Ericsson Desk Phones 2

Fig 1: Model AC110 , known as the “Skeletal Ericsson” (Australia), “Coffee Mill” (Britain) and “Eiffel Tower” in Europe and U.S.A. , is another classic Ericsson phone. Built from 1892, it introduced the “microtelephone” or handset. Most production was between 1908 and 1914. It was quite stylish for its time. The magnets forming the legs of the phone were painted black with gold transfers, and the rest of the phone was in black and nickel. Special finishes such as ivory enamel, gold plate, or custom cord colours were provided to order. These finishes are rare. A British catalogue describes it modestly : “This exclusive instrument is a masterpiece of unique design and is undoubtedly the handsomest set in the industry”. The phone was well built, and many have survived fairly untouched. Similar phones were listed by firms such as Peel Conner (their model K088) , using Ericsson bases and their own handset and pillar. In the late 1950s some European skeletals were reconditioned and sold on the world markets in colours such as dark blue and white. These often had a dial added. In the 1980s Ericssons built a small reproduction run for their one hundredth anniversary. The phone is very popular with collectors, and other reproductions exist. A common reasonable copy has aluminium legs and a pushbutton “dial” on the front.

AC110 Basic model with a 2-magnet generator and lightning arrestor on the ebonite deck. After this model the lightning arrestor was moved to the terminal block. Old No. 375. Up to about 1912.

AC120 As above, with a pushbutton to short out the coil and bells while ringing. This is the most common Australian model.

AC130 / 140 As above, without the pushbutton and with modified wiring. A modified generator fitted with a cutout on the end of the shaft replaced the pushbutton. British Model N2000

AC200 With a crank at each end of the generator. This allowed the phone to be used from either side of a desk. Rare. Old No. 385. An extended peg to hold a separate earpiece could be provided on the end opposite the crank if required.

If you have one with a different cradle, it is probably from a different company (although the base and magneto will probably be Ericsson). Handsets have often been replaced with other models over the years. “Genuine” Swedish models should have a serial number stamped into the side of the ebonite deck.

A version with a steel deck was briefly produced at the end of the First World War. See the ATCS Newsletter, May 2003.

Fig 2: Model AC110 - 200, the standard “Skeletal” style, with the new transmitter shown. The phone will rarely be found with the telephone company’s logo shown on the pillar, or a brass holder for a number card. British Model N2000. The early rectangulat terminal block has been replaced with a round version, with the lightning arrestor incorporated.

Fig 3: British National Telephone Company and British Post Office version. It is finished in the black gunmetal lacquer favoured by National and, later, by the British Post Office. The teardrops on the cradle were left out as they were easily lost or damaged.

Fig 4: The unusual handset is from Berliner of Germany. Many companies bought Ericsson bases and added their own fittings.

Fig 5: This “condensed” model was produced in Budapest by Deckert and Homolka around 1910 to 1915. Ericssons bought into this company to gain a local presence, but whether this phone was produced before the buyin is uncertain. It did, however, appear in Ericsson catalogs. Reiner of Munich produced similar phones using a solid gearwheel.

Fig 6: This is from Britain's National Telephone Company. It is an early model, as they later changed to a gunmetal black finish. It has been reconditioned with a Western Electric / Bell Telephone Manufacturing handset left over from their earlier purchases of Bell phones in the late 1890s. It is a fairly common conversion.

Fig. 7: Skeletal from Rikstelefon in Denmark. The distinctive handset is typical of all their telephones.

Fig 7: Bell / Western Electric , made in Bell Telephone Manufacturing's factory in Belgium and later in Britain. U.S. collectors please note: THIS is an "Eiffel Tower", and is known by many collectors as such. The Ericsson is more correctly known as a "Skeletal", but is called an Eiffel Tower in the U.S., where this Bell phone was not sold.

Fig 9: Another later Rikstelefon model with a drum-shaped shield over the generator. Called the "Tunnan".


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