Thread Number: 31826  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
My GPO Rotary Telephone Collection
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Post# 351114   4/27/2016 at 17:42 (454 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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Here is something that I have recently started collecting alongside vacuum cleaners, 1960s-1980s GPO Telephones, I have 4 so far, but the collection will no doubt grow, they are all post office rented of course! On the far left was my first old telephone that started my collecting, my 1973 Red model 746, next to that is my 1966 two tone green model 706, next to that my 1984 cream model 746 and finally the lovely 1963 Concord Blue model 706.

Love them to bits and of course they all have dual gong ringers! 😀

Post# 351117 , Reply# 1   4/27/2016 at 19:01 (454 days old) by CharlesKirby66 (Manteca, CA)        

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Awesome! I remember I used to have one of those in my bedroom (at my insistence) in the early 90s. If I remember, I wanted to emulate the TV shows I saw where people used and carried those phones around, even though the beginning of the wireless phone craze had already begun. I can especially recall a scene in Laverne & Shirley where Shirley is using their black rotary phone like these you've pictured, and Laverne is making out with some beau. Shirley is trying to cover for Laverne, saying she's sick in bed when she was really making out with some guy a couple of feet away. See what awesome memories your phones brought back to me?! :-)

Post# 351119 , Reply# 2   4/27/2016 at 19:18 (454 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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Haha, cool.
I really do miss the use of house phones, I remember a time when the Phone would ring and my mum would shout "Allllllex! Phone!" or it would ring and you would be like "I'll get it!" What was good with land lines and still is, is that someone can call you and if you know they are calling, you can just ignore the phone and they won't know if you are really home or not to hear the call.

I do just love the sound of a rotary dial though. "crrrrr, duuuuuuuuur" lol, not to mention that classing bell..."BRING BRING, BRING BRING, BRING BRING" lol.

Post# 351135 , Reply# 3   4/27/2016 at 21:12 (454 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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My dad has an old green Western Electric rotary dial wall phone wired up in the garage. He picked it up for 50 cents at a yard sale.

Post# 351149 , Reply# 4   4/28/2016 at 01:52 (453 days old) by midcenturyfan (Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England)        

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I have considered collecting telephones. The only trouble is, as with anything collectable, there are vast numbers of different models, and a lot of potential pitfalls for the novice enthusiast. One must be careful to ensure that a telephone is what it appears to be, and is not a reproduction, or a less desirable model. There are also poorly restored phones being sold by unscrupulous dealers.


Post# 351151 , Reply# 5   4/28/2016 at 05:55 (453 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
Cool Alex!

Nice phones. So how are ya? Glad you're back.
I don't collect them, but I have one oldie but goodie wall mount by Western Electric Bell in my garage.
It is gold, or a yellow, circa 1978 and has a chalk board or reversible cork board for messages. The hand set hangs on the left, and the right side has an opening for a large phone directory book. Also a dual bell ringer.
I'll clean it up and post a photo when I get around to it.
I'm doctoring currently, so it will be a while.

Post# 351152 , Reply# 6   4/28/2016 at 06:11 (453 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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Midcenturyfan - I did do a fair but of research into these phones before I bought any, I see that there are many rebuilds and replicas of the original GPO telephones but all the ones I have are original as they were and are all authetic, it is so easy to be fooled by a reproduction with these things as they look so similar.

Vacenator - Thanks, glad to be back too! From what I have come to learn, I see the popular suplier for house phones in the US was Western Electric 🙂 Do I assume you had different service providers then or was the service provider Western Electric? Or was that just the company that made the phone?

Over here these model phones and other varients including the trim phones, wall phone and the push buttom varients of these 700 series phones that I have pictured, were made by various companies, but were suplied by GPO (General Post Office) which is now BT (British Telecom) all phones back then were rented from the post office or the GPO as the post office did all the telecomunications at that time, not only do we have BT now, which is the main one, but there is Sky, Talk Talk, Virgin Media and a few others, BT is one of the few Telecomunications that still accepts pulse dialing! 😃

Post# 351160 , Reply# 7   4/28/2016 at 07:35 (453 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp MI)        

In the U.S. prior to 1984 when the govt. broke it up there was one monopoly company providing telco services, the AT&T Bell System. There were a few smaller companies but they weren't really competitive.

The corporate hierarchy looked like this,

AT&T corp. was the holding company for most local telephone companies like Michigan Bell for example. AT&T was also the holding company for "AT&T Long Lines" the long distance service as well as owning Western Electric. Its research department was called Bell Labs.

After being broke up AT&T Corp went into the business of selling telephones and tried to market a computer. In 2004 SBC (Southwestern Bell) a company formerly owned by AT&T Corp bought AT&T. SBC then renamed itself AT&T Inc. Note Corp vs Inc.

If you want to learn more I suggest you look on YouTube for "AT&T Tech Channel" they have many short films produced from the '20s to the '80s by AT&T on everything from the conversion to dial from switchboard service to how in the late '40s Bell Labs invented the transistor. Bell even had plans to be almost all fiber optic by 1995, who said monopolies aren't innovative.

