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Siemens South Africa magneto phone

Started by zenithchromacolor, November 30, 2019, 09:50:10 PM

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My dad recently gave me this phone, which he found in a thrift store in Illinois for $12. This is my only phone from outside the US or Canada (and probably the only thing I own made in South Africa) and I would be interested in any additional information.
The housing is badly scratched and has a chip. It looks like there was a number card holder which is missing. The handset cord wires were cut off where it enters the phone and the line cord is missing. It looks like there is a date of 6/71 on the transmitter element.

Some similar ones are listed on


Additional photos.


It is a Fg. Tist. 286 (Fernsprechgerät Tischstation = Telephone desk set). It is a relative of the "Trommelwähler", which Siemens brought out in 1950 (Fg tist 261 and 264). While the barrel style dial was given up around '55 again, these phones were made with normal dials at least through the 1960ies (the model 282 is frequent). Here in Europe, there was not much demand for magneto phones at this time any more, obviously in South Africa it was and Siemens produced the 286 magneto set  there. It is an eye catcher in any Siemens collection!
The handset is specific to these phones. Is the phone and handset made from bakelite or a thermoplastic? The earliest german "Trommelwähler" models were bakelite, anything later used polystyrene and maybe ABS (?).
Link to german Wikipedia on model 282

The photo is a "Trommelwähler" Fg tist 261 with a later 264 cap.


Thank you for the information. This phone is thermoplastic, not bakelite. I may try some light sanding to remove all the scratches.


I'd suggest using window cleaner first and then try chemical sanding it lightly. Use a 50:50 blend of acetone and alcohol (metylated spirits) to start, if the effect is not strong enough use more acetone. Put a small amount of liquid on a good lint free paper towel and start to polish. Do not stop moving until the towel dries. Light scratches should buff out this way. Use liquid car or furniture polish/wax to finish. Sandpaper or abrasive polish pastes just don't work as well on thermoplast.
You can try the process on junk ABS or polystyrene parts.


In my experience, Polystyrene is harder to work with and will require patience and sanding.  :(

This thread by Teleplay details the Chemical Sanding process nicely:
A collector of  'Monochrome Phones with Sepia Tones'   ...and a Duck!
Vintage Phones - 10% man made, 90% Tribble