Black Light District

The town where I live is often indicated as 013, which is its landline area code before the mobile era. This year it is 213 years ago that this town got the city rights from Napoleon back in 1809.

Obviously a reason to celebrate so I took these pictures at a piece of light art in a dark town district.

Nature Is A Language

People do all kinds of stuff with and to Ericofons. We already had the posts on cloned models, painted models and on lamp models. Now we have a new category: wrapped models.

Ulla-Stina Wikander is an artist located in Sweden. She is wrapping all kinds of weird stuff in cross stitch embroided landscape fabrics, including Ericofons.

If you like it, it must be nice but I prefer my Ericofons natural instead of Zentai. There is one exception of course.

Things Happen

These are quite a bunch of very very rare Ericofons you see here. Unfortunately they are not mine. 🙁 I am not aware of the origin of these picture, but if it is your set of Ericofons, please contact me, as I found them on social media.

These are so called ‘swirl’ types. They were never officially produced. But they were obviously the result of moving from one color to another in the production process.

It seems that when they were producing red Ericofons for instance, and they wanted to start producing whites, the colors could mix in the machine. A few models would have these effects during that switch. Usually they were thrown away, but I am pretty sure that these phone were so cool that you just had to smuggle them out.

What I find strange, is that the cap also has the same effect. I always thought the caps would be produced separately. Or… they just produced both more or less in the same production line, at the same time. Or… they had to look for a cap somewhere… I don’t know.

They are gorgeous!

Time For Tea And Feed The Thing

I’ll start the year in full Swedish design!

Both Polestar and the Ericofon are fabulous pieces of Swedish design from 1954 to 2020. It took some time and tea before I had it all to work but in the end it is there! With the Vivaldi browser I could open this site…

Teenage Lightning

Already for a long time I know that there are playsets from the Ericofon on the market. But never I have bought one. Now I got the opportunity to get one from France although the origin is Italian.

This set reminded me of the 4 intercom sets I made with 2 Ericofons for an exhibition back in 2018.

Two Ericofons connected by a simple wire, functioning as an intercom… a nice playset for kids. In the old days at least. Not sure if these days kids will still be amused by these kind of toys when they have a smartphone or tablet as well.

The size of the phones is approximately the same as the size of the original Ericofon. Nice detail is that the box is showing a wedge, but it contains a flat type of Ericofon (sorry… 😉 ). Each phone runs on a large 3V battery that I do not think are still for sale anymore. From the booklet, the following text I found quite amusing:

The ‘telefoni comunicanti’ playset was manufactured by Ingap, located in Padova, Italy and has article number 6090. They were quite famous with their tin, and later plastic, cars as from the 1930’s onwards. Unfortunately I do not know the year of production but I expect it should have been produced in the 1960’s.

There was also a 2/3 scale Brio Ericofon toy on the market but this one I haven’t seen popping up yet.

Cathedral in Flames

On September 11th 2015 the JKL museum (aka American Museum of Telephony) in Butte, California, USA was hit by a forest fire and got destroyed. Everything in the collection unfortunately disappeared in the flames. The picture below (courtesy of JKL Museum) shows the havoc.

Almost immediately after the damage was done, they started rebuilding their museum and a new collection. What was achieved in the past years is incredible. If you visit their website you can see what was done. Not only the building, but especially the extensive collection they have today is amazing.

JKL Museum… it’s strange to name your museum after the letters under the 5 in the dial. But the name comes from the main benefactor, John K. La Rue. Makes sense now.

And of course they have a couple of, I spotted 9, Ericofons as well. I noticed this Persian Grey manual Ericofon that I provided to the museum already back in 2016, a few months after the fire. They even have the 700 Gold Centenary, which took me ages to find 😉 It is really impressive to see what they have when you take the virtual tour through their space.

Dismal Orb

On Instagram (yes, you can find me there as well) I encountered some very nice drawings of Ericofons. They were made by Jonn Celemente from Sweden. All credits to this artist!!