Here is a short film from the 1970s explaining "What is the Bell System".


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Post# 351161 , Reply# 8   4/28/2016 at 07:38 (453 days old) by speedqueen (Harrison Twp MI)        
I almost forgot,

You rented your phone over here as well.

Post# 351162 , Reply# 9   4/28/2016 at 08:06 (453 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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Wow that looks interesting, will have to read into that, thanks for the info.

I am not sure why telephones were rented back then, I could be wrong, but over here, I don't think they were available to buy until either the mid to late 80s, I think it was when BT took over GPO and they changed the telephone connection from a hardwired juction/connector box, to the modern BT phone jack.

Post# 351163 , Reply# 10   4/28/2016 at 08:25 (453 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
Yes, our phones were rented,

but we could keep them when we moved if we wanted to if they were a desk type, or a phone co. tech. would come and remove your wall mounted phone and re install it at your new address. They almost never broke.
Western Electric was the equipment manufacturer, also an AT&T division.
The phone I mentioned above is called the "noteworthy" model. Mine is touchtone dial. They also came rotary dial first.
Central zone switching offices were also ran by AT&T.
Each state had it's own Bell Telephone division.
Outlying rural areas had General Telephone service and GTE telephones. The phone styles were different from AT&T phones.
Before 1983, long distance charges ran about 6 cents per minute. Also, circle calling was offered with different zones according to where people you called most often lived.
Certain prefix (first 3 numbers) zones could call a larger local area no extra charge, but a "zone call" though not long distance, may have cost as much as long distance.
After the AT&T break up, you kept your local line service, according to your state but had to choose from other long distance carriers such as MCI, Ameritech, etc.
The new divisions were Ameritech for the Mid west and Great lakes, Bell South, Souhtwestern Bell, etc. You still got your phones from your local company, but eventually, phones were sold at retail stores. Most being imported from Japan, etc.
I never had a lower phone bill following the break up.
Personally, I think it was all a rigged money grab scheme to reboot the former AT&T shares of stock at lower IPO's and have then all go up from there.
Those with a lot of AT&T shares were earning big dividends under the MA Bell monopoly.
Remember, follow the money. Many older AT&T employees were retiring about that time also. My uncle, a WW2 gunner in Germany worked there from 1945 to 1984. He gave me the low down.
He knew how all the trunk lines worked and ran. He and his team spliced in the phone systems for skyscrapers from under ground, and in the buildings.

Post# 351175 , Reply# 11   4/28/2016 at 11:49 (453 days old) by Human (Pines of Carolina)        

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Just a point of clarification: There wasn't an individual 'baby bell' for each state. On the East Coast, Bellsouth covered several Southeastern states, Bell Atlantic covered the mid-Atlantic region, and NYNEX covered New York and the New England states.

Back when AT&T was essentially THE phone company in the U.S., they were a government sanctioned monopoly and congress even went so far at to make it a crime to connect any non-AT&T hardware to AT&T's network. People actually went to jail for selling third-party answering machines and such. That all changed in the early '80s when AT&T wanted to get into the burgeoning computer industry and the price for doing so was divestiture.

It's kind of amusing and/or maddening that most of the 'baby bells' continued to charge an extra couple of dollars a month for touch tone dialing service well into the 1990s, even though touch tone had become so ubiquitous that it cost the phone companies more to offer rotary 'pulse' dialing to customers who opted out of touch tone. A lot of the cheap, third-party phones in the '80s and '90s actually had a switch on them marked with a 'T' one side for touch tone dialing and a 'P' for pulse dialing, which used the same keypad but generated a series of clicks with each press of a button to mimic the rapid opening and closing of a rotary dial circuit.

Times have really changed. It's hard to believe that I've been without a landline for more than 12 years now. Although I have AT&T U-Verse for my TV and Internet, the phone jacks in my house aren't even physically connected to the outside world anymore. After Super Storm Sandy, Verizon (another former 'baby bell') opted not to restore wire line service to some outlying coastal regions damaged by the storm. Instead, they issued customers boxes to plug into a phone jack that connected the household phones to Verizon's mobile phone network.

Post# 351191 , Reply# 12   4/29/2016 at 05:34 (452 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
Well things are still

getting messed up at times.
An ATT/SBC cherry picker was working on the next street behind my neighbors house, and ever since, they have had Wide Open West out 5 times because their cable and internet keeps going out. Even after a new modem the third time.
I had an answering machine back in the early 80's before the AT&T split, and I did get a few calls telling me I had unauthorized equipment on the line. I simply asked them why I was able to purchase a device at a store to record my phone messages. They had no answer, and hung up.
Make certain your wyfi wireless is secure, and be leary of strange cars sitting near your residence with someone inside. They may be trying to hack into it.

