Twin Box Ericssons

These were not a major part of Ericssons’ range; in fact there is no record of Ericssons ever manufacturing a complete unit themselves. They did, however, rebuild many Bell/Western Electric phones with their own parts in Europe. At this point the phone would be classed as an Ericsson. They also sold replacement parts which were used to update older phones. See the Component chapter for further details. They also made a complete "top box" for twin box phones , mostly for sale in the United States but known in Europe as well. This area needs further investigation.

Twin box phones were a U.S. design, made necessary by their larger less efficient generators and transmitters and bulky wet cell batteries. They were made and sold in Europe by the Bell Telephone Manufacturing Company and the Consolidated company, but few survive intact. The Ericsson rebuilds are more common. Ericsson parts were also used by many other manufacturers. In Australia, they were widely used as replacements by the State administrations, the PMG, and private suppliers. The phones are also found with electrical or telephone company nameplates on them. Ericsson records show that their representative, C. A. Fahlstedt, had been selling phones and components in Sydney as early as the 1890s. Fahlstedts were replaced as agents in the early 1900s by Hellstrom Dunn & Co. and James Paton in Sydney, Bartrams in Melbourne, and J Ferguson in Fremantle.

The Ericsson-designated twin box phones to fall into three main groups:

Bell lookalikes : These models were Bell/Western Electric designs, overhauled with Ericsson components by Ericssons or others. Typically they will have the Ericsson replacement transmitter and OST receiver, but they will retain the Western Electric spur switchhook, bells, and 3-bar generator. They were used by firms like the National Telephone Company, KTAS and JYDSK. National also used a very early Bell 3-box model.

Long Distance Phones; such as those used by the state railways in Australia, and the New Zealand Post Office. These have a wider battery box to house more cells , giving better performance on long lines. Again, they are Western Electric models which have been refitted with the more reliable Ericsson parts. These phones appear to have been locally repaired rather than Ericsson-built, and so they should still be called Western Electric or, perhaps more appropriately, PMG.

United States models; these were not built by Ericssons, but by other firms using marked Ericsson parts. A number of such firms have been identified. Their catalogue illustrations may show twin box phones with Ericsson logos. Ericssons appears to have built top boxes in the U.S. but the records are sparse and ambiguous. This area needs further investigation. U.S. phones may have parts marked “L M Ericsson - Standard of the World” or “L M Ericsson Buffalo” . Some manufacturers seem to have used the Ericsson name to suggest the higher quality of their phones using the LME parts.


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