In Australia this phone is known as the "British Ericsson". The term covers the Model N2500 and the many varieties that descended from it. The principal models are:
35MW: Early Ericsson transmitter and decorative mount, as shown at left.
135MW: This was upgraded to the Solid Back transmitter around 1920, then to the bakelite Inset transmitter
235MWH: Renovated to a handset version.
765AWH: Auto wall phone with generator signalling for auto party lines.
There were many varieties within this range as the phones were modified and upgraded throughout their long life.
The phone was introduced for testing before World War One. I have seen one with a service card beginning at 1916, but serious quantity purchases did not commence until the end of the War, when the Beeston factory returned to peacetime production. First deliveries were made in 1919-1920. The earliest deliveries had the Ericsson drum transmitter mounted on their decorative pressed steel mount.
This was soon changed to the newer Solid Back transmitter on a simpler folded steel bracket. The metalwork was finished in"antique bronze", an oxidised brass effect. The phone proved reliable and popular and many thousands were installed. A later upgrade saw the transmitter changed to the bakelite Inset transmitter, still on the folded steel mount. These phones were still imported in quantity, but the supply of the 300 magneto bakelite series with its more popular handset style gradually cut into demand.
This phone has been refurbished and the nmetal parts sprayed with black enamel. This was a standard prectice for the APO.
Some of the phones arrived with a wooden plug covering a dial cutout in the front of the case. Some phones were converted to automatic working, but the practice does not appear to have been general policy. The PMG's stated policy was that customers would be provided with a new model phone if the service was converted to automatic. With the introduction of bakelite phones the conversion of this model was never necessary, and most phones fitted with dials are later private conversions.
The 765MW, however, was used in auto areas on party lines where the magneto signalling was still needed. There were few of these.
This example is in oak instead of the more common walnut. It shows the Inset transmitter added to the older mount, and the plug in the dial hole.
In a final attempt to refurbish the large quantities of wooden phones in stock, the APO decided to convert the phone to handset operation. There were some variations within each model. In Sydney, the "How To Call" instruction plate (used to cover the old transmitter holes) was mounted horizontally. Victorian phones usually had the notice mounted vertically. Writing slopes often had to be replaced, and there are different patterns and timbers used. Each phone was fitted with a note clip at the top of the writing slope (not shown on this refurbished phone).
A similar refurbishment was sometimes carried out in New Zealand, but the old transmitter holes were simply filled with wooden plugs.