First of all we have 4 different colors of pink: Dusty Rose, Riviera, Princess Pink and Petal Pink. There is an interesting story on the latter two, Princess and Petal Pink.
In the beginning there was a color named Princess Pink. It sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale, but no prince is expected to drop in here. And it does not turn out too good in the end for this this American princess. The color palette in the USA, where she was part of, consisted of 18 different colors as you can see in this previous post. Petal Pink did not yet exist at this time.
In the early 1960’s (~1961) it was decided that North Electric could produce all Ericofons for the US market. One year before (~1960) the New Case was introduced. At this time it was also decided that the US color palette was to be reduced from 18 to 8 colors. Ten colors disappeared but Princess Pink was swapped out by her new rival Petal Pink. Petal even stole Princess’ color code (520541). This code is now applicable for both colors…
There could be different reasons for this swap of pink that took place. Maybe the Princess Pink was not such a popular color. This is most likely also the reason of 10 colors disappearing. Or it was to avoid confusion with the Bell System “Princess phone” marketed by Western Electric, which was getting popular as well at that time.
So the result of this story is that the following models are available: Petal Pink in only New Case (both, flat and wedge). There was never an Old Case produced as the swap was done the moment new cases already existed. Princess Pink exists in all 3 cases. But the New Case (wedge) not from US production, only from other markets (e.g. Sweden). From both colors there is also a Touch Tone version available.
If you ask me, my favorite is the Princess. Petal is the bad mother-in-law.
Actually I thought that I knew everything, or at least a lot, about the existence of all types of Ericofons. But what shows up in the past weeks? A model I have never heard of before. I know the 600, the 700 and all the deviations from these. But the 5000 I was not aware of. 🙂
It is a hands-free table phone that can be used for conferences. Produced by KonfTel for Ericsson in 1998. The table phone itself is numbered 5010 (or 5020), the whole unit 5000.
One thing is sure: this one will not end up in my collection.
The following guy did some fun things with Ericofons and music. It uses the limited bandwidth of the Ericofons speaker to create a retro effect. Although it hurt my eyes to see the Ericofons being ‘abused’, it is kind of nice.
This time a bit of a more technical article on the Ericofon chassis. From time to time I get some questions on the big red button on the bottom. The problem often is that it will not come out, or come out slowly, once the phone is lifted. This will end up in a call that will be answered late after picking up or not at all.
Above you can see the way to remove the red button.
When you take out the chassis from the shell you have to make sure you have access to the situation in the first picture. The red circle in the middle locates the top of the red button. The example in this picture is a Dutch PTT chassis with the typical PCB on top which needs to be removed by the 2 screws (note they do not have equal length).
When the oval hole as in the second picture can be seen, you need to put a small screwdriver inside it. Carefully drag the screwdriver slowly in the direction of the arrow so that you take the upper metal strip with it. Approximately 0.5 cm (0.2 inch) should do. The red button will be released.
You will notice that the pin attached to the red button is dirty and should be cleaned and lubricated again. This secret will resolve your issue. 😉
Other chassis might have different layouts of PCB’s, ringers or capacitors that are in the way. But the principle of locking and unlocking the red button is exactly the same for all chassis.
Note: For the more advanced engineers: you can also unlock the red button from the side of the chassis. Position the screwdriver carefully on a ridge of the metal strip you want to move and push it forward. It will work and it is sometimes attractive to do so. But you have a 99.9% chance you just ruined your complex and vulnerable switch with all contacts without noticing. So do not use this method.
Over the years I have collected quite some Ericofons already. In that process of collecting I also got double models. I even get offered to buy small series from people who want to get rid of it (which I do not understand 😉 ).
In the meantime I really started to appreciate to turn old, dirty and sticky Ericofons into shiny like new models. All in original state, shiny, clean and working. It is a very satisfying activity. But it is also time and effort consuming.
Above is an impression of my ‘circulating library’. All models are still raw from the box, just as I received them. Everything circulates through from time to time: regular models, 700’s, Old Cases, Touch Tones, NOS etc, complete or not.
So if you have any Ericofons that you want to get rid off, either for my collection or for me to ‘re-animate’, please contact me. I am always interested to buy and I am sure we can work something out.
On the day my oldest daughter graduated from high school (Well done girl!!) I received this gorgeous Gold Plated Ericofon. As can be seen in the reflection, it is a habit in The Netherlands that when someone graduates you will put up a flag. Accompanied by balloons and old school books we decorated the front of the house. It’s party-time!
When opening the phone to see what was inside, I saw something logical and I want to share here. As the paint of the Gold Plated (and also the Chrome Plated) is highly conductive, you cannot just compile the Ericofon as any other model. In the past I was already literally shocked once when picking up a Gold Plated when it rang. Resulting in ~75VAC!! 🙂
When putting together a plated Ericofon, you have to make sure that all electrical elements that could get in contact with the paint are well insulated. North Electric tends to spray the inside of the phone as well, where Nichco does not. Use a lot of tape to be sure! This phone was not working initially, but after some taping all waveforms were going through the proper circuits and not through my body…
Some time ago I saw an interesting item on an auction. It was a set of documents from the early history of the Ericofon. Still referred to as Erifon at that time. It contained drawings and a vision on the future of the Erifon.
The drawings date back to July 4th 1942 (which surprises me as normally all Swedes are off for 2 months during summer 😉 ). Unfortunately I could not get hold of these documents, but this sample gives a pretty good impression of the “Erifons” history. A future they could never have predicted upfront.
Brown Ericofons appear in all kind of flavors. Original North Electric, the Dutch PTT dark, the CEAC painted, and of course the 700. And since last week I also have a Metallic Nichco in dark brown color as well. Rick from Canada was so kind to offer it to me and it is in perfect condition. Thank you Rick!!
In full sunshine, it lights up. The metallic is so beautiful!! This brown Ericofon is much darker than the Metallic Nichco Orange that I have although the picture above seems to show something else.
For a long time I was doubting if I should add these metallic series to my collection but I am glad I did it.
How many Nichco metallic colors there are is not really known but I have seen 12 different around. Randomly divided over the wedge and flat case rotaries but also in TouchTone makes at least 36 possible variations. At this moment I have 5.
Although the site is not yet up and running for 10 years, I have actually started my collection 10 years ago late February 2013 (Hurrah!).
When I started I focused on the Ericofons themselves, but later on I also started to get some related items. Most of them I have already shared here: historic pictures, promotional items, boxes, stamps, etc. It is actually fun!! Walking through the 1950s till the 1980s, 4 decades of history. So I will keep on collecting, I guess for the next 10 years as well. Not only the phones themselves, but also the historic surprises.
Last month I got some nice posters from the late 1970’s. These posters sized 35×25 cm (14×10 inches) were used in a store for promotional purposes. That is why there is some ‘sunwear’ on the colors. But that also has its charm.
The poster below is kind of legendary. It reflects the North Electric color palette that was marketed by North Electric in the heyday of the Ericofon in the United States. The color palette in other countries was much more limited.
As you can see the 18 different colors are all old cases. In a later stage this model was replaced by a new case shell. But not all colors survived this change in the United States as the palette was reduced to 8 colors. E.g. the Charcoal only exists in old case. Princess Pink was replaced with Petal Pink in the United States but survived outside in various models.
Some other colors survived the first new case, but not the second e.g. Nordic Blue, Dusty Rose, Chartreuse, Accent Green, Riviera and Royal Dubonnet.