Category Archives: cases

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:


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.



(With The Broadest Shoulders)



On this sunny day I received another shining Aztec Gold model. 🙂

This one has a flat ear-piece and it is in a much better shape than the wedge. It is not such a big ‘mess’ when it comes to parts as the wedge. It has consistent ‘part-management’ so to say.


This phone came originally in the color 520553, which is Candle Glow. The date on the chassis is 1967, the date on the shell is 1968. So this is pretty much in line. The only dissonant item is the microphone, which dates back to 1957. But hey, there are worst things in life. There is an Ericotone version 3 ringer inside as well.

What I noticed today is that both Aztec Gold have some silver layer underneath the gold. This is applied as a primer I expect. Not sure, but from the insides they look the same. Tape-shaped original color and silver sprayed inside.

Gold Is The Metal


Yeehaa! Today I received my Aztec Gold Ericofon. The gold paint has some wear and needs to be restored here and there. But that I already knew upfront. Actually I did not have too much time this evening to check it out but there is one thing that I wanted to know: the insides.

I unpacked it and removed the chassis to check what was inside. Hmm…


So what do we have?

A K14 rotary chassis with an Ericotone version 3 ringer and a standard North Electric dial face. The shell was something to puzzle about. It is a Taj Mahal TouchTone shell that was adapted to fit a rotary chassis (thanks Richard!). Looking into the shell you will see that there are plastic cubes glued into the shell to fit the 4 screws. The receiver is soldered directly to the contacts because the contact pads are missing. Also the microphone is glued into the shell. A weird combination of parts, most likely put together by North Electric.

Update the day after:


As you can the see the  shell has some wear and damage on the paint. In the next few weeks I will try to restore this. Not sure yet how I want to do this. The advantage I have is that the surface is not very smooth. It looks like, and that is the purpose of this Aztec Gold, that small water drops are all over the phone.

In the pictures below you can see the details of the shell and the contacts. Since the shell is a Touch Tone, there are no brackets to mount the chassis on. This is resolved with the plastic parts glued inside the shell. Very creative. The speaker is glued into the shell as well and can’t be removed. The contacts are fixed to the speaker wires.


The strange thing is that under the dial face the chassis is marked with week 19, 1972. On the top of the chassis it is dated with week 42, 1974. My conclusion is that the original chassis was made in 1972 but that this phone was put together in 1974. Because Touch Tones were produced until 1972, the stock with TT shells was obsolete in 1974 and used for other purposes.

As I understood, the Aztec Gold phones appear in different versions (rotary, Touch Tone and also with a flat ear-piece). This Aztec Gold was produced in the aftermath of North Electric, just before they sold their Ericofon assets to CEAC.




There are 2 phones in my collection that have a so called PBX button on the shell. The Golden Glow has one on the back, the Persian Gray has it on the side. Sofar I have only seen these two positions. Which is in face a pity because I am left handed. 😉

PBX stands for Private Branch eXchange, in fact a telephone switchboard. Today these PBX’s are fully automated (PABX), but in the Ericofon times these were operated by persons or semi automated. Larger companies had a company PBX, with or without operators.


The button was used to signal the operator during a conversation. This was needed if you wanted to be connected to either an internal, external or international number, depending on the allowed actions in your case. This person would talk to you and arrange your request. These days, in an all communicating world, this can hardly be imagined anymore. The operator also handled the incoming calls, but the button does not play a role there. The picture is from Ericsson.

In automatic PBX’s one could push the PBX button during a conversation. The current conversation was put on hold and the person was given the possibility to consult a third person. Pushing the button again would resume the original conversation. If the third person would push the button then the call would be transferred and he would get the original conversation.


Looking at the inside it is just a small switch, nothing more. Here’s a picture of the inside of the Gray model. The wires are finished on the chassis and make sure the signal is being forwarded to the operator when the phone is picked up and the button is pressed. The signal is nothing more than connecting the L2-wire with an earth wire. So an extra wire is needed to use it.

There are still some questions around the PBX buttons that I am not able to answer.

In which markets were these Ericofons available? It seems that most (or all) of the models with this PBX button are from Germany. Also my 2 phones come from there. So far no other countries of origin were spotted by me and some other collectors.

Who applied the buttons? Was this done as from the Ericsson factory, or done locally by the PBX supplier under strict instructions? The latter I personally doubt.


Almost all PBX phones have the later wedge ear-piece. The flat ear-piece is hardly seen with this. And the old case I have never seen with this functionality except in case of the picture on the left which I found on the net. It could be a timing issue meaning that PBX’s became ‘popular’ in the years that the later model was introduced. The type of button on the old case slightly differs from the ones on the wedge shaped models.

If you have other information, or if you can confirm these assumptions, please let me know so we can get the story complete.


Update 12/09/15: A new phone I got is also equiped with a switch. It is a Wedgwood used in The Netherlands. See the post on ‘Disco Hospital’ from September 2015. Since I had to sand the shell I had to remove the switch.


Update 04/06/20: In a Norwegian document of the operator Televerket I came accross the term “tjenesteknapp” for this button. Meaning “servicebutton”.

