Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Talk => Forum News => New Member Introductions => Topic started by: Hotline on September 12, 2017, 05:31:41 PM

Title: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Hotline on September 12, 2017, 05:31:41 PM
Hello

This is my first post on your great forum. My name is Richard and I am based in London.

I have been collecting UK GPO phones since last year and have about a dozen 706 and 746 telephones.

I have recently purchased a pair of very early 706 phones, they are 1959 models and are, I believe, quite rare. I will post some photos when I get a moment.

Look forward to chatting with other members.

Regards

Richard
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: ThePillenwerfer on September 12, 2017, 05:37:06 PM
Welcome aboard.

I for one will be interested to see your early 706s.

Joe
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: dsk on September 13, 2017, 02:27:36 AM
Welcome to the forum!

dsk
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: twocvbloke on September 13, 2017, 03:42:43 AM
Hopefully those '59 706 phones have their Diakon plastics, latterly known as Perspex, that plastic stays shiny for longer than the later ABS they used, but has the issue of being easily chipped or cracked as perspex is a fairly brittle plastic... :)
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: digoxy118 on September 13, 2017, 08:52:19 AM
Welcome!
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Hotline on September 13, 2017, 03:05:26 PM
Hopefully those '59 706 phones have their Diakon plastics, latterly known as Perspex, that plastic stays shiny for longer than the later ABS they used, but has the issue of being easily chipped or cracked as perspex is a fairly brittle plastic... :)
Yes they have the Diakon plastics, the phones are all original, I bought them from the family that had them from new. They are both ivory with type 12 dials and one has a cloth line cable.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: twocvbloke on September 13, 2017, 06:00:36 PM
That's pretty neat that they had the phones from new, it's nice when you can get some history with an item acquired, and having two phones, they must have been posh!!  ;D
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Duffy on September 13, 2017, 07:17:35 PM
Welcome to CRPF Hotline.

I have a couple UK phones. One is a 1965 GPO 332L and the other is a 1977 Silver Jubilee Trimphone that I just got.

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=16484.0 (http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=16484.0)

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=18789.0 (http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=18789.0)

Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Pourme on September 13, 2017, 10:10:32 PM
Welcome to the forum!
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: andy1702 on September 16, 2017, 05:24:46 AM
Welcome to CRPF Hotline.

I have a couple UK phones. One is a 1965 GPO 332L and the other is a 1977 Silver Jubilee Trimphone that I just got.

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=16484.0 (http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=16484.0)

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=18789.0 (http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=18789.0)

I don't think they were making 332s by 1965. Are you sure you don't mean 1956? If it is1965 then it's probably an earlier unit that has been reconditioned. The GPO did a lot of that.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: andy1702 on September 16, 2017, 05:31:19 AM
I'll be interested to see these 706s. Particularly the plate behind the finger wheel. Nobody seems to know exactly what the dial plate should be. Some say it should have chevrons on it but others say it should have numbers or even numbers and letters as fitted to earlier bakelite phones.

The other option is they might not be 706s at all. The same manufacturers produced almost identical phones for private exchanges.Ericsson did a lot that have a numbers only dial bezel. These are not strictly 706s because they never belonged to the post office. The insides can also sometimes (but not always) be quite different.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: ThePillenwerfer on September 16, 2017, 11:30:18 AM
Duffy's 332 is marked FWR 65/2 which means it was refurbished as a Mk 2 at the GPO's Welsh factory in 1965.

As for 706 dial plates, my understanding is that they were originally blank but then had chevrons added quite soon in either case the plate was the same colour as the 'phone.  When the 746 came out they had black numbers on an "antique silver" background and these plates were then fitted to 706s as the originals were replaced.  I have heard that a few early 706s did have No 12 dials with the same plates as used on 332s.  They could also have No 13 transmitters as there were delays in the initial manufacture of the No 16.  Of course all sorts of bits have been fitted to telephones in the years since they passed into private hands.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: andy1702 on September 16, 2017, 11:49:32 AM
Duffy's 332 is marked FWR 65/2 which means it was refurbished as a Mk 2 at the GPO's Welsh factory in 1965.

As for 706 dial plates, my understanding is that they were originally blank but then had chevrons added quite soon in either case the plate was the same colour as the 'phone.  When the 746 came out they had black numbers on an "antique silver" background and these plates were then fitted to 706s as the originals were replaced.  I have heard that a few early 706s did have No 12 dials with the same plates as used on 332s.  They could also have No 13 transmitters as there were delays in the initial manufacture of the No 16.  Of course all sorts of bits have been fitted to telephones in the years since they passed into private hands.

