These phones were produced to meet a need for a compact desk phone. Bells, coil and condenser were mounted separately in a bell box. The early versions used Ericsson transmitters, but later versions used the more common Solid Back model. Dials are usually only seen on the solid back model. The phones seem to have been built mostly for markets under U.S. influence, and for the British Post Office. They were not very popular in much of Europe, where handset phones had come into wide use.
Fig 1: A very early pre-1900 potbelly model. It is known in the U.S.A. from Plummers, an Ericsson distributor, and it uses a marked Ericsson transmitter, but is a locally-produced composite model.
Fig 2: A later model, using the Type 2 transmitter and OST receiver. It is from the U.S. and is known with an "E" cutout in the switchhook. It may be a composite model or the Ericsson factory at Buffalo may have produced it using some locally-sourced parts. It is also known in Europe, but is rare.
Fig 3: British Tele No. 4. This model was produced by Ericssons for the British Post Office. It uses the early Ericsson drum transmitter and standard British Ericsson bell receiver. Both dial and CB models are known. A hook could be fitted on the right to hold an extra earpiece. In appearance it is similar to the Western Electric candlestick on which the BPO's specification was based.
Fig. 4: A later version of Fig 2 with a simplified transmitter mount. Also from Buffalo in the U.S., but known from Europe as well. The top of the pedestal is similar to a Stromberg Carlson.
Fig 5 and 6: Australian Post Office Type 38AT / BPO Tele 150 / Ericsson Model CG1200 / British Ericsson N1000. Another British Post Office design, produced at Beeston for many countries. Other companies also produced equivalents. Initially it used the solid back transmitter as shown, updated to the bakelite inset transmitter (APO Type 138). Approx 1912 to around 1924, when bakelite sets replaced it. Note the small centre dial, the correct type for the early version of this phone. It is usually found with the later model dial with larger centre. The CB version is Model CG1200 / British Model N1350 / APO Type 36MT, shown in Fig 5 . This model is APO Type 136 with the bakelite inset transmitter.