Post# 351252 , Reply# 13   4/30/2016 at 13:03 (451 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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There is a link to my Telephone overview/demo YouTube Channel, I have two videos up at the moment if anyone is interested.

Post# 351262 , Reply# 14   4/30/2016 at 17:36 (451 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
I watched them

and I'm partial to the orange phone, but all of your pics are easy on the eyes Alex.
Oops, sorry, maybe that's the medication talking.
I'm really a gentleman.
I thought I gave myself a hernia last week by overdoing it with the outdoor spring work, but my doc said that's not it.
I have an ultrasound Monday, so he gave me something for pain to tide me over.
Also said to take it easy. All I've done is laundry, some light cooking and dishes.
I hate being limited to the house, not being able to at least do cardio at the gym.

Post# 351298 , Reply# 15   5/1/2016 at 11:31 (450 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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Orange? You mean Red?
Why what pics have you been looking at? 😜😂

Post# 351301 , Reply# 16   5/1/2016 at 12:18 (450 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        

that was Grayson's orange phone linked to your channel.
Oh, what photo? wink wink.
Reminds me of my youth is all.

Post# 351308 , Reply# 17   5/1/2016 at 13:30 (450 days old) by Turbo500 (West Yorkshire, UK)        

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GPO Phones, Alex...? I wonder what started that interest :)

Post# 351309 , Reply# 18   5/1/2016 at 13:37 (450 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        
Oh my!

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Post# 351310 , Reply# 19   5/1/2016 at 13:41 (450 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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Fail, that horrific photo that you made actually features a Westerm Electric 500, not a GPO 700 series.

Some things never change, sigh.

Post# 351366 , Reply# 20   5/2/2016 at 11:17 (449 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
I wouldn't call it a collection, but

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I have many phones. My aunt worked in Manhattan for New York Telephone. She had phones everywhere. I now have them: rotary, slimline, wall, desk, etc. They were so well built.

Post# 351429 , Reply# 21   5/3/2016 at 04:49 (448 days old) by SeamusUK (Dover Kent UK)        
GPO - BT Film Archive.......

Hi Alex

Have a look through the film archive....



Post# 351474 , Reply# 22   5/3/2016 at 16:34 (448 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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Thanks Seamus, very interesting bit of heritage there.

Gottahaveahoove - yeh they really were well built, I don't think we will ever see that same engendering like that again.

Post# 351526 , Reply# 23   5/4/2016 at 10:28 (447 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Never in a million

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years :(

Post# 352332 , Reply# 24   5/17/2016 at 21:50 (434 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
Here are a couple more additions to my phone collection...

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PO Trimphone (with famous buzzer ringer)

Post# 352333 , Reply# 25   5/17/2016 at 21:51 (434 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
And my...

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BT Contempra

Post# 352396 , Reply# 26   5/19/2016 at 02:21 (432 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

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Remember these phone plugs?  We had about 4 of these in our house.


Then they switched to the new modular plugs, still in use today, around 1978.


Also, the copper wires they used back then, in the walls, was like three times the gauge they use now.  




What's with the laughing baby videos?  Someone spikes their kids milk with Brandy, puts a video camera on the kid, posts the vid, and get a ba-Jillion views.

Post# 352398 , Reply# 27   5/19/2016 at 05:58 (432 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
Knott's Landing (1978-ish)

baby kidnapping episode scene:
A red Western electric desk phone rings as Joan Van Ark's hand hovers over it, shaking, and her voice quivers, "the babies".

Post# 352402 , Reply# 28   5/19/2016 at 06:30 (432 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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Are those American types?

Our phones were always hard wired into the wall until BT came about in 1981 and it was changed to a modular type plug, not sure on the proper name of it but it was commonly know as the BT plug.

I believe those GPO 700 type phones that were used in commercial applications could have the option of having a metal pin plug so they could be easily removed, similar to the metal pins that operators used to connect you to a line back in the day, but prior to 1981, all UK domestic phone lines were hard wired.

This is what the 1981-present, BT plug looks like.

Post# 352410 , Reply# 29   5/19/2016 at 08:35 (432 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        

the clear small plastic plug is the modular later type. Four prongs went out about after 1976.

Post# 352599 , Reply# 30   5/21/2016 at 17:52 (430 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

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Knot's (one 'T') Landing didn't start until 1979.

Valene didn't lose her babies until 1984.

Abby had her two kids, Brian and Olivia, kidnapped by their Father Jeff.  Maybe that's what you're referring to?

CLICK HERE TO GO TO delaneymeegan's LINK

Post# 352601 , Reply# 31   5/21/2016 at 18:02 (430 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

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Phone plugs have been around even longer than I realized.  It's not uncommon even today, to see homes built in the 50s and 60s, that still have the old style plug.


It was common in upper scale restaurants to offer phone service at the table, if there was a call for someone.  The staff would bring the phone, plug in, and let the customer use the phone, then remove the phone when done.

Also, people with pools and patios would typically have one or two weather proof phone jacks outside, so they could talk while sitting at the pool.  The phone of course, would be easily removed during inclimate weather.


