Type 37 Wall Phone
This little box wall phone was based on a British Post Office pattern, their Tele 21. With the invention of the Solid Back transmitter by White of Western Electric, a smaller box set could now be used. In Australia it was known as the Type 37 CBW (CB version) or Type 37 AW (automatic version). The Solid Back gave way to the bakelite Inset capsule transmitter, and the model number was upgraded to the 137. In a final modification a handset was added on a modified switchhook and the model redesignated 237AWH.
In slightly differing styles it was made initially by Siemens, Peel Conner, ATM, Ericssons, and Phoenix in Britain. Some were also made up in local timber by the PMG Workshops. The case dimensions are similar to those of the bellset No. 1. The early Ericsson version was also available with their decorative pressed steel mount and "barrel" transmitter. Some were brought in for CB use, with the dial hole filled with a wooden plug. This allowed conversion to automatic later.
Early auto models were fitted with a black oxidised fingerplate on the No. 8 and No. 10 dials (these dials had a smaller centre label holder). The black plate was replaced by a stainless steel "StayBrite" fingerplate about 1930, with a larger diameter label holder. This 137 has the newer Inset transmitter and new dial.
Model 237AW amd 237CBW incorporated the new bakelite handsets on a modified switchhook. Older phones were completely stripped, cleaned and refurbished, as they had to compete with the newer bakelite models. Metalwork was replated where necessary, and the newer No. 10 dial was added. A new black rayon anti-twist cord was fitted. The PMG had a large stock of earlier Type 37s and bellboxes recovered from redundant candlestick phones and this was an economic way to use them. The refinished phones were very attractive in their woodgrained maple, oak and walnut timbers. This example has been rebuilt from a bellbox, as the dial hole is in the centre of the door. On converted Type 37s the dial hole was already in the lower part of the door so the transmitter holes were filled or plugged with small wooden plugs.
The 37 series remained the standard auto wall phone until the early 1950s. At this point bakelite phones took over.
An unusual 237 with no bells fitted. A small number of these were used with coin receptacles for public telephones in supervised locations. This one was recycled from a bell box. The holes at the top for the bell mountings were filled with wooden plugs. Note also that the grain on the door runs horizontally, the reverse of the British construction pratice.
In later times of shortage similar phones were bought in from Stromberg Carlson (their Model 1157) and Kellogg. The Stromberg Carlson sets were steel-cased, and had the transmitter and bells mounted inside the case. They were usually imported in CB form and had an Australian dial added where needed. They were ideal for hard-use locations such as Public Telephones.
They were a durable little phone and some were still being recovered in the 1970s. In the United States Western Electric changed to pressed steel cases, but in Australia the APO kept the wooden models going until bakelite models finally replaced them. A British magneto model was also made by Ericssons, but was not used in Australia.