Receivers and Handsets

On handsets, the receiver was a flat cylinder matching the Type 1 transmitter. The earliest models (1892-1908) had a one-piece ebonite earpiece which was screwed directly onto the cylinder to retain the diaphragm. Metal was nickel plated. In later models, the earpiece was held on by a nickel-plated retaining ring. In the last models, from about 1908, the receiver was sometimes polished alloy. On wall phones, a bell receiver was used.


Figs 1 and 2: Outside Terminal Receivers were used until the late 1890s until the popularity of the handset rendered them obsolete.

Fig 3: shows the "spoon" or "wand" receiver, a later development which made the receiver more comfortable to hold. It, too, was replaced by the handset.

Fig 4 was a bell receiver introduced in Britain to meet British Post Office specifications for their pulpit-style Western Electric-based standard wall phones. These receivers were made for the BPO by a number of manufacturers.

The "Mother-in-Law" receiver was an option on many wall phones. It is also known as the Bullring receiver. The practice of fitting an extra receiver to a phone appears to have started in France with Berthon Ader phones, but this is not confirmed. The practice spread and many firms provided this option with their phones. Some French telephones from Thomson Houston were still being fitted with them in the 1970s.

Fig 1: is the older Ericsson version with the coarse flutes on the handgrip, and the old receiver.

Fig 2: is the later version with fine flutes on a bakelite grip, and the one-piece bakelite cap on the earpiece.

Fig 4: is the standard BPO bakelite model. The makers' name is moulded into the underside of the handgrip. Some of these will be found with a hanging loop attached by screws to the earpiece to replace older Ericsson handsets.

Fig 5: is from an unknown manufacturer, possibly French. The receiver is generally smaller than an Ericsson and is mostly found on intercoms.

Fig 6 is a Western Electric, sometimes called a "saddlebag" handset because of the way the receiver and transmitter are attached to the shaft. There are many variations to the WE handset, but most are similar to this model or to No. 5.

Sterling in Britain also made a similar handset to the Ericsson. It was less ornate in styling and was usually an oxidised brass finish rather than the Ericsson's nickel plating. Some Ericsson-style handsets will be found without the usual Ericsson stamped identification around the rim of the transmitter. These were made for sale to other manufacturers. Kellogg in the United States used them for some years, and Emil Mollers also bought their handsets and componenets from Ericssons.

Ericsson handsets were often attached to the phone by a moulded ebonite plug. This is the later version with a screw-down cable clamp. Earlier versions had a small bobbin to tie the cord to.


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