The British jack looks like an ethernet plug.


Post# 352619 , Reply# 32   5/22/2016 at 06:08 (429 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
Yes Delaney,

though I saw many episodes, the exact dates are a blur to me, as are some of the 80's contemporary styles, and cars. Little changed that decade, like the boxy ugly Ford Fairmont's used on the show, etc.
I did not like the Ewing's house décor, but I favored the Fairgates.
I even had Karen's station wagon (Colony Park) as a company car for a year. In fact one of my personal dreams then was to own a car dealership, but then I became an ethical person after learning how many of them operated.
Abbey's house was also ugly. Too stark for my taste. But all in all, we've gotta Love middle class America, or at least as it was then.

Post# 352647 , Reply# 33   5/22/2016 at 21:23 (429 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

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You had a Colony Park !?   Oh wow.  That's how bizarre I was.  That was one of my favorite cars when I was 15.   Along with the Audi 4000, the Volkswagon Rabbit, and the Lincoln Town Car.  LOL.


Did you have an LS or GS?


I loved those carriage lights.  In fact my first car, as a 19 year old, was a 4 year old, 1983 Grand Marquis LS Sedan (sibling to the Grand Marquis Colony Park wagon).  It was white with a blue leather interior.  

fond memories.   I wouldn't be caught owning a beast like that today, but still.....


Yes, Abby's house was 70s, San Fernando Valley bland.   Back then, that house literally had a stone/gravel roof.  Presumably the stones stayed in place with a healthy topping of tar as a base.  


I liked Laura and Richards, the way it was then.  It's been painted a much lighter color now and that takes away from the way it was- a French Tudor inspired design with wood shingles.  


When I lived in Northridge California back in 1986, I was literally a 15 minute bike ride from Crystalaire Plc., and didn't even know it.   LOL.


I'm still not sure which Kenmore canister Karen had.  I haven't been able to locate the episode where Diana is taking it out of the closet, planning to take it to Abby's, but Karen stops her because, well........ you can guess.  lol



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Post# 352663 , Reply# 34   5/23/2016 at 07:42 (428 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        

the Colony park I drove was the larger '78 model. I was relieving a supervisor who had to take a medical leave. That was some wagon! Lincoln smooth, and the same 9 or 10 m.p.g. city. 460 4 barrel.
I thought Karen had that one at the beginning of the show. Maybe not. Sid drove a 60's Mustang also. I can't believe I missed the Kenmore vac! Richard or Laura drove a Mustang, yes? Or was it Abbey? Seems I only remember Richard and Laura's kitchen or dining area, but their house had more style than Abbey's for sure.
Later on in the series, when Kevin Dobson appeared, did he drive a Jeep Cherokee?
Julie Harris went to high school with a friend of mines parents in Grosse pte. Mi.

Post# 352694 , Reply# 35   5/23/2016 at 16:17 (428 days old) by rugsucker (Elizabethton TN)        
--Colony Park--some wagon--Lincoln smooth--

One of the great wagons along with Town & Country,Vista Cruiser and others.Ford built at least one Colony Park wagon with Lincoln trim and different style wood as a show car.

Post# 352695 , Reply# 36   5/23/2016 at 16:32 (428 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
For sure.

Buick Estate wagon, and Olds Custom Cruiser also. There is a cherry '91 Country Squire around the block from me.

Post# 352762 , Reply# 37   5/24/2016 at 22:01 (427 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

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'78 Ford wagons were true, petroleum loving beasts.  No fuel injection.  They were heavy.  A relative had a couple of the 70s models- Country Squires. The new, and last, wagon design by Ford, that started in 1979, was some 1000 pounds lighter and about a foot shorter in length.  And yet, we'd still consider the likes of the Grand Marquis a "big car", but it got 18 MPG.  lol.


Richard had  blue mustang. Diana's murderer boyfriend Chip, borrowed a mustang from Karen's dealership.  Not sure what Sid's jalopy was. 


Yes, Kevin's character drove a Cherokee. Julie recently passed.  Still remember here fresh face in East of Eden. 




Post# 352768 , Reply# 38   5/25/2016 at 03:50 (426 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
Another addition to my collection...

