How do you know that your telephone actually IS an
Ericsson? Many phones are wrongly identified as an Ericsson on the strength of
an Ericsson-branded handset or some other part. The handsets were cobbled onto
just about any phone they fitted, so this is really not much of a guide. Ericsson
parts were used by many other firms. The parts were usually unbranded, this being
Ericssons' policy for outside sales. An Ericsson transfer on a phone is usually
a good identifier, but many restorers put these on refurbished phones
just to make them look good. On many older phones the transfer has just about
disappeared from old age. Typical transfers are
shown in further on in these pages.
This section shows many of the Ericsson
styles. By browsing through it you will soon become familiar with the Ericsson
look. A tentative identification should then be confirmed by examining
the other parts, such as switchhook, generator or handset. If most of these parts
match the Ericsson parts shown here, then you probably have a genuine Ericsson.
Look at the styles shown elsewhere in this section and see if you can find a match
for the phone.
For final confirmation, look for a serial number or other
identifier stamped into the phone. The Swedish Ericsson serial
numbers are listed in the final section - does the number match these? If
you cant find a number, look for British Ericsson stamped into
the edge of the case woodwork. If the phone is not so marked , check on the back
of the case or underneath for British Post Office manufacturers codes. British
phones were usually marked with a manufacturers code, year of manufacture, model
number and sometimes contract number. Here are some common codes you may find,
both for Ericsson and for other firms who are known to have used Ericsson parts.
AK Peel Conner Telephone Works
AKA Sterling Telephone & Electrical
C General Electric Co.
EET and EEX Plessey (bought out
Ericssons in Britain)
FBR GPO Factory, Birmingham (Reconditioners)
GPO Factory, Holloway (Reconditioners)
FNR GPO Factory, Edinburgh (Reconditioners)
FWR GPO Factory, Wales (Reconditioners)
G General Electric
GEC GEC Telephones, Coventry
RNA Radio, Phonopore & Electricals (taken over by Sterling)
TE, TM, TMK Telephone Manufacturing Co.
TGR, TGW Thorn Ericsson
TMC Telephone & Microphone Co.
W, WAA STC (Western Electric until 1925)
The code will usually be stamped as E27 over 235, or similar.
The 27 is the year the phone was manufactured. Unfortunately codes
for other Ericsson manufacturing plants such as Turkey and the United States are
A note regarding the identification of a phone: This is
arguable, but I follow the idea that if a phone was built (or in some cases rebuilt)
by Ericssons, then it is an Ericsson phone regardless of who the original builder
was. If it is an Ericsson that has been rebuilt and upgraded officially by another
company or administration, such as the British Post Office, then it is a phone
of that company and is no longer an Ericsson.
Thus, a Bell twin box
phone which has been refurbished by Ericssons and had the transmitter, receiver,
and maybe the generator replaced, would now be classed as an Ericsson phone rebuilt
from a Bell model. A skeletal phone owned by the National Telephone Company which
has had a Western Electric handset added on maintenance would still be an Ericsson,
as the handset changeover was neither company policy nor an official upgrade -
just a necessary convenience to use old parts. An Australian N2500 model which
has had the solid back transmitter and bell receiver replaced with a bakelite
handset, and possibly had a dial added, would now be an Australian Post Office
phone as these changes were official upgrades made when a phone was refurbished,
rather than a technicians one-off.
Unfortunately there are many
Frankensteins out there. These are phones which have been butchered,
had non-standard cabinetwork done, had some quite inappropriate parts added, or
have just been cobbled together using whatever parts were available. These may
turn up at auction listed as extremely rare, previously unknown,
or unlisted. As an example, some tin box desk phones have been appearing
with the metal cover carved into ornate fretwork or even removed altogether to
show the elaborate but non-genuine transfers that have been applied to the magnets.
Depending on your preference, you can regard these as interesting modifications
or just as an incomplete phone. Some of the scrollwork cutouts may be from a Far
East country where such craftmanship was affordable, and may make the phone an
interesting specimen in its own right.
There are also many phones with
reproduction parts. If you collect phones for the pleasure of the hobby this may
not matter, but if you are also concerned with the value of the phone then the
reproduction content will be important. Some reproduction parts such as mouthpieces
and handset cords are usually quite acceptable - a good original can be very hard
to find. If the phone has many repro parts then no matter how accurate the parts
are, the phone should be called a reproduction (or at least, a rebuild). This
can, however, be quite acceptable to a collector - its the only way you
are likely to get a Biscuit Barrel, for instance. If the phone has
been built with parts that are not an accurate match for the original (such as
aluminium legs on a skeletal, or a pushbutton dial ) then the phone is a copy
or just in the style of...
If you are not sure how genuine
a phone may be , a close examination will be needed. Is the condition a bit too
good? Over the years transfers will usually dry out and flake off. Repro transfers
are available, and may not really detract from the phones desirability.
Woodwork restores well, so it is not much of a guide externally. Polyurethane
finishes are popular among some restorers as a substitute for french polishing,
but the phone underneath may still be original. Is the woodwork inside faded and
possibly chemical-stained in the battery compartment? Or does it look fresh-cut
Is the nickel plating in good condition? Unless it has been
replated it will usually show some dulling or crazing. Even if repolished a perfect
nickel finish would be unlikely on an original. At the least there should be some
wear where the handset fits into the cradle.
Dials and bells polished
back to brass are not original finish, but are just an unfortunate attempt to
make the phone look more trendy. Ericsson did use some lacquered brass parts as
trim on pedestals, but not on the parts of a phone which the users regularly handled.
The brass tarnished easily, so exposed metalwork was usually nickel-plated (NOT
chromed), oxidised or painted. Dials mounted on magneto phones detract from the
phones originality and value but unfortunately they are often fitted to
make a phone more saleable on the antique market.
You will learn more
from an internal check. Are all the parts in place and correct? Phillips-head
screws are not original. Neither are plastic-insulated wiring or electronic ringers.
Sometimes modern internals are fitted to make the phone workable. It's up to you
whether you accept this or not, but avoid phones which have been externally butchered
to fit a dial into the cabinet.
If your phone looks like an Ericsson
but is not quite right , you may have a phone from another company. It could have
been produced by Emil Mollers, Peel Conner, Sterling, Kellogg, or one of the other
builders who used Ericsson parts or copied their designs. Ericssons also built
custom models for many telephone administrations such as KTAS in Denmark. Many
of these are shown in this site.
To Serial Numbers and Manufacture Dates
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