Type 33MW

This phone was introduced in 1910, and in bulk purchases from 1918 as a post-War emergency measure until the Type 35 could be delivered in quantity. Its original Tele number is unknown. It was made by Stromberg Carlson in the United States and was fitted with the solid back transmitter. The APO seems to have bought in a range of phones around this time, probably looking for a replacement for the elderly Tele No 1, the Commonwealth Ericsson. This phone is a typical U.S. style, big and boxy. It featured an adjustable lightning arrestor on the right hand side on the pre-War models. In most respects it is similar to the Western Electric Model 317, but is slightly taller due to the higher generator.

As well as the Australian Post Office, the Commonwealth National Railways also purchased the phone for the Trans-Australia line, completed in 1918.

With experience with the phone, the APO redesigned the phone and issued the Type 133. It had the new Inset transmitter and no lightning arrestor but was otherwise similar. It must have been a fairly good phone, because the APO ordered large numbers. Purchases continued during World War 1, but by the end of the war the APO had decided to standardise on the British Ericsson (Type 35)







By 1942 the PMG was running out of magneto telephones. A substantial amount of Australia's phones was still magneto, but supplies from Britain were interrupted by the Second World War. The older Commonwealth Ericsson telephones were wearing out, as were the other early magneto fixed transmitter phones. Many customers were used to the Ericsson handset, and would not like going back to the separate transmitter and receiver arrangement available on other wall phones. The only alternative for a magneto wall phone was to mount a table phone on a wall bracket and mount a separate generator box with it.

Commonwealth Ericsson phones, because of their high standard of finish and elaborate woodwork, were expensive to refurbish. A reasonable supply of recovered Stromberg Carlson and Ericsson phones of the Tele 33 and Tele 35 models was available, and these were fairly inexpensive to refurbish. The APO decided to renovate these phones and add a handset to modernise them. A side benefit to the APO was the extra rental charged at that time for handset phones. On June 1 , 1942, an Engineering Instruction E2020 was released introducing the new phones.

Where possible, a Stromberg Carlson was to be replaced with an upgraded Stromberg Carlson, and likewise for the Ericsson models. They were not to be used to replace a Commonwealth Ericsson, however. The bakelite handset gave better transmission than the old fixed transmitter models, but this was not always the case with an Ericsson handset. The phones were quite suitable for long rural lines.

A "How To Call" instruction plate (used to cover the old transmitter holes) was mounted vertically to cover the marks left by the transmitter mount. 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.

It is possible that similar telephones from Western Electric (later STC) and Kellogg may also have been refurbished under the 233 number. but this is unconfirmed. I have seen a WE telephone so reconditioned , but the circuit diagram was unreadable. This would be the only way to confirm that it was an APO conversion.

A similar refurbishment was sometimes carried out in New Zealand, but the old transmitter holes were simply filled with wooden plugs.



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