Bell Telephones

This section includes the earliest phones from the Antwerp factory, including those from when it was renamed Western Electric.


"Eiffel Tower"














This model (British No 40047) is known as the "Eiffel Tower" in Australia because of the leg arrangement. It was probably produced as a response to Ericsson's Skeletal phone, but was not as successful. It was widely exported and was used by a number of Government departments in Australia.

Two handsets were available - the plain model on the phone at right and the ornate embossed model shown at top right. The handset seems to have been the phone's weak point, and many phones are found with Ericsson handsets. The transmitter and receiver shells were polished aluminium in most cases, and fitted with an early capsule version of White's Solid Back transmitter. Eventually a new model improved handset (shown at top left) introduced in the late 1890s, appeared. It seems to have solved most of the reliability problems and was used with minor modifications throughout Europe.

Two cradles also seem to have been available, according to catalog illustrations. The one at right is the one mostly seen. The example on the bottom right is a rare double-crank version from the British Western Electric catalog in the 1920s.


This phone appears to be a WE No. 10 candlestick, fitted with a "golf ball" enclosure rather than the standard WE exposed terminals and switchhook, and a telescopic centre shaft. It was produced by BTMC in Antwerp and appears in their catalog until about 1904. It was brought into Britain by the National Telephone Company, and later by the British Post Office as their Tele No. 2. The BPO also brought the National's phones into their inventory when they bought out that company in 1912. The National phones were generally refinished in the BPO's preferred black lacquer, but the National transfer can still sometimes be seen underneath the lacquer. The text engraved into the stand reads "Pattern No. 2 Selected" and "GPO 17400". This late use suggests the phone may also have been built by Consolidated.





Other early desk phones











Left: The first desk phone was simply a small wall box mounted on a flat base, with a handle to slide it around the desk.

Centre: An unusual model made by Bell Telephone Manufacturing for a Stockholm telephone company.

Right: Blake transmitter mounted on a pedestal as a desk phone. A rather clumsy US design, it was used by the United Telephone Company, and probably made by Bell Telephone Manufacturing. Note the very early wooden receiver on this one.


"Turret" Desk Phone


This model is another early desk phone that seems to have mostly been sold in Europe. It seems to have been popular, as it was built with a wide range of transmitters and Ericssons produced upgrade parts for it. In spite of this it is extremely rare.

L to R:

1. Hunnings transmitter

2. Solid Back transmitter

3. Side handset conversion for the National Telephone Company

4. Delville transmitter

5. Ericsson refurbishment with Ericsson transmitter and top bells, for KTAS Denmark.


Large Wall Phones










Typical 2- and 3-box wall phones.

L to R:

Model 5723 with later Hunnings transmitter fitted into the old Blake box

Model 5728 with Hunnings built into the top box, making a 2-box phone

Model 5730 with inset Delville, an improved Hunnings

Model 5730B , a typical "long distance" phone with room for extra batteries.











More large wall phones:

L to R:

Model 5722 with Hunnings transmitter in Blake box

Original 3-box model with Blake transmitter

Model 5731 with early handset (it looks like an Ericsson but the illustration is from a Western Electric catalog)

Model 5722 for KTAS, with Ericsson refurbished version. Photo courtesy Ove Svensson.


Consolidated Phones

British Western Electric


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