Category Archives: cases

Rosa Decidua

In my never ending search for new models I am exploring all the corners of vintage stores, second hand shops, flea markets and the internet. There I encounter many different Ericofons.

Some are in good shape, some are in bad shape. Sometimes you see surprises and nice to haves, and sometimes you run into very, very ugly Ericofons: painted.

If the color of your Ericofon might not be your favorite color (anymore), I can agree that you want to paint it. But then I would prefer a one color version and not a pattern. Patterns, hmm, I don’t know. See also the post on the other creative activity: ugly lights.

Besides the painting in a different color, you also find very creative utterings. Floral Ericofons are rather common, for some reason the Ericofon invites people to think about flowers. Below are 2 examples from the net of floral design that go far beyond painting only…

If both phones where decorated by the same person, I do not know. But there is a sort of resemblance. Coincidence or a natural way of putting flowers on the shape?

After showing these floral phone pictures to my daughers they were inspired and asked me for a shell as well to get rid of their creative energy. Since I had one left that could not be saved anymore I gave it to them. See the result below. Surprisingly a non floral design. Actually I like it, but I might be a bit prejudiced.

This is the only smart-Ericofon as far as I know. It runs the most recent ‘Safari’ version without problems. Apple should like it. 😉

The Golden Hare With A Voice Of Silver

Today I received an extraordinary box in the mail, containing three DIY shells.

The Chrome Plated in the middle is in fact a complete shell, this one I will complete to a nice shining silver Ericofon. The other shells are Gold Plated, not to be confused with the Aztec types. Unfortunately both shells do not have the original gold plated earcap anymore so I had put in white ones for the picture. Let’s see if I can get them painted somewhere in the ‘cheapest-shinyest-chinese-plastic-toy-gold-color’ that exists. The shells are all NOS, but they have some wear from bad storage.

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Both Gold Plated will become part of my collection, one with a wedge and the other with a flat earpiece.

Putting a phone together is not the biggest challenge anymore, but getting the  earcaps in the right color will be. See it as a guide for beginners or maybe a guide for finishers.

Update 07/08/2016:

This weekend I have completed the 2 Gold Plated phones. In the box with spare parts I had two complete sets of North Electric stuff. Including a flat and wedge earcap.

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Earlier I have informed at several places, including professional painters, the best way to finish the earcaps. Or to have them professionally finished. The result was that all parties did not guarantee the exact color. Gold seems to be quite difficult. You can also see that both shells have a different gold color. The original surface is also very sensitive to e.g. (acid) fingerprints.

So in the end I bought some recommended paint and decided to go for it myself. First some experiments took place on a scrapped shell. Just to make sure the right combination of paint and distance. The result is actually not bad. It is not as shiny as the original but it comes very close.

In the process of getting the Aztec Gold in better shape there is no progress. It is very hard to get the color AND structure right. Not sure if I will succeed there.

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A nice detail about the gold and chrome plated shells: they actually conduct electricity. While testing one of the phones a wire on the inside made contact to the shell. When I pickup the phone, I felt it ringing… It is approximately 60 Volts so nobody was hurt 😉

Light Shining Darkly

There is something with people, Ericofons and …… lights.

Over the years, searching for Ericofons and information on this phone, I came across a lot of modified Ericofons. I fairly do not know why people do this. It is ugly. There is no other word to it. Below you will see two pictures from the web to illustrate the general idea.

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Actually in all lights you see the same setup. A lampshade on top of the phone. A hole drilled in the phone to mount it. *aaaarrgh*

And it hurts to think about the idea that these phones might still have been in working order.

Sofar I haven’t seen a creative mind think about another setup.

I hardly dare to mention it but I have to admit that I also own an Ericofon lamp, thanks to Peter who was so friendly to give it to me as a present.  😉 But this one is different… it is an Ericofon and a lamp, but still different.

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A battery operated Ericofon torch. As you can see the neck is slightly bend forward to have the light shining on the table. Since I know the creator, I know that this shell was too bad to serve any other purpose. Very handy when I am working on my phones… 😉

Dark Start

Sometimes phones are yellowed over time. Because of the sunlight or because of a heavy poluted environment in a smokers home. Smoke has the most equal discoloring, sunlight is more capricious. You will be surprised how much a phone can be discolored. White turns to yellow, Sahara becomes Harvest Gold and Wedgwood looks brown/green. Terrible, and it hurts to see this.grayyellow

Normally I will sand those phones, remove the polution by removing the upper layer of the phones’ surface. You can see it in the picture above where the side has been sanded (not polished) and the back is not yet done.

A few weeks ago I read an article on ‘bleaching’ phones with Hydrogen Peroxide. Some collectors seems to have some good experiences with this. Time for an experiment so I bought myself a litre of this stuff…

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It is Hydrogen Peroxide, 12%. This bottle I got from an online hairshop for about 12 USD and is to be used by professionals. It is also called ‘developer’. After shocking my family that it was to be used on my own hair, I told them the actual purpose.