Titan Arch

The regular Ericofon we all know by now, but little is known on the Push Button or Touch Tone version of the Ericofon. Not meaning the 700 model.


The most catching and most vulnerable change was the big arch shaped hook switch instead of the central red button. This picture is from the Ericsson archive.

From 1967 to 1972 this touchtone model was made. The chassis was made on request of North Electric by Ericsson in Sweden and the shells were produced by North Electric itself. However it was marketed in the USA solely, few of these phones were sold in Europe as well.

The initial keypad from 1967 had 10 buttons but already one year later the 12 button versions were introduced. In addition to the 0-9 digits, there was a ‘*’ and a ‘#’ button to facilitate modern switching equipment. There is also a version with an ‘A’ and ‘B’ key. The one shown here is the standard North Electric dial face. Note that this touch tone phone did indeed produce so called DTMF (Dual Tone, Multi Frequency) tones. It is not a pulse device like its predecessor and the later 700.



As you can see the fixation of the chassis is established with only 2 screws instead of 4 in the regular rotary dial model. The shell looks identical from the outside, but on the inside you can see the difference.

These models (referred to as 60A) are rather hard to find. Mainly because the hook-switch mechanism was of poor quality. The plastic broke easily when it was treated too roughly. So the Touch Tone model was never a big succes. It is said that only ~7000 of those phones were produced, but only 3000 were sold. The other 4000 were malfunctioning or disassembled for parts.  Not sure if this is indeed the case.

I have seen this phone in 10 colors from different manufacturers (Ericsson and North Electric): Aqua Mist, Blue, Crystal Mint, Candle Glow, Gray, Mandarin Red, Petal Pink, Sahara, Sandalwood and Taj Mahal (which I have).

In 1972, North Electric stopped with the Ericofon line, and sold the remaining parts and equipment to a telephone refurbishing company named CEAC. Which you might remember from my beautiful North Electric Brown phone posting 😉 . They continued production for a short time before going out of business.

Update 18/12/2015:

This week I received my second Touch Tone in another color. It was part of a batch of shells and chassis that I was able to buy, mainly for parts. Most of the shells are not worth working on and in very bad condition. But the Touch Tone was surprisingly in a pretty good shape. Some slight spots, but overall a very nice phone.


In a few days I am expecting a ‘dial face’ and gasket for this one so it will fit in the collection perfectly. It is a Candle Glow. Once it is restored there will be another picture.

Update 29/12/2015:

The dial face came with the mail yesterday and the phone is ready. To restore the gasket I used a reproduction gasket for the rotary version. The gasket for the Touch Tone is slightly different and as you can see it is not a 100% perfect fit.  The original gasket is a bit wider and has an extra part on the front of the phone to match the lining of the hook switch. I doubt if there are any spares left somewhere…







Here are both Touch Tones together: Taj Mahal and a Candle Glow. It was never my intention to collect these models (as it was never the intention to collect the 700’s; my daughters hate those…) but sometimes you need to be flexible ;-).

Update 11/03/2016:

This week I received 2 new Touch Tones. One of them is a Crystal Mint and in good shape. A bit of discoloring on the earpiece, but not too much. The other one, a CEAC painted Brown, came in pieces… at least the famous “red-arch-shaped-button-mechanism” came in pieces. But I seemed to have all the parts and repaired the mechanism as good as I could. One part turned out to be broken but that does not affect the mechanism too much. But it proves that the whole mechanism is vulnarable. Not sure who invented this but it is a very complex up-down moving button.



Here are the 4 Touch Tones in a row. Although the Brown is painted by CEAC and originally Crystal Mint, I will keep it. On the Candle Glow Touch Tone I miss the original rubber gasket. No clue where I can get these…

The Dreamer Is Still Asleep

Today there was a package with the mail… I was expecting something nice: an Old Case Taj Mahal, and I was really looking forward to receiving this bargain. But when I opened he box, a monster came out of it. A very badly painted Old Case shell in a weird white/gray color. What a disappointment! And the pictures looked so nice before I bought it. The seller never mentioned the paint so I was a bit mad at him as well 😉


So, still recovering from the shock, and very disappointed I started to check what I was able to create out of this ‘thing’. Didn’t have a clue. The shell seems to be okay, it is an old case, always a bit special. The dial face was cracked, but that I already knew. I decided to open it up and see what was inside.

And then the real shock came!


It seems to be an old case Accent Green or Kelly Green shell that was painted.

This is a weird surprise. So… what is next? I do not have a clue on how to restore this one. But I have to get started somewhere. Both the shell and chassis are from 1959 so I expect it is an original set.

The day was still fresh so I decided to do some investigations on the paint and create my strategy from there (picture below on the left). Carefully sanding of the white paint the black paint became visible. Black took a long time, it was a thick layer. I felt like a paleontologist that was revealing a dino skeleton. Getting through the black some light purple showed. And finally the green became visible.

