On September 11th 2015 the JKL museum (aka American Museum of Telephony) in Butte, California, USA was hit by a forest fire and got destroyed. Everything in the collection unfortunately disappeared in the flames. The picture below (courtesy of JKL Museum) shows the havoc.
Almost immediately after the damage was done, they started rebuilding their museum and a new collection. What was achieved in the past years is incredible. If you visit their website you can see what was done. Not only the building, but especially the extensive collection they have today is amazing.
JKL Museum… it’s strange to name your museum after the letters under the 5 in the dial. But the name comes from the main benefactor, John K. La Rue. Makes sense now.
And of course they have a couple of, I spotted 9, Ericofons as well. I noticed this Persian Grey manual Ericofon that I provided to the museum already back in 2016, a few months after the fire. They even have the 700 Gold Centenary, which took me ages to find 😉 It is really impressive to see what they have when you take the virtual tour through their space.
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.
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.
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!
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.
As the Ericofon was introduced into production in 1956, it seems that within the organization it was an important achievement. Hereunder you will see the covers of the Ericsson annual reports from 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1960.
Again in 1975 the Ericofon was on the report, this time the 700 type in gold with the black ear-piece because of its centennial.
As more and more Ericofons go through my hands there are more specials I come across. The chassis below I want to share with you. It is part of a Swedish made Old Case. The chassis is original, it was not tweaked by someone, that would be visible.
The contacts on this K2 chassis from 1958 are of a specific type. Never seen these before. Also the microphone is special to fit the contacts. Maybe this is a custom made chassis… If anyone has a clue on this one, please let me know.
There is this site called TurboSquid where they create all kinds of 3D models. A large scale of different subjects are being modelled. I must say that it is very impressive. Also the Ericofon has been done. Very nicely done!! Not exactly the right touch, but impressive.
I also have one of the pictures from this site as a header on my blog (credits to them). However, independent on how much you do your best on something, there are always some small issues that are not according to reality. 🙂 Do you see it?
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.
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.