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Ivory GPO 746, I will need to convert this one with the new BT plug though, just look how unscathed the colour is! No sun damaging at all. 😀

Post# 352769 , Reply# 39   5/25/2016 at 06:37 (426 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
cool phone, wagon's;

Yeah, that's a nice one Alex.
Delaney, Didn't Sid Fairgate get killed in his blue Mustang?
I used to transfer up to 25 cases of 8 and 10 size cantalopes, and anything else between stores with that Colony Park. Occasionally, heavy shopping traffic in a store, or an inexperienced person doing ordering caused a light supply, so we were allowed to transfer merchandise a.s.a.p.. rather than wait for the next warehouse delivery trucks.
The following year, the company downsized to the even smaller than the former '77 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruisers. They had the 260 cubic inch V8, and no power.
By 1984 we got the Ford LTD wagons. Not Crown Vic's, but the Fairmont type LTD's with 6 cylinders. They still had more power than the Olds 260 V8.
In 1987, it was Taurus wagons, which hardly held anything due to their jelly bean shape and sharply raked rear lift gate.
By the 90's, no one got wagons. We had a choice of a 4 door Grand Prix, or Cutlass sedan, or a Dodge Dynasty. A&P was tighter with the transportation budget than the original family owners of our chain.
I had to add any bulky shortage add on's for my stores piggy backed onto the afternoon grocery trucks, room and weather permitting it wasn't too hot, or freezing. Dry goods trailers had no refer units.

Post# 352780 , Reply# 40   5/25/2016 at 15:12 (426 days old) by midcenturyfan (Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England)        

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I have decided to start collecting telephones and, so far, I have acquired these two. The black example is a 746 model, dating from 1971, and the ivory phone is a 706 model, from 1966.

Fortunately, both phones were in good condition and only needed a thorough cleaning. The previous owner of the ivory one was a heavy smoker, and it took several hours of work to remove the grime.

I have converted both telephones so the they will work with a modern British Telecom socket. The conversion was extremely easy to do, and the parts cost less than £10 per phone. Obviously, those of you in other parts of the world should check with your phone provider before buying an old phone, and do some research into what conversion work might be required.


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Post# 352867 , Reply# 41   5/27/2016 at 16:18 (424 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

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A lot of these phones remind me of the Benny Hill show.


The hand sets look like they weigh a lot, compared to newer phones.  We inherited a black rotary 1950s phone (U.S.) from a relative.  The handset was considerably heavier than a more modern phone.  


Video starts at 20:27

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Post# 352869 , Reply# 42   5/27/2016 at 18:02 (424 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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They are not heavy but they have a certain feel of quality to them certainly

Post# 352882 , Reply# 43   5/27/2016 at 23:34 (424 days old) by midcenturyfan (Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England)        

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These telephones definitely have a tactile quality to them.

Post# 352902 , Reply# 44   5/28/2016 at 11:50 (423 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

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This is what we inherited.  Those sharp corners, and the apparent concrete weights inside, make the handset an excellent murder weapon.  


Perhaps, just...  perhaps, it was the inspiration for the movie Dial M for Murder.  (wicked laugh) But seriously....  

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Post# 352903 , Reply# 45   5/28/2016 at 12:03 (423 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        
Some Favorite rotary dial phones

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have to be certain Western Electric, modularized, and in certain colours.

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Post# 352907 , Reply# 46   5/28/2016 at 14:21 (423 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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Ahh, but those are yank phones, lol 😉

Post# 352928 , Reply# 47   5/29/2016 at 03:08 (422 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        
Yes they are !

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And you would love them, cutey. 


They aren't as sophisticated as a certain someones "White slim line telephone with last number redial at one-touch facility" , but rotary dial phones are more interesting, whether in the UK, or US.


Service changes- Back in 'the day', one could make phone calls and there was no caller ID. A situation that would, no doubt, be of interest to you. lol


I'm wondering if US phones were compatible with BTs network, and if UK phones would have worked on US Bell Networks.



Post# 352932 , Reply# 48   5/29/2016 at 06:54 (422 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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They do, just have to change the plug from the BT type plug to the modular type plug and vice versa.

There is an American collector that has a GPO 746 and it works just fin in the US, he has an adapter to change the plug into modular...What is interesting, is that when it rings it doesn't go ring ring like the 700s normally do, it did the US style single long ring.

Post# 353322 , Reply# 49   6/5/2016 at 21:10 (415 days old) by mcrabbitman (Virginia)        

The ring type is controlled by the Telco - their systems send out what is known as 'ring voltage' across the line to jingle the telephone. BT sends out 2 relatively short bursts at a time, resulting in the ring ring you are familiar with, whereas the US Telcos send out one longer burst at a time.

Post# 353331 , Reply# 50   6/5/2016 at 22:52 (415 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

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I like the U.K. ring tone.  



....and for that matter, the traditional two-tone siren on the patrol units.  So much more dignified compared to the obnoxious "American" siren.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO delaneymeegan's LINK

Post# 353336 , Reply# 51   6/6/2016 at 05:47 (414 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
always wondered

why the BT system had the double ring tone.
I've heard the British siren around here within the last decade, and I've heard our long wailing American type sirens on British detective shows on Netflix.

Post# 353381 , Reply# 52   6/7/2016 at 05:58 (413 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

alexhoovers94's profile picture
The double ring tone was always used and still is, in the UK...I like the American single tone too, but it just seems like it doesn't ring for as long, lol.

Post# 353389 , Reply# 53   6/7/2016 at 09:13 (413 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

delaneymeegan's profile picture



Oh Alex, admit it.  You want so badly to come to the U.S.  We know it.  lol


But, I don't know if you could get through border patrol.  Something tells me you may have... restrictions......


