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Mixed color telephone photos

Started by paul-f, March 20, 2013, 08:09:48 PM

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The recent discussion on the multi-colored NE 500 set is a perfect spring-board to a topic to let us post and collect photos of similar mixed color phones from any and all manufacturers.

The story in the referenced ebay auction was:

Here we we have a vintage 1967 retro rotary multi color telephone up for auction  Made in Canada by Northern Electric Company.  Legend has it that these phones were not sold by the phone company.  They were made up by phone staff out of different color phones and taken home or given to friends.

It is a common tale, but we've heard some that really stretch the bounds of credibility.

One of my personal favorites was that manufacturers made sets with each plastic part in a different color as "salesman's samples" so the salesman could carry only one or two sets and show samples of the entire color palette.

Possibly the most common and credible version is that these were made in refurb operations -- either company or independent -- where they had bins of parts that were sorted from phones removed for service.  It was easy to mix and match colors to make joke gifts for retirements or other special occasions.

Please post other versions you've heard, or start your own "legend."

Here is the auction photo from the referenced NE500 followed by a few photos I've collected over the years.  Let's see how many more we can find.
Visit:         WE  500  Design_Line



I call them "phones of many colors" and sometimes they're very strange. In particular I remember two phones I got on eBay that were all soft plastic parts, but in several colors.

My first dark gray phone only had a dark gray housing and handset, with the rest red. It had belonged to a retired phone man and it was one of the more tasteful combinations of this practice I've ever seen. The seller, his daughter, said the phone was green, but I knew it was dark gray the moment I saw it and took a chance.

The real phone of many colors I regret I didn't take a complete picture of, but I have three shots that show what it was. It was all soft plastic and turned out to be a magnet for other phones with problems that needed those pieces to make them whole. It was uncanny. I think I used up almost all the parts repairing other phones. The housing was dark blue, the dial was yellow, the handset ivory, the caps and coil cord were red and the little insert at the handhold was dark beige.


It happens over here too, some phones being rebuilt with unofficial colour combinations, and some just looking vile... :o


Two-phone parts swaps happen here as well and have been discussed here:

It was a fairly common practice to get phones with the two colors of a favorite college or pro sports team.

- - - - -

Here's a photo of a Leich mixed color set...
Visit:         WE  500  Design_Line



I have to admit that I have something like that too:
All 1957, ex. housing 1958, all soft-plastic, must have started life as a red. Looks actually better than a factory two-tone.
The handset caps are both painted black, but extremely well done.