The paint could not be removed chemically, I carefully tried some methods but I was too afraid to damage the plastic of the shell. Although I have tested the chemicals on an old shell before. So sanding remains the only option, also indicated by the experts that I consulted. The result of the first day is shown in the right picture. To be continued in the next few weeks…


What a day! I guess I am still dreaming.

Update 12/03/2015: After a well deserved week off to the south of Spain I started again with the sanding process. Slowly the paint came off so the white and black are now fully gone. There still is some purple to get rid off. At certain places is was very hard to remove this first layer since it seems that it has intruded the plastic here and there. So I had to use 180 grid paper to remove it all.


But the good thing is that the shell is completely intact. No cracks or damage. In the second picture of this post, you could see a strange spot on the back. But that turned out to be a painting issue. Phew! Sofar I spend some 12 hours of work on this little sweety, but she’s worth it. The result you see here is the raw result of sanding with 180 grid.

Update 13/03/2015: Ready!! Friday the 13th… but I dared to finish the phone today. And no, I did not mess up the shell at all with my tools.


After a 180, 320, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 grid paper treatment and a good polishing the result is just very good. As this is the first fully painted Ericofon that I have restored it was quite a challenge. Not sure if I would go through this process for every phone. It took me in total over 16 hours to get it in this shape.


It is hard to get the same colors every time while taking pictures with sunlight and a camera only. But I prefer not to use lights or flash. Anyway: here she is. The dial face has a small crack around the 4 but I’ll leave it this way. Part of the phone’s history. Friday the 13th brings bad luck? Don’t believe so.



Here’s the 3rd and last Sinterklaas (or as you wish Christmas) present as promissed. It was not easy to get this one but the result is very, very nice. And that is an understatement 😉

This old case Wedgwood dates back from 1961 and is in perfect shape.


As you can see the dial face is from Telia and has the ‘0’ first instead of last. Which makes this the second of this type that I have. In a previous posting it was shown.

It would be too obvious to make this a Christmas card, I will not do that. But nevertheless, it is a good opportunity to give you my Season’s Greetings.

Another Brown World

Here’s the second present that arrived this week. A Brown model. I was expecting to receive a North Electric Brown because it has the typical North Electric brown color and the North Electric dial face, but has turned out slightly different.


As you can see the Brown is different from the PTT Dark Brown that I know very well. Opening the phone, to check the insides, I discovered that the chassis is from 1960, the speaker from 1979. The buzzer is a weird piece of metal… and the shell is painted. Professionally because it looks great from the outside… but painted. Originally most likely Crystal Mint and no date to be seen anymore.


So what is all this?

This is a so called CEAC phone.

In the late 1970s, North Electric withdrew from the telephone manufacturing business and with this from the Ericofon. A telephone rebuilding company, CEAC (Communication Equipment And Contracting Company) were at their peak at this time, and since they envisioned a future market for the Ericofon they purchased the “line” from North Electric. CEAC changed the product code to a simple 52, and offered it with or without the tone ringer. CEAC discontinued production of the Ericofon in the early 1980s and the company itself closed shortly thereafter.

In fact CEAC compiled phones together from all the parts they inherited. They even sprayed shells in popular colors. So this is a CEAC phone, a true ‘Frankenphone’. Except for the weird buzzer and capacitor all original parts.

Nevertheless a very nice item to have… it has its charm and I will for sure keep it.  It is part of the Ericofon history after all.

Update 30/08/2023: In the meantime some other CEAC items popped up, unfortunately not in my collection. Obviously CEAC even had a dedicated box and schematic paper. Both from 1978.

Worship The Glitch

Here’s the first arrival from the last post. An old case Charcoal from 1966. 🙂

The case has a small crack in the top. Actually it looks like a scratch but I think it is not only in the surface but through the whole plastic. This cannot really be checked since it is in the top of the earpiece, on the back. Unless I want to remove the earpiece, there is no way of fixing anything. You can see it in the image on the right, just a bit.


I will not even try to fix it as I am very happy with the phone as it is. There are some minor scuffs and regular usage marks, nothing to worry about.

Actually I got the shell only. It was not looking too well but after a good cleansing and a polishing treatment it is looking great. The contact pads on the inside were missing, so I had to solder them in as well. Also the chassis and the dialface are unfortunately not original. Since I have a box with spareparts, I could compile a nice phone, very close to the original one. But there is still room for some small improvements though. Anyway, it displays very nicely.

This Charcoal is normally not so very easy to get , I was lucky.


I Am The Green Child

The Old Case Crystal Mint has arrived and it is just great. There was a small crack on the rear but I managed to get this to disappear. A bit of glue did the trick, it melted both ends together and not even a hair-crack can be seen. Or my eyes are getting bad, or this was just a perfect fix.

Here are the 3 Crystal Mints with the 3 Saharas.



Just a note on the namings that I use to identify the different shells.

The ones in the front I call ‘Old Case’. These are a bit taller than the other 2 cases and the oldest in age. The ones in the middle I call ‘Old Ear-piece’, or ‘Flat Ear-piece’. The third model, in the back, I do not specifically call names but sometimes it is referred to as ‘Wedge Ear-piece’. For me these are the standard cases as they were the only ones ever sold in The Netherlands.