Ericsson Desk Phones 1

Fig 1: “Lily” Desk phone from 1881. Note the horizontally-mounted transmitter - the problems of “packing” of the carbon granules in microphones had not yet been resolved. This style of transmitter was a short-lived attempt to overcome the problem. The model had a small production run and is quite rare. Photo courtesy Ove Svensson

Fig 2: and Fig 3: Skeletal with Swing Arm Transmitter , Model AC100 . Ericsson’s first mass-production phone, forerunner of the skeletal AC110. Old No. 370. It uses an elaborate swing-arm vertical transmitter, and outside terminal receiver. An extra receiver could also be fitted (Fig 3) to allow use from either side of a desk. This model is rare, as many were later converted to handset operation. It was manufactured from 1892 to possibly around 1911. It coexisted with the skeletal in the catalogues for some years, but the scarcity of this model suggests that it was not as popular. Production numbers would have been modest. It was also issued with the earlier helical or spiral transmitter from 1884 to 1888. A recent reproduction conversion arm was available to convert a phone from handset back to swingarm. On these the transmitter is original, only the pillar and arm being reproduction.

Fig 4: Model AC210 “Biscuit Barrel” is a classic phone sought by collectors . It was built into a steel cylindrical case, which was decorated in muted greens and gold. The wooden top and base were finished in black japan. It had a small 2-magnet generator so was only useful as an extension phone. The production figures were extremely small, but even so it managed to stay in production (or at least in the catalogue) between 1893 and 1911.

Fig 5: According to the catalog drawings there were two versions, the first one with the early handset and a low pedestal, and the later model with a taller pedestal, narrower case and later handset. Whether there were actually two versions or just one with a slight difference in the pedestal, I don't know. I don't have any examples to compare. The early model is still listed in the 1902 catalogue as Model No. 380 , but by the 1911 catalogue the taller version is shown as Model AC210.

Reproductions are known to exist - in fact, a reproduction is probably the only way a collector will obtain one of these very desirable phones. As a result, a good repro will still command a high price.


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