The "British Ericsson" Wall Phone


Transmitters came in three models. First was the small “barrel” transmitter on a short decorative pressed brass mount, introduced after 1911 (Fig 1). It was quickly upgraded to the solid back transmitter (Fig 2), shown here on a new simple stamped and folded sheet metal mount. Fig 3 shows the last upgrade to the bakelite Inset transmitter, here upgraded onto the earlier mount.









Fig 4: Swedish Model AB232 . The forerunner of the type. Built briefly in Britain using imported parts. It had a standard handset, rather than separate transmitter and receiver. Approx 1900 - 1910. It was not officially used by the Australian Post Office, but it was listed for private sale in an Australian catalogue. Variations: With a simpler switchhook, it was listed as British model N2505; with the later bakelite handset as Model N2504. With 4 magnet generator as Model AB233.

Fig 5: British Ericsson with original Ericsson Drum Transmitter. Finished in walnut and “antique bronze” metalwork. This model was short-lived, and was quickly updated to the solid back transmitter model shown in Fig. 6. It was used in fairly small numbers in Australia as Australian Post Office Type 35MW. The decision to purchase it was made in 1912 after some had been imported for evaluation. The First World War intervened, and the first bulk supplies arrived in 1919 - 1920 after Ericssons' Beeston factory had gone back to civil production.

Fig 6: British Model N2500 with solid back transmitter. This became the standard Australian Post Office model, Type 135MW . The APO models usually had an “Ericsson- England” transfer or a PMG brass plate. Issued in Australia from around 1920. A four-magnet generator was standard, but five-magnet ones are known ( Model N2501)

Fig 7: British Ericsson with bakelite inset transmitter. Australian Post Office Type 135MW. Note the wooden plug filling a cutout for a dial. Few were converted to automatic working, and most of those only retained the generator for use on party lines connected to automatic exchanges. Most dial versions of this phone are later conversions for the antique market.


Fig 8: Australian Post Office dial conversion . A fairly uncommon Australian Post Office modification, . Most phones were left as magneto models, with the automatic phone demand being filled by the 300 series bakelite phones. Most of these conversions were also fitted with the bakelite handset. Approximately 1940s onwards. PMG Type 765AW. It was used mostly on party lines connected to automatic exchanges, where the magneto was needed to signal other parties

Fig 9: Australian Post Office Type 235MWH . A more common APO handset conversion with a “How To Call” notice over the transmitter holes. Some had the notice mounted horizontally. British Models N2504 - 2520 (depending on the configuration) were issued as standard with the bakelite handset and without a notice, but the APO seems to have preferred to convert models already in use. From about 1930.

Fig 10: Typical “How To Call” Notice, vertical variety. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the notices were placed horizontally by the Melbourne Workshops and vertically by the Sydney Workshops.

Fig 12: The final version, auto with a handset. These do not appear to have been used in Australia, the bakelite wall phones having been introduced by this time. Note the more central position of the dial.

Fig 13: Model N2505 ,a similar British model with a basic switchhook and the older style suspended handset.

Fig 14: Model N2509, updated with the bakelite handset and modified switchhook. It is similar to the APO Type 235

Fig 15: Model AB517 / British Post Office Tele No. 11. Another British Ericsson alternative, it was also produced as Model N20141. “Gooseneck” transmitter arm with either a drum or a solid back transmitter. The box is only about 8cm. deep. It was also made for the British Post Office by TMC and Sterling. It is known in New Zealand, but it does not appear to have been in official use there.

Fig 16: An unusual British model from the Sterling Telephone & Electric Company with a front cradle for handset. Model number is unknown.

Fig 17: Another British model with an unusual cradle for the older handset, not the normal suspension hook and loop. Model number unknown. It may be an emergency wartime conversion.

Fig 18: Model AB700. This model was not used in Australia, but was exported to other areas including New Zealand and South America. Note the slightly wider case to house the five- and six-magnet generator. 1925-1931. A New Zealand Railways version is known without a writing slope, and with a switchhook which points the handset in towards the box.

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