James John Walrod unfortunately passed away on September 25th, 2017 at the age of 57. Way too young!!
He was called a design guru. Actually if you read the Wikipedia description it says: “A self-taught interior design consultant and collector of rare and unusual art, design and pop culture works, Walrod was also considered an expert in the field of mid century and Postmodern design.” Please take some time to read about this personality.
Part of his collection was auctioned earlier this year in 2018. When I browsed the auction catalogue many very nice and beautiful items passed by. Man, this guy had good taste, no doubt about that!!
I was triggered because there was one item that caught my attention in this auction. A Wedgwood Touch Tone Ericofon. Still lacking in my collection and quite hard to get…
So I decided to take part in the auction. As usual, auctions are kind of exciting when they start. That night most sales prices raised to exorbitant heights before it was the Ericofons turn. As I am not a design expert these prices might be around normal market value, I had no clue. But I was getting nervous and already disappointed, afraid that this Ericofon also would be sold for an unreasonable price, just because of the name of the owner…
Luckily it turned out differently and I was able to get this item for a fair price. A bit on the expensive side, but hey, …a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Very proud that this is now part of my collection.
In remembrance of Jim Walrod.
Copyright of these 2 beautiful pictures is at Wright.
In the collection I have this Sahara flat model from 1967 that is in perfect state. There is however something with the color code that I have never seen before. But then, I haven’t seen more than approximately 350 Ericofons from the inside sofar.
The colorcode inside the phone is wronlgy indicating a ‘Crystal Mint’ color with code 520552. It should be 520538 instead which is Sahara. Never seen these kind of misprints before. If you have more examples please share them with me.
When kids are getting older they are are able to do some nice things…
In my hometown we have the ‘Textielmuseum‘ (Museum of Textiles) for many years already. It is there because the city has an history in the production of textiles and fabrics until the 1960-70’s. Production was, around that time, slowly moved to other, lower cost countries. And all that was left were empty factories which in the end became part of the cities industrial heritage.
And since 1958 the Textielmuseum. 🙂
From June 9th 2018 till November 11th 2018 there will be an exhibition called ‘Simply Scandinavian | Nordic Design 1945-2018‘.‘Does this information have anything to do with Ericofons?’ I can hear you say. Of course the main subject will be related to fabrics I expect. I was asked to deliver an Ericofon to match the exhibition. There will be other items shown as well as I understood.
It would be an honor to do so, no doubt about that. A shiny Mandarin red Telia Ericofon will appear somewhere in the exhibition. I am really excited.
Besides the Ericofon, I expect the exhibition to be very interesting as well. So please support the museum and go there!! They have lots of interesting stuff.
As said, the museum exists for a long time already and I can remember the first time I visited it, over 40 years ago. It must be back in 1975 or so… It was in the pre-GPS-era so we got lost on our bikes going there with some schoolfriends. But in the end we managed to find the museum.
It was there, it is still there and it will always be there.
Today we were invited to the opening of the exhibition. It was fantastic!! If you are interested in design I can for sure recommend it to you. Not only the Ericofon was there, which is a reason in itself…, but many other items that you might recognize from the early days.
The exhibition will be there until November 11th 2018. Worth mentioning that the Textielmuseum was ‘Museum of the year 2017’.
But in the end all I can say is that the museum is still there… and that you have to visit it!!
Four weeks ago, in March, I received a request to deliver a few Ericofons and some additional equipment for an installation on an exhibition. As the exhibition still needs to take place, I cannot tell too many details right now so more news will follow next month.
The idea was to have Ericofons connected together in a 2-phone-intercom system. This is the whole shipment that was prepared.
Actually 2 landline phones can be easily connected to eachother with a battery and some electrical components to function as an intercom. No external telephone line is needed to provide a full speech path through both phones.
The challenge was to have both phones equiped with a decent ringer. Since the original ringer is functioning on AC and the voltage with batteries is DC, it cannot be used. Fancy electronic circuits are too vulnarable towards the input voltage so an interval piezo buzzer was the most stable solution. Sound wise it is somewhat annoying, but given the deadlines of this project it was not possible to develop something fancy custom made. As the piezos did not fit into the Ericofon shell I had to mount them on the outlet. The advantage is that the Ericofon is fully original and ready to be used for normal usage as well.
How it works: you pick up one phone and the other one is ringing. If the second phone is lifted the ringing stops and you can talk to eachother. And of course this works in both directions.
As the exhibition is abroad, I am in fact the remote viewer in this whole exercise. Unfortunately there is no way for me to visit the fair and to see the installation live. Not sure how all will look like. I’ll have to wait until someone sends me some pictures of the end result, which I hope I can share here.
