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.
In December I gave some considerations on buying Ericofons online. With this post I want to focus on a specific topic in this area: painted Ericofons.
Sometimes you run into a specific color that you want (or need in my case 😉 ). Before you get carried away an click the ‘buy’ button there is a simple check you might be able to do because sometimes Ericofons are painted and do not show the original color. First thing of course is to ask the seller. But the seller might not respond to your question, might not know or just might say it is original…
The 2 colors brown are different, but the principle of the check is the same. On the left you see a different reflection on the phone around the holes of the microphone. This one is clearly painted, as paint, even if professionally applied tends to go around the sharp edged corners of the holes. The thicker the paint the higher the impact. Even with thin layered paint it can be visible. But of course it also depends the pictures you have.
Of course the pictures above were ‘exaggerated’ to show the principles of this small check you can do yourself. Just to make sure there are no surprises. Although surprises are sometimes great as well.
On the last day of the year 2022 I take the opportunity to wish everyone a very healthy and happy 2023.
The past couple of years have been tough for different reasons. With the pandemic well under control in most parts of the world I hope that 2023 will bring us a bit more quite and piece. Hopefully international relations in eastern Europe will take a more positive turn this year as well.
Online there are many possibilities to buy Ericofons. Normally sellers make pictures of the models they offer and describe their goods. I’m sometimes astonished by the quality of the pictures, the angles they were shot in, and the details shown. Colors are sometimes hard to recognize as exposure and light are not always optimal. But descriptions can be quite shocking as well. I found some examples of quotes that I personally would never use.
Now these examples are quite obvious and visible. Actually, I find them very funny and amusing in a way. If there are other nice and ‘innocent’ examples in the future, I will add them in the gallery here as well.
Other sellers deliberately hide the imperfections. Recently I bought an “in very good condition” Ericofon which appeared to be melted on one side after I received it. Of course, it was not mentioned and not shown on the pictures. The seller never answered…
Always be careful what you buy because conditions, colors and damage are only opinions.
Gösta Thames (1916 – 2006): was the highest technical manager in Ericsson. He took Lysell on board in 1939 and in the late 1940’s he was the leader of the design team for the Ericofon.
Ralph Lysell (1907 – 1987) is one of the true pioneers in Swedish industrial design. He was engaged in 1939 in the design process but left Ericsson in 1949. He was still involved after 1949 in the Ericofon design as he was a master in clay modelling.
Hugo Blomberg (1897 – 1994) was in charge of the Ericofons technical development as of 1949. Hired Lysell as a freelance designer for his extraordinary design skills.
Sometimes you buy a phone that is not as advertised. This phone had some heat damage on 1 side and there was no way to recover it. The seller was so ‘nice’ to misled met with perfect pictures avoiding the spot that could not be overlooked by him. For the rest it really looked perfect.
As it is still summer holiday I decided to create my own ‘intersected Ericofon’. It is nice to see how everything fits into the chassis. It is not really going to be part of the collection, but it is interesting to see this construction so close myself. I believe there is an ‘official’ version of this, professionally made, but I am not 100% sure about it.
After I created the menu item ‘Colors’ for color identification I thought it would be good to elaborate a bit on the color Candle Glow. As said there, it is difficult to make colors visible online but I’ll try to show the 2 different Candle Glows here.
Candle Glow 520553
North Electric NC
OC and LME NC
As already said, the New Case Candle Glow has two color variants. The North Electric (NE) is a bit more gray-brown. The Swedish (LME) Candle Glow is more ivory-yellow. The picture in the left shows the subtle difference.
In the second picture I tried to show the translucent/opaque aspect of those 2 colors. With the same light from the front of the phones, you can see that the LME type is for sure more translucent than its NE twin.
The difference is for New Case models only. Old Cases are always LME like.
To be clear, both phones used in this post, do not have any discoloring. Not all phones are identical. The same color produced in different factories might differ a bit. And of course, over time colors changes. Usually you can see the original tone of color on the inside of the shell, never exposed to direct sunlight and/or smoke.
There are a few special dial faces that I want to show this time. Those are specifically from the UK. Prior to 1980 the British General Post Office was state owned and the sole supplier of public fixed lines in the UK.
In the pictures above you can see 2 examples of typical Post Office Ericofon dial faces that I have in my collection. Both phones are marked as Post Office Property. In these years you could see this in a lot of countries. A monopolist providing rental equipment. It is not yours, and this is how they make that clear to you. Every time you use the phone…
After 1980 British Telecom was introduced as a organization, replacing the ‘good old’ GPO. In 1982 the monopoly of providing telecoms services was broken and multiple suppliers were allowed. Mercury Communications was the first one to compete with BT.
So as of 1982 the situation changed and a more customer focused approach was needed to be able to compete. The dial face above is not as fancy as in the old days but it for sure has a different tone. ‘Supplied by’ instead of ‘Owned by’. Actually the dial face is a standard one, no dedicated printing on the base anymore. I guess the days of infinite money supplies were over.
From my experience in the telecoms sector in The Netherlands, a similar process was taking place. A state owned company became private, competition came in and suddenly there was a more friendly approach to customers. Guess it happened in more countries in that period.
Last week I saw this picture of the Hannover Messe in 1969. On the Ericsson stand there was a transparent Ericofon next to the ‘Type 1892’. I identified the clear phone as a Touchtone model. As the TouchTone was introduced in 1967, there was a fair chance this was the case.
A few days later I was able to add a clear TouchTone Ericofon to my collection…
My previous statement that the clear Ericofon seemed to be used as a presentation model to executives and commercial relations, made at least some sense.
The phone arrived and it is in perfect shape and in working order. A great item!!
As you can see the dial face of this one is numbers only. All other Touch Tones I have, are equipped with the typical Northern Electric dial face with alphanumerical buttons.