I've this suspicion maybe you were a child arsonist, or you pushed your mother down a stairs when you were 8 for the fun of it.  I don't know what it is.   lol. 

Post# 353403 , Reply# 54   6/7/2016 at 12:48 (413 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

alexhoovers94's profile picture
What? What on earth are you talking about?!

Post# 353420 , Reply# 55   6/7/2016 at 16:49 (413 days old) by Air-WayCharlie (USA)        
Trimlines and Princesses

air-waycharlie's profile picture
I wanted to share a few pics of my favorite phone. I really like the rotary Trimlines and Princess phones. The lighted handsets are so interesting.

Several of these require an external power transformer. After about 1974 the phones no longer needed them.

Post# 353421 , Reply# 56   6/7/2016 at 16:50 (413 days old) by Air-WayCharlie (USA)        

air-waycharlie's profile picture
Off the cradles:

Post# 353422 , Reply# 57   6/7/2016 at 16:52 (413 days old) by Air-WayCharlie (USA)        

air-waycharlie's profile picture
The 75th Anniversary Imperial 202, (gold plated), and the classic 302:

Post# 353423 , Reply# 58   6/7/2016 at 16:53 (413 days old) by Air-WayCharlie (USA)        

air-waycharlie's profile picture
Some Princess models and an Ericophon:

Post# 353424 , Reply# 59   6/7/2016 at 17:01 (413 days old) by Air-WayCharlie (USA)        

air-waycharlie's profile picture
Two older Trimlines with the larger 212 handset plugs different from the modern modular plugs. The line cord is also the larger 212 into the phone. The blue one has suffered some major fading/discoloring---however true to form with Western Electric/AT&T, it works just great!

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size
Post# 353471 , Reply# 60   6/8/2016 at 00:24 (413 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        
That's a sweet collection, Charlie

delaneymeegan's profile picture



I'm glad you mentioned the larger modular, handset cord.  I remember discovering them, years ago, but not understanding how to remove them. It was apparently just for ease of manufacturing that they made them modular.  Then they later discovered they could make the cords removable and save even more resources.


Those all look great !

Post# 353502 , Reply# 61   6/8/2016 at 15:49 (412 days old) by midcenturyfan (Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England)        

midcenturyfan's profile picture
I love the look of those Princess phones. Does anyone know whether they can easily be wired for use in the UK?


Post# 353504 , Reply# 62   6/8/2016 at 17:32 (412 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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If you get your hands on a modulr one, you can put a modular cord woth a UK BT plug on and it will work just as normal on a UK BT landline.

Post# 353516 , Reply# 63   6/9/2016 at 01:46 (411 days old) by midcenturyfan (Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England)        

midcenturyfan's profile picture
Thanks for the information. I would quite like one of those phones for my bedroom. I will keep an eye out on Ebay for a suitable example.

Post# 353856 , Reply# 64   6/15/2016 at 15:22 (405 days old) by midcenturyfan (Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England)        

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I have just acquired another telephone. It is a 332F model, dating from 1946.


  View Full Size
Post# 353983 , Reply# 65   6/18/2016 at 06:48 (402 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

alexhoovers94's profile picture
Very nice.

Post# 353993 , Reply# 66   6/18/2016 at 09:53 (402 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
I got myself another GPO 746 in Topaz Yellow.

alexhoovers94's profile picture
This one is Brandnew and never used, it was rented out from the post office in 1978, but never got connected and remained in someones loft ever since.
I converted it with the new BT plug and moved about some of the internals to accomidate the modern BT system.

This first pic is a before photo, see, had the original line cord with the GPO terminal block.

Post# 353996 , Reply# 67   6/18/2016 at 10:00 (402 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
After conversion, now with modern BT plug

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Post# 353997 , Reply# 68   6/18/2016 at 10:03 (402 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
The base.

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With Post office released stamp and dated 78.

Post# 353998 , Reply# 69   6/18/2016 at 10:04 (402 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
Here is the internal parts of the dial.

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Post# 353999 , Reply# 70   6/18/2016 at 10:05 (402 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
The bells.

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Post# 354000 , Reply# 71   6/18/2016 at 10:06 (402 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
The internal wiring.

alexhoovers94's profile picture

Post# 354002 , Reply# 72   6/18/2016 at 10:08 (402 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
Finally, here it is in my living room set up ready to use.

alexhoovers94's profile picture

Post# 354046 , Reply# 73   6/18/2016 at 23:43 (402 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        

delaneymeegan's profile picture




Very nice.  I like the pastel colors of the 60s.


What did you have to rewire internally?


Do you have a crimper and plugs, or did you have someone put on the modular plug?

Post# 354049 , Reply# 74   6/19/2016 at 01:11 (402 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

alexhoovers94's profile picture
No, it is an entire new line cord in the original matching colour (yep, you can still get hold of all the colours!) with BT plug already fitted, all that has to be done with the wiring is as follows...