Normally the cosmetic grades are from 3% to 12% maximum. When you have over 50% you have bought rocket fuel 🙂 The relation between % and Vol seems to be linear: 3% = 10 Vol, 6% = 20 Vol, etc. 10 Vol means that 10 times its original volume in oxygen will be released.

And… it is a gel/cream, not a liquid. Otherwise it will drop of your phone right away.

Picking a candidate phone was quite easy. I wanted to start with just a little risk for the first time. So a ‘not too strong equally discolored PTT White phone’ was the subject. Here’s a picture of the victim: the second from the right. The one on the left is pretty close to Taj Mahal, the one on the right is closer to Candle Glow.

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As Hydrogen Peroxide works best when you increase the environmental temperature I decided to put the phone in a box. In front of the box I put a 200W lamp which got pretty hot.

The cream was applied on the phone in a thick layer with a brush. So thick that it just not starts to drip off.

After 4 hours I was so curious and decided to get the phone out and to see the result of the work done sofar.

 

The result was not too bad, but I noticed that the phone was discolored in certain areas. The result can be seen below. As the lamp was 20 to 25 cm from the box, there was a strong heat source from one side of the phone. What I noticed was that the phone was getting whiter on the side of the lamp, and not on the ‘dark side’. Also the cream did its work better where it was applied thicker. So some stains were the result which can be seen here.

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In the second setup, to have a less focussed/bundled heat source, I decided to have the phone on top of a radiator. The heat, being warm air, in this case is going up, equally spread on all sides of the phone. But the phone not being in a box desiccated the cream. The result after another 4 hours was pretty good. The back of the phone was lighter than before, most of the stains had disappeared. So equally applied heat is better than a strong source. Maybe an oven would work best…

The last and final experiment was inside a box, on the radiator. Again I applied a thick layer of cream on the phone, closed the box and left it there for another 6 hours. The temperature in the box had raised to 43 Celcius (109  Fahrenheit) when I came back.

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The result is actually quite good. The cream was not fully dry, on the inside of the box some moist could be seen. The final result can be seen in the pictures below. Not bad at all!!

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As already said in previous posts, it is hard to make pictures of colors exact as they are in reality. But this row of phones is the same as the ‘before’ picture. So there is quite a difference as you can see on the second from the right. It is close the Taj Mahal now, 2 tones lighter than before. The surface of the phone is shiny and smooth, no damage done at all.

The next candidates are already in the oven, ready to be cooked. A Taj Mahal and a Persian Gray. Both heavily discolored because of the sunlight.

Update 17/03/2016:

The Taj Mahal just came out of the ‘Ericoven’ and the result is shown below. In both pictures the Taj Mahal is on the right. The phone on the left is a Candle Glow in both cases. Actually I first thought that the Taj Mahal was a Candle Glow, until it came out of the oven…

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The advantage of oxygen based cleaning is that it is non-toxic and eco friendly. Chlorine products, which can also be used, are extremely toxic and harmful to the environment. On top of that, they tend to be detrimental to fabrics over time.

Seen the success of this method I bought some more of this stuff. Coincidently I ran into this truck this evening. Howmany phones could one clean with 30,000 litres? 🙂

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Please note that white and gray Ericofons are a success until now. Pink is a more difficult color and bleeches out to a lighter shade, I recently messed up one. So be carefull what you do and do not use this on your most precious phone before knowing exactly what the effect is.

Update 09/05/2016:

Last weekend I cleaned a Sandalwood shell. After the bad experience with the pink one, I decided to do sessions of 1 to 2 hours, depending on the heat (sunlight this time, it was 25 degrees Celsius 🙂 ). After a session I washed the phone and checked the effect. Four sessions were needed for this one and the result is great. It is good to intermediate check the status and wash off the old cream. This time I applied the cream in a thin film on the shell, not too much. The result: just great!!

Chaostrophy

Chaos in Ericofon-land. Clones, derivatives and neatly stolen designs.

Last week I deliberately bought a so called ‘General Dare Ericofon’. It was cheap and I was really interested in the way this Ericofon was tweaked. Besides that I was still looking for a tone-phone… pulses do not work on my broadband modem. Since I do not want to use the Ericofon TouchTones because they are way to vulnerable I had to go for something else. Well, the pictures below show the facts.

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From the outside the General Dare is similar to the original Ericofon. Except for the base and the rubber ring one cannot see a difference. Opening up the phone reveals the secret. It is an original Ericofon shell from Sweden, produced in 1973. The chassis is totally different and so is the microphone(s)… Do we have stereo sound here!? 😉 No, actually one of them is the ringer (blue-white = microphone, green-yellow = ringer).

