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.
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.
NE above, LME belowLME left, NE right
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…
Hannover Messe 1969
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!!
My Transparent Touch Tone 1972……with LME dial face.
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.
Although the TT was more popular in North America, there is also a Swedish dial variant.
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…
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 2021 (archives section) or the website of Ugo himself.
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.
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 🙂 .
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 and working condition. 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 😉
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.
Sooo, finally… Finally I was able to add a transparent model to my collection. It was not easy but sometimes you are just lucky.
My 1963 flat clear Ericofon
There was a chance to purchase a clear model for me earlier this month. It is in very good shape, with only small damage on the back and dial face. But for the rest the shell is very well preserved. It has a flat earpiece and dates from 1963 (microphone date). The chassis is a K7 from 1961. As you can see, there are totally no secrets here, it is also equipped with an Ericotone 2 in the neck. And fully functioning!
The dial face and the shell after a soapy bath.
When it arrived it was dusty and smudgy. Luckily the earpiece was not attached so I good give the shell a good cleansing on the inside and outside. The inside tends to yellow a bit overtime as I noticed but I was surprised that a bit of soapy water could do miracles here. I looove the dial face as well. A pity about the small crack (people will never learn…), but it is really cool.
The clear Ericofon seemed to be used as a presentation model to executives and commercial relations. Meaning it was actually never for sale. How many were produced is unknown. They seem to be available in both new case, Touchtone and 700 case types. As the old case is put together by gluing 2 halves together this case might not be available.
Last week I was able to get an old case from 1954. This means a model that was only available for companies and pre-mass production. This old case was equipped with a quite rare dial face, and that is why it catched my attention.
1954 Mandarin Red and 1959 Princess Pink Old Cases
Unfortunately the dial faces on the pictures are not 100% as I would like them to be, but they are not commonly seen so worth showing here. From both dial faces I have only one.
Left is ‘the first dial face that was available outside Sweden‘ (on a 1954 Mandarin Red). There was some moist in between the dial face and the chassis so there is some corrosion visible. It is a pity because it doesn’t have any cracks. Right is ‘the second dial face that was available outside Sweden‘ (on a 1959 Princess Pink). Damaged by brute force to apply the base to the shell or it suffered from a hard smack…
In total there are 23 different dial faces for the rotary type as far as I know of. I am still missing 4 of them: the ‘First Australian’, the ‘Swedish pre-Telia’, the ‘Chinese’ and the ‘Clear’ for the Ericofon nerds amongst us.