Remove the strap between T4 and T5 and replace it with that 3.3k resistor, remove the strap between T6 and T7.
Then remove the strap between T8 and T9 and insert inbetween T17 and T18. Replace the line cord with the new BT plug type and that is it, converted.

The rectifier between T1 and T2 should already be fitted but I changed it out for new one incase it has degraded over time, which is why it looks different on this pic...Anyway, this is what an unconverted phone looks like (how it was originally) and if you compare it to the other pic of the wiring I posted, you can see what has been moved about. 😊

Just as a note "T" means Terminal and all the terminals are numbered from left to right...Top row, T1-T9 and bottom row T10-T19

Post# 354050 , Reply# 75   6/19/2016 at 01:18 (402 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

alexhoovers94's profile picture
Unconverted on the left (old system) and converted on the right (new/modern system)

Post# 354052 , Reply# 76   6/19/2016 at 02:09 (401 days old) by midcenturyfan (Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England)        

midcenturyfan's profile picture
That is a nice looking phone. Topaz yellow is a lovely colour.

It is a shame that the range of colours from the GPO and BT was fairly limited.


Post# 354056 , Reply# 77   6/19/2016 at 08:08 (401 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
It is indeed a lovely colour! 😊

alexhoovers94's profile picture
Infact, I have a Hoover Senior in that colour, lol!

Post# 354116 , Reply# 78   6/20/2016 at 11:12 (400 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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Post# 354287 , Reply# 79   6/22/2016 at 01:59 (398 days old) by midcenturyfan (Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England)        

midcenturyfan's profile picture
I like some of those slightly strange 1970s colours.

Post# 355198 , Reply# 80   7/2/2016 at 17:16 (388 days old) by delaneymeegan (Mary Richards lived here)        
Alex need your help in AW forum

delaneymeegan's profile picture


Alex, our dapper lad, what type phone did Hyacinth have?



Post# 355262 , Reply# 81   7/3/2016 at 12:20 (387 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

alexhoovers94's profile picture
I just posted on there, take a look ☺️

We had one in our kitchen a few years back...BT Minstrel.

Post# 356264 , Reply# 82   7/19/2016 at 02:07 (371 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

sebo_fan's profile picture
Actually those Princess phones were available in the UK. Wild n Wolf have also done similar ones but not half as good quality.

When I was growing up my parents had Trimphones, including the garish one in leatherette. Here's the Wild n Wolf Princess

Wild n Wolf also brought out a repo Trimphone a few years ago. I have a white one.


  View Full Size
Post# 356392 , Reply# 83   7/21/2016 at 11:50 (369 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

alexhoovers94's profile picture
That is a replica princess phone, not a Western Electric, the original princess phone was never sold, or should I say, rented, in the UK.

What we had that was similar, was the GPO Trimphone. We never got the Trimline phones either, we did get varients of them in the late 80s and 90s.

Post# 356397 , Reply# 84   7/21/2016 at 14:26 (369 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

sebo_fan's profile picture
Thats interesting to know Alex. So in theory since we didn't have those GPO Princess phones, I guess the replica REPO ones that Wild n Wolf sell must be pretty unique.

Post# 357923 , Reply# 85   8/18/2016 at 14:48 (341 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
Here are some more additions to my phone collection...

alexhoovers94's profile picture
GPO 782, a Touchtone, push button version of the GPO 746.

Here it is in Ivory.

Post# 357924 , Reply# 86   8/18/2016 at 14:51 (341 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

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BT Snoopy And The Woodstock rotary dial telephone...This was a part of the BT "Telephone Special Range" which I believe the TRS range came out in 1978...This Snoopy phone is a little later, from 1981.

Post# 357925 , Reply# 87   8/18/2016 at 15:00 (341 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
finally (for now) my Trimline based phone...

alexhoovers94's profile picture
My BT Minstrel 5011 Slimline telephone, incidentally, this was the same phone Hyacinth had in "Keeping Up Appearances" in Series 1...She had the Minstrel plus in Series 2 and then a different one for the rest of the series, not sure what that was though, but this was her original phone (bellow) only, Hyacinth had it in "pearl white" and not "Coral pink".

Post# 357926 , Reply# 88   8/18/2016 at 15:04 (341 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
Of course, can you spot it? Last number redial!!! hahaha.

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Post# 357945 , Reply# 89   8/19/2016 at 06:01 (340 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        
What does the smaller

redial button do, or rather, the large bottom R button?
Love the Snoopy phone.
I have a Mickey Mouse phone somewhere packed away in my dads things he left me.
I don't know who made it. I don't think Western Electric, or AT&T.

Post# 357951 , Reply# 90   8/19/2016 at 08:51 (340 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
The "R" button...

alexhoovers94's profile picture
Is a recall button, used when on a phone call to some one to bring back the dial to make another call which basically puts the other person on hold.