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The chassis and dial face are replaced with a nice 1997 technology based variant. Enabling DTMF tone dialing. So far I have not seen any General Dare with silver buttons, normally they tend to be red. Maybe this is because of the 1.0 version?

There are some issues in getting the phone properly connected and working to my fixed line. It is not just a matter of connecting like already done in the phone. There is bit more to be sorted out.

Over time there were more Ericofon inspired phones on the market. Professionally reworked, designed or just produced in small series. The pictures were not taken by me, but downloaded from the web.

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Here’s the General Dare as I knew it before with the red button and with black numeric buttons.

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A ceramic variant of the Ericofon.

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A Mercer phone from China. Easily recognized because the shell is composed out of several parts. It has an ‘in use’ LED on the front. Which I have also seen at some original 700s. There is also a small button at the place of your thumb.

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This is the relatively popular Scandiphone. Where the earlier version was more like the Mercer, this one looks better with the shell not in separate parts.

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Seen this one in 2 colors; yellow and red; an original Ericsson shell with a tone pad and a rotary dial in the bottom.

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Even the 700 has been cloned.

The Broken Wheel

The Ericofon was made in 3 different shapes, looking at the shell. But also in a functional way there are 3 types. There is one with a dial face, a touchtone and a… dial-less model. The latter is also referred to as the Manual Service or CB model.

manualsSo far I have only seen these in the new case type and not in the old case. But I heard from a friend collector that he has one, in the Swedish variant. So they do exist in old case as well (~1960), and than I mean of course in an original setup and not put together in a later stage. Colors could be any color available, but gray is the most common. The “dial face” appears in 2 types, the Swedish as shown above and a North Electric type (which I am still looking for).

Usually these phones were used in places where there was no need to dial or you were not allowed to dial. One can think of e.g. hospitals or elevators as places where these could be spotted. However, there could also be special type of CB models, custom made for the occasion. Bob Mills refers in his book to the Australian Department of Civil Aviation, or even the Air Force, where they used them in control towers. “These sets were probably always grey and had no dial mechanicals, no induction coil and a microphone in place of the transmitter. The switchhook springs simply disabled the receiver and the microphone when the instrument was set down. What appears to be a locally made printed circuit board was mounted horizontaly above the chassis to interconnect the cords and components.”

The shells and chassis are always from the dial version. The chassis is stripped and misses the dial mechanics. There are types with and without ringers.

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Two ‘common’ examples, they are still rather hard to find, can bee seen above. The left model is also equiped with a PBX button. The exact function is not known to me but it is for sure custom made as you can see the microphone being directly wired to the chassis.

Update 07/03/2016: 

Last week the North Electric manual phone arrived. It is an Aqua Mist flat with Ericotone, in pretty good shape and fully functioning.  There is a small scratch on the dial face but since these are hard to find in Europe I guess I have to handle that. Although the typical chassis; without dial mechanism; is from 1958, the rest is of 1964. A beautiful year. It is replacing the Aqua Mist that was already there and will be passed to another collection. Below is the new phone on the right. The one on the left is just another LME manual.

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Panic

Last month I bought a set of 5 phones from an online auction in the US. These came from the very large collection of P. Fassbender, who was selling everything via an auctioneer. There were 2 phones that I really wanted to have from a lot of 5 and since the price was fair I just had to buy them. A Golden Glow and Persian Gray, both new case flat.

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The box ended up in an international mail handling center in Amsterdam. There it turned out to be ‘technically undeliverable’ because it was lacking my house-number. Contact with the mail department resulted in a confirmation that I was fully right on the package, and that it would be shipped back to the US… In the Netherlands we call this the ‘purple crododile syndrom‘.  Manual intervention was not possible, the triumph of bureaucracy. Four weeks later, after another trip to the sender and back to me to add just 2 digits, the box arrived. Together with another box, from Sweden. Unpack party!!!

 

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These are all the phones that arrived last Friday.  The second and third from the left being added to my collection. They turned out to be in very good condition. The one on the right is a manual with PBX but has some damage. The four will be available for other collectors soon.

 

Panic, well, let’s not exagerate. But this event did indeed have an effect on my heartrate. 🙂

Shipping remains an enervating activity from time to time as you can see in the picture below. Luckily the package was not damaged and the phone inside was not a very exotic model. But if you ship a phone in a plastic bag without any protection…

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The Dreamer Is Still Asleep II

In the last couple of months I have found some special models to expand my collection with but the most special is the one showed below. Remember the post where I received a painted Accent Green (February 2015) and totally reworked it to remove the paint? Well, it is no longer alone.

DuoAccent

A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to buy another Accent Green. I was not sure what model is was, but since the price was right it did not really matter. There was a slight suspicion it was a New Case, and when I received it yesterday, it definitly turned out to be one.

