Category Archives: colors

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.

Chrome1Chrome3Chrome2

 

(With The Broadest Shoulders)

AztecGoldDuo

 

AztecGoldFlat

 

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 state 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.

AztecGoldFlatInside

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

Aztec3

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…

Aztec0

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:

Aztec1Aztec2

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.

AztecInsideAztecContact

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Love’s Secret Domain

For some reason this week is ‘the week of the brown phones’. Not sure what it is, but they seem to be everywhere these days…  🙂

Which reminded me of my Brown 700 I got in November last year. I purchased it from Ebay at a time that there was a lot of activity ongoing so I never posted anything about it but it just showed up in stealth mode in my collection.

I got a chance to buy it and although it was relatively expensive; it is not an obvious model and it is playing hard to get; it was a good deal. So I was very glad that I got it.

When I received the phone in the mail and I inspected it, I noticed a small damaged spot on the back. A very small crack or so, hardly to be seen, only with the right light. It must have been dropped once. Marks from daily usage in its 40 year existence. The lady who sold it to me, must not even have noticed it, I am sure. But that is not what I wanted to say about it.

There was a note with the phone and I want to share it here:

‘A bit of history of this phone!!

Thorn EMI merged with LM Ericsson in the 1970’s. My then husband was the production manager at Thorn EMI and was a fully qualified Post Office Telecommunications Engineer. 

Thorn Ericsson as they became known, re-located from Rochester Kent to a purpose built factory in Scunthorpe in 1974 and we moved to that area with them. 

Not long after that, this phone was purchased from the staff shop at the factory, it has been in my possession ever since. 

The factory for Thorn Ericsson closed in the late 1980’s and the site is now derelict. 

This phone has a long history, please look after it.’ 

Reading through the text I appreciated this phone’s history. A living ‘thing’. The crack is there with a reason. Something happened on a windy winter night… I imagine. This is not the first time that I get a phone with a personal note. Phones from childhood, from parents, from the attic etc. And that is what I like so much on collecting this model. Phones with a story, with a history. But this one was for some reason special. The text in the note touched me, written with so much memory and specially love.

Here it is, reunited with its family. Thank you, I’ll look after it!!

700 serie

Next post will be less sentimental, I promiss 😉

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 😉

Kelly0kelly1Kelly2

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!

Kelly3Kelly4

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…


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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.

kelly8kelly9

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.

kell12

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.

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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.

 

Sometimes

you are lucky!

700

It happened to me last week. Thanks to a very friendly collector I was able to complete the 700 series. He wanted to get rid of the Blue 700 and I wanted it as a last piece in the 700 puzzle. So we came to a good deal for both. Thanks a lot Peter, I am so happy with it! She is in good hands.

Never dreamt to have the blue model so fast. But it is really there, nice and shiny, like new. It is a 12 button model from 1980, fully operational.

700 Quintet

By the way, the pushbuttons of the 700 do not produce DTMF tones as you might expect. They produce pulses, similar to the rotary dial models. This is all state of the art pre-DTMF technology.

Blue

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.

WedgwoodOldCase1WedgwoodOldCase2

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.

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.

CharcoalCharcoalArty

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.

GreenSahara

 

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.