The Snoopy and Woodstock phone, as well as the Mikey Mouse phone, in the UK were suplied by British Telecom and made by the EET company for BT, in the very late 70s and early 80s, they were part of BTs TSR phones (Telephone Special Range) also named "Design line" by AT&T which these were part of in the US...Not sure what comapny made them in the US, but they were suplied by AT&T.

The only difference between the UK and US MM phone and the S&WS phone is the dial and internals.
The US one had a gold finish Western Electric 500 type dial, where as the UK one had a regular GPO type dial, the US one had a Trimline bell ringer, where as the UK ones had a Trimphone electronic ringer.

Also, both companies in both countries made them in push button varients as well as rotary dial...Although the UK push button model was pulse and not DTMF, like the US push button one, not sure why, I think many exchanges didn't supprt the digital tones back then, although the 782 phone, shown above, ^^ is DTMF and from around the same kind of time, so, who knows.

Here is the base of my BT Snoopy and Woodstock phone.

Post# 357972 , Reply# 91   8/19/2016 at 15:40 (340 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        

they call the recall feature call waiting here. Older phones used the star or asteric keys. Now you just touch the hang up button to switch over.

Post# 357977 , Reply# 92   8/19/2016 at 19:42 (340 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

alexhoovers94's profile picture
Yep, do that hear too, just tap the switch hook and it restores dialtone.

Post# 357992 , Reply# 93   8/20/2016 at 09:43 (339 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
I was WAITING for the "automatic redial".

gottahaveahoove's profile picture

 because, "I won't have it if it doesn't have automatic redial".  lol LOVED that show.  I've been called, "the male version of Hiacynth".  Also been called "Jackie Kennedy".  I figured, others have been called WORSE!

  great phone collection there.

Post# 359045 , Reply# 94   9/9/2016 at 21:46 (319 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
My Current Telephone collection!

alexhoovers94's profile picture
It has grown a bit since the start of this thread! Lol.

Post# 360424 , Reply# 95   10/5/2016 at 17:04 (293 days old) by DaveTranter (Central England, U.K.)        
GPO Telephones

Nice to type at you again, Alex :-)

It's nice to see a thread about something I understand!!! ;-)

I'm an Ex-GPO Engineer, and am familiar with all the types of instrument you have in your collection. I have a fair collection of spare parts, internal diagrams, etc. as well as exchange equipment parts.

Reading this thread (apart from the digression into automotive territory) has been a bit of a 'trip down Memory Lane' for me. It's nice to see that a few of the rising generation are still collecting this old junk... Ahem.. I mean desirable equipment.

All best

Dave T

Post# 360453 , Reply# 96   10/6/2016 at 11:22 (292 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
very nice stuff.

gottahaveahoove's profile picture

Isn't it nice to hear, "you have nice equipment"?

Post# 360481 , Reply# 97   10/6/2016 at 16:07 (292 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        

alexhoovers94's profile picture
I find these old telephones facinating and how they were once such an over used item of the home that is now becoming almost completely unused. I think they deserve to be well preserved in a collection.

I think it is fascinating that they still work on the same old system as they always have, with just a slight switching around of the line cords to have the latest BT fitting. Fortunately BT and Sky which we keep juming between, (due to costs increases/decreases) still accept pulse dialing! ☺️ So fully functional in my house. 😀

John, you have seem it yourself? Do you like my equipment?! 😉

Post# 360483 , Reply# 98   10/6/2016 at 16:16 (292 days old) by AlexHoovers94 (Manchester UK)        
Here is a very iconic phone..The Tone Ring Illuminated model

alexhoovers94's profile picture
Named the Trimphone...With the infamous radioactive glowing dial and the very shrill cricket chirp electronic ringer. (First phone to do aways with a traditional bell ring)

Never the less, still a very nice phone and VERY 60s/70s!

This one is converted and ready to plug in and use.

Post# 360500 , Reply# 99   10/6/2016 at 18:59 (292 days old) by vacerator (Macomb Michigan)        

really cool looking! Farenheit 451-ish. Right off the Alton Estate.

Post# 360533 , Reply# 100   10/7/2016 at 15:49 (291 days old) by DaveTranter (Central England, U.K.)        
'The infamous radioactive glowing dial'

.... Properly referred to as the 'BetaLite', Used a thin glass tube, lined with a green phosphor, and containing a tiny amount of Tritium. Sadly, none of them still glow, as the phosphors have long become exhausted. The Tritium will still be going strong. Beta radiation is not particularly harmful, unless you inhale the gas. I still have a few Trimphones (and a BetaLite tube), which emit a just detectable glow in a darkened room.. (where I spend most of my time, of course!!).. ;-)

Get yourself a 'Compact' if you can.... Of the 'common' telephones, they were the rarest. Needs a separate bellset, btw....

With reference to the 'weightiness' of these old instruments, they certainly were well engineered, but the handsets of the 200 and 300 Series are particularly heavy because they contain a lead weight to ensure disconnection when replaced on the instrument.

Have fun!!

Dave T

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