891 Series Wallfone AWF (Automatic WallFone)

Another Australian design to replace the ageing 400 series bakelite wall phone. Electrically it was similar to the older 802 desk phone series, with electromechanical bells. It was issued in Appliance White, Ebony Brown, Maize Yellow , Powder Blue, and Driftwood Beige. It was also issued briefly in black, although this colour was rarely shown in the brochures. The colours were selected after extensive public surveys, and the style proved extremely popular. Unfortunately the blue and yellow plastics suffered a little from the old problem of fading and discolouration if located in strong sunlight. In spite of this all colors in the range proved popular, even black, and the phone was quite reliable. As usual a small run of transparent models was produced for display and training. Sample models made up in other colours are also known. These were used for public evaluation trials. A small production run in red also appears to have been made, as these sometimes turn up in emergency locations such as lifts. These were not a Telecom product.

1972 - 1976. The original model was in Black, Appliance White (1) and Powder Blue (4). The style was popular, with a preference for white.

From around 1976 Ebony Brown (2) and Maize Yellow (3) were added to the range. The Ebony Brown model seemed to have a stronger public preference, especially as the clear plastic fittings were now replaced with a smoky brown color. As the new fittings were introduced into production the Appliance White model became the clear favorite. These phones were fitted with a non-adjustable bell, and there were some complaints about its loudness.

1981 to 1984. A bell adjustment was fitted . This was a simple small lever at the base of the phone that activated a damper clamped to the bells to reduce their volume. It was simple and worked well.

In 1985 the wallfone range was updated to a new Tele 897, an all-electronic pulse-signalling pushbutton range. It was introduced in three new colours, Cinnamon, Fleece White, and Golden Haze. This series replaced the old dial range as the standard wall phone, with no extra touchfone premium rental. By this time pushbutton phones were regarded as standard, not optional. An unusual feature was a standard three-pin phone plug moulded into the back of the phone, allowing it to be moved from room to room and plugged into a modified wall-mounted socket. A Tele 898 tone-signalling version was optional for PABX extensions and the new electronic exchanges coming into use. In this form the phone survived until around 1988 when it was replaced by the Touchfone 200. Many are still in use today.

Fig 6: Cinnamon; Fig 7: Fleece White ; Fig 8: Golden Haze.

 

 

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