The Old Case is ‘rather common’, there are more collectors who have one, but the New Case is not so regular. At least that is my vision, because I have never seen one before. I know that Richard from ericofon.com has listed one in his collection recently.

It is a fully original Ericofon from 1960, with color code 520547. Even the ring around the microphone is Accent Green. The chassis is a K7 with an Ericotone 2 ringer. This color was produced until the early 1960’s and not sold in other markets than the US so most of them are Old Cases. By the way, the Old Case is from 1959. Comparing the detailed dates, the breakpoint of the Old to New Case should be around Q4-1959 – Q1-1960.

The phone is in a very good shape, only a few minor marks on the shell. The Old Case, and this picture makes that more visible, is a little less shiny. This is because of the sanding and polishing process.

If all is well there are 2 more nice phones on their way and I hope they will arrive in a week or 2. and that should be it for 2015 I expect.  I am broke… Will keep you posted.

Disco Hospital

This week I ran in to a nice deal of multiple Ericofons from another dutch phone collector. He was more into older Ericsson telephones (1900 – 1940) and he has a beautiful collection of partly wooden phones. And some Ericofons for me to take over.

When I had a look at the set, there were 2 branded phones from the Academical Medical Centre in Amsterdam (AMC/AZUA). Both not in too good shape. The whole set was nice though.

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Especially the Wedgwood (1975) is nice. There is some history on the phone, used in the 1970’s/1980’s in a hospital, very obviously. AZUA means Academic Hospital University of Amsterdam and the 3 ‘X”s are the city arms. It also has a PBX button on the side. The Candle Glow (1971) is not so professionally branded with AMC 229 and therefor severely damaged so I will use it for parts. Seen the discoloring of the Wedgwood I do not think they cared too much about smoke-free working space at that time…

Coincidentally another academic hospital in Amsterdam (VU Medical Centre) had to be evacuated this week because of a flooding. Not because The Netherlands is partly below sea level, but because of a broken water service pipe. The AMC was able to help out by taking over patients, medical facilities and services. Not sure if they also took over the phone service. Maybe I can help here 😉

Update 13/09/2015: 

Today I restored the Wedgwood from the picture above. And I must say that the result is pretty good, again. The discoloring is totally gone. The blue color is okay now and it is shiny as before. There are no issues with  the surface of the phone. I do not know if I want to keep it or not since I already have a similar Wedgwood, which has an Arabic dial face. The only differences are the ‘branding’, the PBX button and the holes in the ear-piece (small circle). Dilemma!

The Candle Glow I have dismantled for parts. It was impossible to create something representative out of this. And I definitely need parts! Normally shells are a vast majority of the spare parts and chassis are for sure not.

Update 12/10/2015:

The Wedgwood PBX phone was sold to a collector in Canada. Someone who was interested in telephones with a story. 🙂

Metal In The Head

Well, I do not know what it is these days but there is some metal in the air I would say. Or maybe it is in my head…. not sure.

After the two Aztec Gold phones of last months I was able to get myself a Chrome Plated Ericofon shell. And that is a painted North Electric.

It is a shell only so I have to sort out some parts and compile a new phone myself. The shell and the cap come separated as well. I never had this before so getting the speaker in and attaching the cap is a new thing to me. Actually I am not sure on the quality of the Chrome, I haven’t seen any pictures yet.  But I heard there are some water spots on it. So it is going to be a surprise. Let’s see where it will end up. For sure there will be some pictures when it arrives.

Update 08/08/2015:

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My DIY Chrome Plated arrived today. And I am very pleased with it. See here the parts that I received. Niiiiice!! The shell is in pretty good shape, some minor scratches here and there, from storage I assume, but overall it is very well conserved. Never used, never assembled before.

It is a sandalwood in its original color. Not dated. Even the chassis is not dated, only marked with K14. And this is the first time I see a ‘fresh’ shell and earpiece combination.

Let’s wire it up and get it working. 🙂

 

Update 08/09/15:

Finally I had some time to put the DIY phone together. Piece of cake if you have all the ingredients right there but the speaker delivered with it was not original Ericsson. So I had to get another speaker from an old shell that I still had. Removing the earpiece to get it out is not that obvious. I really tried to open it in a neat way, but I did not succeed  like that ;-). Felt like opening up an oyster. I got the pearl in the end but it was a big mess. An interesting experience it was.

Putting the parts together is quite simple. First glueing the speaker on the earpiece, then soldering a wire, glueing the earpiece in the shell, soldering the wire to the contacts in the proper lenght and that’s it.

Actually I did the same trick for my Taj Mahal. That shell was so bad that I replaced it with a new unused shell that I got in the same deal.

Here’s the result for the Chrome Plated. Looks very very shiny.

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