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This diagram shows a typical Two Box telephone manufactured by Chicago Telephone Supply Co. 

It has large battery box which accentuates the "fiddle back" shape of the backboard.

This is the telephone made with a top box fitted with a bevelled glass window.

A difficult concept to understand in this, the third millennium, but it is said that the window was included to dispel any scepticism that telephony involved some sort of magic spells.


On the left is the Western Electric 301, popularly known as "The Farmer’s Set" from their wide use on rural services. Manufacture commenced in the early 1900’s and was available in both oak and walnut timber construction. 

The phone was available in a number of internal equipment variations housed in a very large cabinet measuring approx 760mm(30inches) x 250mm(9½ inches) x 200mm(8 inches).


The equipment variations were primarily to cater for different installations of short to very long lines. 

Five bar and three bar generators and different ringers were available and the bottom housing could accommodate three dry batteries




To the right is a Stromberg Carlson of similar contruction





The Swedish American Telephone Co manufactured some very attractive telephones in Chicago, the United States

The picture on the left shows a large magneto telephone from this factory. Some of their telephones had this very ornate and colourful logo.


As with other manufacturers, it was available in different configurations to suit line conditions with five or four bar generators etc. 

Their very colourful company logo appeared on the front of many of their telephones.




The "Swedish American" company ran into serious financial difficulties, was declared bankrupt then purchased by new owners in 1912 and continued manufacture.



During most of its existence, Ericsson found it difficult to break into the US market. Initially, Ericsson interests in the US were represented by agents, and in 1896 Ericsson Telephone Co was incorporated in the US.
The first local manufacture started with the opening of a plant in Buffalo, New York in the early 1900s. After a few short years, the company name was changed to Swedish American; presumably to appeal more to the local population.

This excellent telephone has all the hallmarks of the earliest of the Ericsson telephones manufactured in the USA. A typical Swedish Ericsson bi-polar receiver, a transmitter marked as LME and made in Sweden; marketed to the local buyers as "GENUINE ERICSSON SWEDISH COAL-GRAIN MICROPHONE". Battery tray is sized for two glass cells.




 These pictures show two different versions of the Western Electric #317 which remained in production for some 30 years.



The manufacturers gradually moved toward insulated wiring looms contained within the cabinet. At the same time, the cabinets became less ornate like the later Western Electric version


Gradual progress saw the decorative groove on the front of the instruments also disappear and the decorative cathedral top was not required with the change to internal connections.







An excellent example of a Holzer Cabot magneto wall phone (ornate Cathedral Top Picture Frame Front - CTPFF) manufactured in the USA in the late 1890’s. 

Notice the excellent workmanship and in the next pictures, - 

: The hinged writing slope folds flat with a simple lift of the nickel-plated bracket 

: The three terminal post carbon lightning

: External terminals for receiver   



Some of the special US telephones in the collection

North Electric

North Electric made in Galion OH

North Electric

Kellogg Masterphone 900

Possibly the most appealing of the 1930's art deco - the Kellogg Masterphone 900

Kellogg Masterphone 900

Stromberg Carlson Intercom with early handset

Stromberg Carlson Intercom

Stromberg Carlson Intercom with early handset

Stromberg Carlson Intercom

Stromberg Carlson Intercom

Stromberg Carlson Intercom


Simple "Hotel" intercom phones

Dean, manufactured in Elyria Ohio

Dean, manufactured in Elyria Ohio



Federal Telephone and Radio

Federal Telephone and Radio

FTR - very short bell receiver; no permanent magnets

Federal Telephone and Radio

Federal Telephone and Radio





US plastic phones restored using  methods described in my book


The Western Electric Trim-line pictured below has had a tough life and it is scratched, and discoloured from the stickers on the back. You will almost guarantee that if stickers are found on a plastic, or a painted surface, then some discolouring will result.

Following the method described in TELEPHONE talk, a good result can be achieved, by hand and with about 1 hour of work. Colour matching is excellent in spite of the different lighting for the “after” picture.



Only with this enlarged image can we see the depth of the scratches on this 500 set. Even this level of damage is reasonably easy to repair using the methods described, and the good thing is that almost no equipment is required.

After following the method described, the handset on the Western Electric 500  set is repaired quite nicely.


The before and after pictures below show a black Western Electric 500 set with bad scratches on the rear of the case.


A super finish but only if it is worth the collector's effort. The before and after pictures below show this pale aqua Western Electric 500 set with very bad scratches on the entire case - it actually looked as though it had been tumbled around in a dry cement mixer.

The natural colour of the telephone has also been recovered through the heavy sanding of the plastic case - remember that the best way to determine the "true" colour is to check the internal plastic colour.