Wraiths

This time I want to focus on a few differences in the New Case shells that are kind of mysterious. These “deviations” do not occur on Old Case and Touch Tone shells, only on the New Cases.

A very long time ago, I already mentioned it when it comes to the holes in the earpiece. From the picture below you can see the 2 types of holes appearing on the New Case earpiece: 13 mm and 18mm.

In my collection the typical 3 Dutch and 1 UK models have the left type of earpiece. These 4 only exist with this type. But I have seen both types on Crystal Mint, Mandarin Red, Persian Gray and Wedgewood so far. And maybe they appear on more.

Another wraithlike appearance is the width of the ‘neck’ at the smallest point. In the picture below it is visualized, on 2 Sahara New Cases, what is meant with that.

With New Case (either Flat or Wedge) I can find both versions. Of the 51 new cases in my collection, 1/3 has 3 cm necks. The other 2/3 has a 3.5 cm width.

Nobody seems to know where these differences come from. In both cases the mold should be actually different. Age does not seem to be an issue, North Electric versus LME does not seem be an issue. It looks totally random…

It is a mystery.

As Pure As? III

Time for an update with another impure Ericofon. The first post of the ‘pure-series‘ was already 6,5 years ago. More information on the background story can be read in this post from 2017.

This month I could add the 6th metallic painted Nichco to my collection: a metallic gold this time. In 2019, when travelling to Norway, I also bought a gold metallic Ericofon, but this one, turned out to be a locally painted Ericofon for an exhibition. Sometimes you have to take a chance…

There are some typical characteristics with which you can determine if it is a Nichco painted model or not. The most obvious one is the sticker on the back, which proves it is an ‘official’ Nichco.

In total I have spotted 12 different Nichco metallic colors in all types of new cases. I am not trying to get all Nichco colors in all types… one of each color should be more than enough. So I am already halfway! …I guess.

A Warning from the Sun

At this moment it is cold in The Netherlands as it is mid winter. Nevertheless there is a message from a very sunny part of our kingdom below: Curaçao.

In the newspaper Amigoe of December 12th 1986 I have found this advertisement. An Ericofon 700 as an end year offer for half the price; available in the colors orange, blue, white and green (not in brown, to make the series complete).

Remarkable detail is that the Ericofon 700 was never sold in The Netherlands nor in the US, but Curaçao is part of the Dutch kingdom and very close to and oriented towards the US. Obviously the telecom operator at that time, Setel, still marketed this model on the small island.

Decayed Intelligence

When telephones were not yet that obvious for everyone a manual would be needed to understand how this ‘modern’ technology would work. I am not sure on the year of origin of this manual card.

Nowadays the manual that comes with a high tech device is not much more. Technically we are today more intelligent of course but in other areas I have strong doubts. It must have decayed somewhere in recent history :-).

Stealing The Words

Let’s talk about the color pink.

First of all we have 4 different colors of pink: Dusty Rose, Riviera, Princess Pink and Petal Pink. There is an interesting story on the latter two, Princess and Petal Pink.

Princess Pink (left) and Petal Pink (right)

In the beginning there was a color named Princess Pink. It sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale, but no prince is expected to drop in here. And it does not turn out too good in the end for this this American princess. The color palette in the USA, where she was part of, consisted of 18 different colors as you can see in this previous post. Petal Pink did not yet exist at this time.

In the early 1960’s (~1961) it was decided that North Electric could produce all Ericofons for the US market. One year before (~1960) the New Case was introduced. At this time it was also decided that the US color palette was to be reduced from 18 to 8 colors. Ten colors disappeared but Princess Pink was swapped out by her new rival Petal Pink. Petal even stole Princess’ color code (520541). This code is now applicable for both colors…

There could be different reasons for this swap of pink that took place. Maybe the Princess Pink was not such a popular color. This is most likely also the reason of 10 colors disappearing. Or it was to avoid confusion with the Bell System “Princess phone” marketed by Western Electric, which was getting popular as well at that time.

So the result of this story is that the following models are available: Petal Pink in only New Case (both, flat and wedge). There was never an Old Case produced as the swap was done the moment new cases already existed. Princess Pink exists in all 3 cases. But the New Case (wedge) not from US production, only from other markets (e.g. Sweden). From both colors there is also a Touch Tone version available.

If you ask me, my favorite is the Princess. Petal is the bad mother-in-law.

I Don’t Get It

Actually I thought that I knew everything, or at least a lot, about the existence of all types of Ericofons. But what shows up in the past weeks? A model I have never heard of before. I know the 600, the 700 and all the deviations from these. But the 5000 I was not aware of. 🙂

It is a hands-free table phone that can be used for conferences. Produced by KonfTel for Ericsson in 1998. The table phone itself is numbered 5010 (or 5020), the whole unit 5000.

One thing is sure: this one will not end up in my collection.

Sound Oblivion

The following guy did some fun things with Ericofons and music. It uses the limited bandwidth of the Ericofons speaker to create a retro effect. Although it hurt my eyes to see the Ericofons being ‘abused’, it is kind of nice.

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…