Besides these 3 Ericofon related drawings he is also creating very very nice other pieces of art. Please check him out in Instagram as well.

The drawings are beautifully made and some give me a slight feeling of discomfort. This is very personal but this is what I like in art: a grinding feeling here and there does not hurt anyone ;-).

Back Into The Woods

Every summer there is an art exhibition in the woods close by. It is a great initiative that is free to visit for everyone, but it would be great if you donate something so this project can continue.

In the woods there is a French pond with 2 small piers, one on each side. This year the piers were covered in silver and gold, which inspired me to make some pictures with my silver and gold Ericofons. So early this sunny Sunday morning I went back into the woods with my camera and some phones in a bag. Here’s a small impression.

The artwork is called ‘The sun and the moon’ and was created by Ugo Rondinone. You can also check out the site of the ‘Lustwarande‘ exhibition.

Four Horsemen

Nichco Inc… the company that wanted to spice up the Ericofon again in the late 1970’s (after CEAC did the same some years before). Some more history in a previous post here. I was still doubting if I should continue collecting the Nichco series. But I was tempted again this week when I got the opportunity to buy a Metallic Grey model. the metallic is so cool! So it looks like collecting now I guess. In the end it is still a semi-official series.

4 Nichco painted Ericofons, 2 wedge and 2 flat.

At this moment I know that 12 different colors in this metallic paint exist. Most likely they appear all 12 in new case flat and wedge but we only know when we see them popping up somewhere.

  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Chartreuse
  • Copper
  • Dark Green
  • Gold
  • Grey
  • Mint Green
  • Orange
  • Purple
  • Red
  • Rose

The drawback of painted Ericofons is that it is hard or even impossible to repair any damage to the paint. That is really a pity since paint damage is quite common after 40+ years. But the metallic paint is so beautiful in the sun…

Besides the Nichco metallic phones, CEAC also did some painting in the past. I do have some brown CEAC models, but I do not have any information on other colors they used. The painting by CEAC was done in a less subtle way as I concluded from the cases that I have seen.

The only original painted, or plated, Ericofons are the Gold, Aztec gold and Chrome model. This was done by North Electric. This paint contains metal and conducts like hell as I found out 🙂 .

At The Heart Of It All

This is a crazy year… or should I say crazy month? Two Ericofons that I thought were not possible to get myself, showed up in a couple of weeks time. Both models we never available in the shops.

After the clear model of last month, I was able to buy the famous Centenary Golden 700 model. It came without the original box, which is a pity, but in perfect shape. Not a scratch. For sure it was never used as the gold is quite vulnerable. Of course both phones did not came for free but as I am Dutch you can expect I am always in for a bargain 😉

From the Ericsson website:

Ericsson’s 100th anniversary took place in 1976 and was celebrated on a grand scale throughout the entire year. The official anniversary date was May 5, which was Lars Magnus Ericsson’s 130th birthday. In Stockholm, the high point of the celebration was the first week in May, when nearly 300 prominent foreign guests were invited to Sweden. These included ministers of telecommunications and general directors from telecom authorities throughout the world.

To commemorate the occasion, a new version of the highly successful Cobra telephone that included a key pad was produced and given the name Ericofon 700. All invited guests received a gold-plated Ericofon 700, each of which had been adapted technically to the guest’s home country.

So it seems that this phone was given to the guests at the special event. Approximately 300 of these models do exist which makes it hard to find. My particular model seems to be unused. The rubber gasket is intact (but a bit hardened), the cord is original and came with a Swedish plug. Normally I do remove the cords but with this one I do not want to break the rubber.

This special edition has a tag at the front and a black earpiece but I have also seen a gold plated 700 without the tag and fully in gold. There is also a hybrid version: on the picture in the post from 2 months ago you can see this model without the tag. It was taken from the Annual Report of ’75. I guess the tags were added for the festivities.