Category Archives: colors

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.

Gold1

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.

Gold3Gold2

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 😉

Wrong Eye

In the past few weeks I obtained 2 rather hard to get colors: an Old Case Nordic Blue and New Case (flat) Riviera.

With a ‘wrong eye’ you can sometimes not determine the exact color of the phones, especially when you buy phones online. Certain colors are hard to photograph: the light, the camera, the monitor, it is all influencing what you see in the end. Not 100% but pretty sure, I discovered some special phones a few weeks ago. Both phones did not have a color code inside, so they could not be checked upfront with the vendors. But I decided to buy them anyway and take the chance. And I did have a ‘good eye’ this time. Both were as expected.

For color reference I made a few pictures to see the difference between the Nordic and Riviera and the closest colors in their range.

Riviera

From left to right and top to bottom: Petal Pink, Princess Pink, Riviera, Taj Mahal. The Riviera is a bonish pink, getting close to Taj Mahal.

Nordic

From left to right and top to bottom: Persian Gray, Taj Mahal, Nordic Blue. Actually the Nordic Blue is not so very blue if you compare it with Wedgwood or Aqua Mist. It is more a light gray with a blue tinge.

Both colors I had never seen before other than on pictures. As I am not into pink that much, I do not really like the Riviera, however, the Nordic Blue is a very nice pale blue color, beautiful!

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!!

Triple Sun Two

If you’ve read through this blog you might already know something about the Dutch PTT trio that was marketed in the aftermath of the Ericofon lifecycle. Initially it was planned to sell the Ericofon in The Netherlands from 1979 to 1981, but that turned out to be 1985 in the end. This was not because of the popularity of the phone, but due to the fact that the Dutch PTT had a huge stock that needed to be sold. And that was not so easy so 4 more years were needed ‘to get rid’ of it.

PTT Folder 1-3

The Ericofon was not very popular in The Netherlands, but the PTT (state owned telecom operator) needed an already existing model that could fill the gap between the good old Ericsson T65 and its successor, the Ericsson Diavox. The T65 was at the end of its life and the latter was to be issued in 1981 to celebrate 100 years of telephony in The Netherlands. So the company chose an existing phone but managed to create some unique models in the limited time frame they had. The colors red and brown are unique in the world and the white is similar to the Taj Mahal. However, the black dial face for all 3 colors is unique as well.

PTT Folder 2-3

PTT Folder 3-3

In this post is a scan of the original leaflet that was made by the PTT.  The sharp reader of this blog can see that the pictures date from before 1979. The black dial face made in the first batch of 1978 was not yet foreseen with the letters PTT. Instead a sticker on the inside of the shell was placed with the same indication.

PTTsticker

Not only the outside of the dutch models are unique, also the inside was specifically designed for this operator. A typical printed circuit board with the color coding of the wires printed completes this phone. Although this chassis will work in most countries, it complies to the specific (high) demands from the dutch operator on network connectivity.

PTTChassis

 Where the speaker is standard and glued into the ear-piece, the microphone is also typical PTT.

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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Going Up

Last week I was removing some ear-pieces from a few old case Ericofon ‘necks’. Those necks were part of a large batch of parts that I got some time ago. And I desperately needed the speakers for other Ericofons (some New Old Shells or NOS) to be completed. When I was opening up one after another a surprising result was revealed to the world ;-). Never before I had a good look at the inside of the old case ear-piece. And this is what I saw.

SwedishColors

The only information about the necks is actually this. There was no body of the shell attached, only the top part was there. So I do not know anything on the origin of the shell. These numbers seems to be some kind of color code, or…?

The known color codes, at least to me, are the ones from the models produced by North Electric in the US market. Here they are listed in ascending order:

North Electric Color Codes
Code Color Code Color
520536 Taj Mahal 520545 Chartreuse
520537 Sandalwood 520546 Aqua Mist
520538 Sahara 520547 Accent Green
520539 Royal Dubonnet 520548 Charcoal
520540 Riviera 520549 Wedgwood
520541 Princess/Petal Pink 520550 Mandarin Red
520542 Nordic Blue 520551 Persian Gray
520543 Golden Glow 520552 Crystal Mint
520544 Dusty Rose 520553 Candle Glow

Plotting the numbers from the picture in the same table gives a very surprising result…

Generic Color Codes
Code US Code Color Code US Code Color
520536 510852 Taj Mahal 520545 Chartreuse
520537 510853 Sandalwood 520546 Aqua Mist
520538 Sahara 520547 Accent Green
520539 Royal Dubonnet 520548 Charcoal
520540 Riviera 520549 Wedgwood
520541 Princess/Petal Pink 520550 510866 Mandarin Red
520542 Nordic Blue 520551 Persian Gray
520543 Golden Glow 520552 510868 Crystal Mint
520544 Dusty Rose 520553 510869 Candle Glow

The pattern matches with the colorsequence. If the other colors exist the numbering should be logical. Where the numbering comes from I still have to sort out. Is it Swedish numbering? But then the NE specific colors should also be applicable in Sweden? Or is it just the shell number? The 5205xx code seems to be a combination of manufacturer, ringer and color. So more a configuration code. No idea on this (yet).  Need to dig somewhat deeper into this.

I appologize the way I removed the ear-pieces, it was not subtle… I admit. But opening up one after another made me more curious on the next number.

Disclaimer: for this experiment no Ericofon was harmed.

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.

Who’ll tell?

Who’ll tell which phone is what?

Today I received my North Electric Brown phone. A real one this time, after the interesting but slightly disappointing CEAC model (see post of December 2014).

Here are the 3 brown Ericofons in a row. There is a slight color difference between the CEAC and the NE. The PTT brown can clearly be recognized.

browntrio

North Electric, CEAC painted and PTT Brown

The inside of the North Electric shell does not reveal any information on the production date. The chassis is from ’59 and the microphone from ’63. Does not say anything but if it is an original set, it was also compiled out of spare parts.

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:

diychrome

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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