Transparent IV

The series of transparent posts has again another peak. Last week I received another Transparent Ericofon. This time it was a new case wedge. Strangely enough all three clear Ericofons were bought mid-June in the past 3 years. But all three from different sources.

Flat (1963) – Touch Tone (1972) – Wedge (1972)

This new clear Ericofon was part of an auction of vintage toys. It was visible in an auction lot with exotic toys from the 1950’s and 1960s. Actually the toys were close to garbage as they were worth nothing or in bad state as far as I could see. So were the photographic skills of the auction house. I could hardly see if the Ericofon was a wedge or flat and in what condition it was. While zooming in, the year on the microphone became visible, the advantage of a clear shell, and my conclusion was a wedge. So in the end it was a bit of a gamble on the quality.

Not one phone collector was present to judge the lot to it’s actual value and I had a bargain this time.

As said, the phone is in perfect condition. No yellowing of the clear plastic case at all. No cracks, just a few scratches from usage. Unfortunately the dial face is a regular North Electric and not a transparent version like with the one from 1963. That would have been nice, but this is just a detail.

I hope that some other June in the future I can add the Transparent 700 to my collection as well. That would be great!

Time Machines

This beautiful Persian Gray turned 60 years. From the outside you cannot tell because the shell has not yellowed at all which is often the case with gray models. Some colors suffer more from sun and smoke aging and gray is one of them. But not this beauty!

However, from the inside there are multiple signs that this Ericofon is indeed 60 years old and therefore originating from 1964. This is by the way the oldest wedge shaped shell in my collection.

The age can normally be verified from at least 3 points on the inside. The shell often indicates the week number and year of production (32 64), the microphone does the same (6-64). But also the chassis is giving a similar hint (31 64).

Although this phone is very consistent in its age, not all Ericofons are. Dates are not always there, or readable. But if they are, the phones are mostly put together from older and newer parts. That is quite normal as production of parts and assembly are 2 different processes. They are real time machines 🙂

Summer Substructures

Earlier in May there was a morning where the warm morning sun was peeking into the house. It almost felt like summer started when the beams were landing on the shiny section of my collection. Unfortunately the rest of May was extremely wet and cloudy.

1 Chrome, 2 Aztec Gold Plated and 2 Gold Plated Ericofons try to bring summer into the house. It is a good start of the day.

Drip Drop

Slowly more and more ‘small’ Ericofon items drop into my collection. The last non-telephone item, although it came with a nice Orange 700, is a complete box.

This set from 1977 came, besides the Ericofon, with the following:

  • Original box
  • Instruction manual
  • Mounting wall box
  • Mounting instructions and material

It is very nice that besides Ericofons, which are harder and harder to get at this stage, small original items drip into the collection as well from time to time. It just makes the whole story more complete.

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 with ~150K inhabitants at that time.

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 stepmother.

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.