchange. It was cheaply built, painted black to reduce finishing costs, and had Strowger's distinctive "Mercedes" dial . It was bought from Automatic Electric in the United States rather than their British counterpart, Automatic Telephone Manufacturers. ATM was still building their factory in Britain. Later supplies of exchange equipment and phones were sourced from Britain, and this phone was replaced by the British-designed Type 37.

The phone had no induction coil and used the line current to polarise the magnet in the receiver, and this gave rather poor results in use. Eventually an Instruction was issued that they not be used more than a mile from the telephone exchange. The dial was slightly smaller than the British dial, although some phones were later modified to take the larger model. Note the "A" cutout in the end of the switchhook. This was seen on earlier phones. It did not, as is widely supposed, stand for "Australia", but for Automatic Electric. It is seen on early U.S phones as well.

 

Telephone No 33 was the same phone, fitted with a control lock. The problem of unauthorised calls was apparently a very early one.

Telephone No. 35 was the same phone modified for party line working.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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