More on the wooden phone

By Rob Scovell, in , posted: 5-Jul-2007 11:22

The text and picture below is from A fascinating site, if you like that kind of thing!

By 1942 the PMG was running out of magneto telephones. A substantial amount of Australia's phones was still magneto, but supplies from Britain were interrupted by the Second World War. The older Commonwealth Ericsson telephones were wearing out, as were the other early magneto fixed transmitter phones. Many customers were used to the Ericsson handset, and would not like going back to the separate transmitter and receiver arrangement available on other wall phones. The only alternative for a magneto wall phone was to mount a table phone on a wall bracket and mount a separate generator box with it.

Commonwealth Ericsson phones, because of their high standard of finish and elaborate woodwork, were expensive to refurbish. A reasonable supply of recovered Stromberg Carlson and Ericsson phones of the Tele 33 and Tele 35 models was available, and these were fairly inexpensive to refurbish. The APO decided to renovate these phones and add a handset to modernise them. A side benefit to the APO was the extra rental charged at that time for handset phones. On June 1 , 1942, an Engineering Instruction E2020 was released introducing the new phones.

Where possible, a Stromberg Carlson was to be replaced with an upgraded Stromberg Carlson, and likewise for the Ericsson models. They were not to be used to replace a Commonwealth Ericsson, however. The bakelite handset gave better transmission than the old fixed transmitter models, but this was not always the case with an Ericsson handset. The phones were quite suitable for long rural lines.


A "How To Call" instruction plate (used to cover the old transmitter holes) was mounted vertically to cover the marks left by the transmitter mount. Writing slopes often had to be replaced, and there are different patterns and timbers used. Each phone was fitted with a note clip at the top of the writing slope. A similar refurbishment was sometimes carried out in New Zealand, but the old transmitter holes were simply filled with wooden plugs.

Other related posts:
Old phone ringer working
Old phone plan
Some useful advice about the wooden phone

Author's note by robscovell, on 5-Jul-2007 12:05

Note the wooden plugs in this NZ version of the phone.

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