The phones mentioned were delivered to the Salone de Mobile 2018 in Milano, Italy and were part of an installation of USM created by UNStudio. You can find more information on the installation, with the theme on balancing home and work, here.
The pictures below are from Design Exchange (www.demagazine.co.uk), a global network devoted to the exchanging of ideas. They have granted the installation with 2 prizes. My contribution was only a very very very tiny part of it.
A few activities are upcoming in the next weeks but I cannot share anything yet. Topsecret 😉 But it is related to design. Well, design and Ericofon is not that strange. More news when it becomes a bit more concrete.
In the meantime there are some pictures that I want to share instead that I found on the interet. Be carefull, this will hurt!
I do not know why people do this… Maybe because they could not get transparent paint for the earpiece.
Needless to tell that the clear model is still on my list.
As winter has its long dark evenings and there is not so much to do, I was spending my time on the internet. Nothing better to do I guess. Actually the same reason why you are here. 😉
I came across a few nice cartoons with the Ericofon playing the role of the phone in the story. Well casted!
Les Aventures de Jodelle by Guy Peellaert & Pierre Bartier (Paris 1966)
Les Panthères: L’ Homme qui refusait la vie by Édouard Aidans & Michel Greg (Brussels 1974)
These two examples are not really new but they reflect an older world, like 40-50 years ago. If you have any more recent examples, let me know and I will be happy to add them here.
As said before in a post or somewhere else, 2017 was an extremely successful year when it comes to collecting. Not about the quantity but all about quality.
Only 7 phones were added, but what kind of phones… Royal Dubonnet, Dusty Rose, Orange Metallic, Chartreuse, Green Metallic, Nordic Blue and Riviera.
Actually the Chartreuse, the last buy on December 29th, came with some nasty damage on the lower back. The rest of the shell was in very good to mint shape. Seen the price of the phone ($25) it was worth buying it anyway and take the chance. Didn’t have this color at all until now.
The result is quite okay and I am happy with it. Some additional microscopic work still can be done on the right side. Need to experiment on another shell first. On the left side the crack is hardly visible anymore.
An original press picture from 1956, used in a newspaper at that time. Bought this one recently and I think it fits very well with the collection. Besides the phones itself it is sometimes tempting to also collect some accessoires and other stuff. Where does it end…
I really like the atmosphere that the image reflects. The clean monochrome photography is really beautifully done. It has a certain charm.
The picture was published on Sunday November 11, 1956. I am not aware in which newspaper that was.
“The Ericofon, a new one piece telephone, was tested by Miss Claire Jensen, a secretary at a Chicago hotel. The model is about half the size of the conventional two piece phone. The Ericofon combines the dial, speaking and hearing apparatus into a single unit.”
The phone used is most likely an old case Taj Mahal. I guess the model they refer to in the text is not Miss Claire… 😉
Last year we had a warm autumn and on the edge of winter I was able to purchase my Old Case Dusty Rose. Still one of the most fabulous colors in the Ericofon range if you ask me. Are you? 😉 The warmth of the rose-pink color is just so intense.
Around one year later, we have a warm autumn again, and another Dusty Rose popped up. A New Case flat this time and I am actually expecting it to arrive this week.
On top of that, and on the same day I was getting things arranged for the Dusty Rose, I ran in on a New Case Nordic Blue… that is at least what I think it will be. Like with the post on the disclaimer I am not sure on the color for this one.
It is so hard to buy from the screen only. But as this was an opportunity that I had to act on quickly I took the chance. The price was okay for that. The seller was refering to it as ‘liteblue’ but also had an Aqua Mist for sale… So let’s hope that this surprise is a nice one but it can still be a Wedgwood or an Aqua Mist anyway. It is from the same seller as the Riviera on the ‘disclaimer’ post. Crappy pictures that turn out to be right…?
So maybe this autumn is a turning point in my collection with 2 rare New Case models in one week. Of course I will post some new and decent pictures once they are in the house. The ones above are from the sellers.
A real beauty next to her older sister (Hmm, I smell a touch of exaggeration here… I have kids so why am I saying this 😉 )
A real beauty next to his older brother (I am doing it again)… The expected phone is indeed a Nordic Blue. Great!! I am done for this year.
Both Nordic Blue models have a slightly different color tone. The Old Case is a bit more grayed overtime. I guess the Old Case suffered a bit more in the years it was exposed to sun and perhaps smoke. The New Case is more sparkling, which is relatively in this case since the blue is not that exuberant. The insides are similarly colored, the New Case has code 520542 inside.