Phones of the World
One of the things that first motivated me to start collecting phones is a love of design. A well designed, durable, functional machine is a thing of beauty. Industrial design is the only medium that gives the artist the potential for enduring presence in thousands of homes. In every era telephone designs have spanned from purely practical to highly ornate, however the sense of style in other parts of the world is different than here in the States.
This Phone is an NTT (Nipon Telephone & Telegraph) Type #3. It was made in Japan from the '30s through the early fifties.
is an NTT 600. Looks a lot like a Western Electric (or Stromberg
Carlson or Automatic Electric) 500 set doesn't it? It seems that in the
late 50's, 60's and 70's the phone companies were all playing from the
same book. There were a lot of ergonomic, usage, and manufacturing studies
that all culminated in this basic - dial up front on a slant, heavy based
phone with a broad flat handled handset. And guess what, It's a pretty
damn functional, durable and comfortable piece of technology.
G.S.T (GoldStar Telephone Company, Limited) Model 70
of Korean origin. It's lavishly covered with mother of pearl in designs
of cranes, plants, birds, and bunnies,
but I don't know the symbolism of any of these designs. It sits on a similarly
ornamented lazy susan stand that has two carved
This phone was made
in Germany in 1959. I don't know anything else about it. I purchased it
on-line (can you say eBay?) as I have most of my recent acquisitions.
This Siemens phone
appears to be from the late 50's as near as I can tell. I got it in a
barn flea market in Nottingham, PA, and it was attatched to a large (100
line) switchboard/intercom system. The back of the phone is stamped "Made
in Germany - Radio Corporation of America. Camden NJ."
is the "Grillo" telephone, designed by Marco Zanuso and Richard
Sapper for SIT-Siemens of Italy.,
It is widely recognized as a classic of the "Moderne" era. Mine
is dated 1965. Progenitor of more contemporary "flip" phones,
it sits on the table looking like a clamshell until it rings (from a buzzer
in the plug), then you pick it up, the mouthpiece flips open, and you
This phone is from Holland. it is known as a type 1951. The hang-up buttons are impressed with the initials "HEEMAF", a major Dutch electrical equipment manufacturer.
Freerk Kuperus wrote
to me from the Netherlands with some
history on this and the Ericsson phone below
This is the Ericsson Type 51 (or at least that's what the schematic diagram glued to the inside of the shell says). It's dated 3-64. Like the HEEMAF phone above, it has the "PTT" emblem, and a white button. In the US, this phone is often mistakenly called a "Ruen" due to the confusing logo stamped into the bottom of the phone which in fact says "RIJEN". According to Remco Enthoven (who has a nice web site devoted to Dutch telephones) Rijen is the Village where the Ericsson factory is located.
This is the Ericofon.
It's a landmark in telephone design. The Ericofon was produced in Sweden
in the late fifties and early sixties, and then produced again in Ohio
in the seventies. This particular one is a Swedish model, and has a rotary
dial in the base. In the center of the dial is a large red button that
hangs up the phone when it's placed on a surface. You can learn everything
you want to know about Ericos at Richard Rose's outstanding ericofon.com.
As shown on Remco's Dutch Online Telephone Museum, this phone is called a "Diavox IDK". It lived it's useful life at the Polaroid Corporate HQ in Cambridge MA. Now it lives in a box in my mother's junk room.
Northern Telecom is descended from the company established by A.G. Bell's father to bring telephone service to Canada. For most of a century they copied the designs and practices of their progenitor to the south, but in the late 50s the licensing agreement with Western Electric was broken off, and Northern's research division started designing their own equipment. By the mid eighties, they were producing a wide range of stylized telephones, some of which are among the most sought by niche collectors.
Here's a round one. There's an earlier round rotary phone with a tapered (conic section) base, but this isn't one of those.
Made for Export
I believe this
phone was made explicitly for export to the US. On the bottom there's
a sticker that says "Price Productions" and "Made in Taiwan".
As near as I can tell this was manufactured in 1984. It has a modular
plug for the line, but the handset is hardwired. The dial face has a nice
picture of a Germanic castle.
Automatic Electric | Western Electric | Other US | International | Intercoms
Tell me about all the factual errors in this page,
or ask me to put up a particular phone.