Silence and Secrecy

This time a bit of a more technical article on the Ericofon chassis. From time to time I get some questions on the big red button on the bottom. The problem often is that it will not come out, or come out slowly, once the phone is lifted. This will end up in a call that will be answered late after picking up or not at all.

Above you can see the way to remove the red button.

When you take out the chassis from the shell you have to make sure you have access to the situation in the first picture. The red circle in the middle locates the top of the red button. The example in this picture is a Dutch PTT chassis with the typical PCB on top which needs to be removed by the 2 screws (note they do not have equal length).

When the oval hole as in the second picture can be seen, you need to put a small screwdriver inside it. Carefully drag the screwdriver slowly in the direction of the arrow so that you take the upper metal strip with it. Approximately 0.5 cm (0.2 inch) should do. The red button will be released.

You will notice that the pin attached to the red button is dirty and should be cleaned and lubricated again. This secret will resolve your issue. 😉

Other chassis might have different layouts of PCB’s, ringers or capacitors that are in the way. But the principle of locking and unlocking the red button is exactly the same for all chassis.

Note: For the more advanced engineers: you can also unlock the red button from the side of the chassis. Position the screwdriver carefully on a ridge of the metal strip you want to move and push it forward. It will work and it is sometimes attractive to do so. But you have a 99.9% chance you just ruined your complex and vulnerable switch with all contacts without noticing. So do not use this method.

Circulating

Over the years I have collected quite some Ericofons already. In that process of collecting I also got double models. I even get offered to buy small series from people who want to get rid of it (which I do not understand 😉 ).

In the meantime I really started to appreciate to turn old, dirty and sticky Ericofons into shiny like new models. All in original state, shiny, clean and working. It is a very satisfying activity. But it is also time and effort consuming.

Above is an impression of my ‘circulating library’. All models are still raw from the box, just as I received them. Everything circulates through from time to time: regular models, 700’s, Old Cases, Touch Tones, NOS etc, complete or not.

So if you have any Ericofons that you want to get rid off, either for my collection or for me to ‘re-animate’, please contact me. I am always interested to buy and I am sure we can work something out.

Waveforms

On the day my oldest daughter graduated from high school (Well done girl!!) I received this gorgeous Gold Plated Ericofon. As can be seen in the reflection, it is a habit in The Netherlands that when someone graduates you will put up a flag. Accompanied by balloons and old school books we decorated the front of the house. It’s party-time!

When opening the phone to see what was inside, I saw something logical and I want to share here. As the paint of the Gold Plated (and also the Chrome Plated) is highly conductive, you cannot just compile the Ericofon as any other model. In the past I was already literally shocked once when picking up a Gold Plated when it rang. Resulting in ~75VAC!! 🙂

When putting together a plated Ericofon, you have to make sure that all electrical elements that could get in contact with the paint are well insulated. North Electric tends to spray the inside of the phone as well, where Nichco does not. Use a lot of tape to be sure! This phone was not working initially, but after some taping all waveforms were going through the proper circuits and not through my body…

Unnatural History II

Some time ago I saw an interesting item on an auction. It was a set of documents from the early history of the Ericofon. Still referred to as Erifon at that time. It contained drawings and a vision on the future of the Erifon.

The drawings date back to July 4th 1942 (which surprises me as normally all Swedes are off for 2 months during summer 😉 ). Unfortunately I could not get hold of these documents, but this sample gives a pretty good impression of the “Erifons” history. A future they could never have predicted upfront.

Another Brown World II

Brown Ericofons appear in all kind of flavors. Original North Electric, the Dutch PTT dark, the CEAC painted, and of course the 700. And since last week I also have a Metallic Nichco in dark brown color as well. Rick from Canada was so kind to offer it to me and it is in perfect condition. Thank you Rick!!

Nichco dark brown in full morning sun.

In full sunshine, it lights up. The metallic is so beautiful!! This brown Ericofon is much darker than the Metallic Nichco Orange that I have although the picture above seems to show something else.

Brown (yes it is the same phone) on the left and Orange on the right.

For a long time I was doubting if I should add these metallic series to my collection but I am glad I did it.

How many Nichco metallic colors there are is not really known but I have seen 12 different around. Randomly divided over the wedge and flat case rotaries but also in TouchTone makes at least 36 possible variations. At this moment I have 5.

Detailed metallic paint

Teenage Lightning (10th Birthday Version)

Although the site is not yet up and running for 10 years, I have actually started my collection 10 years ago late February 2013 (Hurrah!).

When I started I focused on the Ericofons themselves, but later on I also started to get some related items. Most of them I have already shared here: historic pictures, promotional items, boxes, stamps, etc. It is actually fun!! Walking through the 1950s till the 1980s, 4 decades of history. So I will keep on collecting, I guess for the next 10 years as well. Not only the phones themselves, but also the historic surprises.

Last month I got some nice posters from the late 1970’s. These posters sized 35×25 cm (14×10 inches) were used in a store for promotional purposes. That is why there is some ‘sunwear’ on the colors. But that also has its charm.

Colour Oblivion

The poster below is kind of legendary. It reflects the North Electric color palette that was marketed by North Electric in the heyday of the Ericofon in the United States. The color palette in other countries was much more limited.

As you can see the 18 different colors are all old cases. In a later stage this model was replaced by a new case shell. But not all colors survived this change in the United States as the palette was reduced to 8 colors. E.g. the Charcoal only exists in old case. Princess Pink was replaced with Petal Pink in the United States but survived outside in various models.

Some other colors survived the first new case, but not the second e.g. Nordic Blue, Dusty Rose, Chartreuse, Accent Green, Riviera and Royal Dubonnet.

Accident Insurance II

In December I gave some considerations on buying Ericofons online. With this post I want to focus on a specific topic in this area: painted Ericofons.

Sometimes you run into a specific color that you want (or need in my case 😉 ). Before you get carried away an click the ‘buy’ button there is a simple check you might be able to do because sometimes Ericofons are painted and do not show the original color. First thing of course is to ask the seller. But the seller might not respond to your question, might not know or just might say it is original…

The 2 colors brown are different, but the principle of the check is the same. On the left you see a different reflection on the phone around the holes of the microphone. This one is clearly painted, as paint, even if professionally applied tends to go around the sharp edged corners of the holes. The thicker the paint the higher the impact. Even with thin layered paint it can be visible. But of course it also depends the pictures you have.

Of course the pictures above were ‘exaggerated’ to show the principles of this small check you can do yourself. Just to make sure there are no surprises. Although surprises are sometimes great as well.

Cold Dream of an Earth Star

On the last day of the year 2022 I take the opportunity to wish everyone a very healthy and happy 2023.

The past couple of years have been tough for different reasons. With the pandemic well under control in most parts of the world I hope that 2023 will bring us a bit more quite and piece. Hopefully international relations in eastern Europe will take a more positive turn this year as well.

Let’s dream for the best.

Accident Insurance

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.