I agree about the blank dial plates being replaced with chevrons. I have examples of both here. But some of the old publicity shots for the original 'modern telephone' as the 706 was known, show dial 12 with 3d chevrons on an antique silver ground. I know Ericsson used these for a while on their N1900 (a 706 clone) but were they part of the original post office spec? Some other shots show the 706 with an alpha-numeric plate, replicating what is written on the bezel.

Hotline's phone with the straight cord should, if everything is correct, be one of the very first, which may answer some long standing mysteries.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: ThePillenwerfer on September 16, 2017, 12:59:30 PM
I don't suppose we ever will know for sure as even if we saw all the written records they would only tell us what was supposed to happen rather than what did in practise.  There may well have been a few freaks produced if the correct parts weren't available; these things are only cosmetic and perhaps it was thought better to use wrong parts than stop production.

The publicity shots could well have been taken before the design was finalised.

I've got a 746L (which must be quite rare as they came out in 1967 and All-Figure Dialling was introduced in 1968) that has 3D chevrons on an Antique Silver ground but I have no way of knowing if it's original.  As you say, privately manufactured 'phones muddy the waters further.

As for 706 cords, I have heard of a few having cloth-covered ones; not plaited but plain round like switchboard cords.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: twocvbloke on September 16, 2017, 02:11:08 PM
As for 706 cords, I have heard of a few having cloth-covered ones; not plaited but plain round like switchboard cords.

As far as I know the earliest ones were round cloth, later upgraded to rubber and then PVC... :)
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: andy1702 on September 16, 2017, 03:25:19 PM
I don't suppose we ever will know for sure as even if we saw all the written records they would only tell us what was supposed to happen rather than what did in practise.  There may well have been a few freaks produced if the correct parts weren't available; these things are only cosmetic and perhaps it was thought better to use wrong parts than stop production.

The publicity shots could well have been taken before the design was finalised.

I've got a 746L (which must be quite rare as they came out in 1967 and All-Figure Dialling was introduced in 1968) that has 3D chevrons on an Antique Silver ground but I have no way of knowing if it's original.  As you say, privately manufactured 'phones muddy the waters further.

As for 706 cords, I have heard of a few having cloth-covered ones; not plaited but plain round like switchboard cords.

As Twocvbloke says, the very early cords were straight and cloth covered. Normally referred to as grebe cords.

That 746L sounds like it could possibly be a bit wrong. I've got a black one and seen a red one in a film produced by the GPO at the time. They both have the alphanumeric dial bezel, but the dial plate itself is a standard numeric one as fitted to all 746s. So I'm wondering if yours has been messed with? Unfortunately it's common for some of the so-called 'restoration specialists' to put repro dial bezels with the lettering onto phones that should never have had them. They also have a bad habbit of fitting coloured finger wheels to 746s. If you have a close look at the dial bezel you should find it is clear plastic with the printing actually on the back then the back painted the same colour as the phone to seal the letters in. It's the same unit they used on the earlier 706. However if your dial bezel is coloured plastic and the numbers / letters are printed on the surface and it clicks into the phone like plain bezels do on a 746, then it's a modern repro, probably made a week last Tuesday!

If it is indeed a genuine 746L you've got then you're lucky. As you rightly say, they are very rare. So rare I know people who worked for the GPO at the time who say they never existed, which I believed until I saw that film where the engineer takes one out of the back of his green Morris van. probably the rarest Uk phone of the plastic era would be a 746L in concorde blue. Finding a standard 706 or 746 that colour is hard enough!  ;D

I have nothing against people making reproductuon parts, but when they do I just wish they'd make the correct parts in the correct way.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: ThePillenwerfer on September 16, 2017, 03:46:34 PM
My 746L is marked 746L/AEG67/1.  The dial bezel is definitely right too.

I've seen a few on e-Bay when the bottom is shown revealing the official 746L mark.  There's a green one on at present that LOOKS pusser, it's the early-style body as well, but there's no picture of the base to confirm it.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: andy1702 on September 16, 2017, 04:04:22 PM
Have you taken the dial out and had a good look at it? AEG is one of the companys that made some strange things for private systems, so those 3d chevrons might just be right. I can't imagine the GPO would have accepted anything that wasn't exactly to the written spec though. Of course somewhere along the line the plate could have got damaged and replaced. There is also a chance it might not actually be a 746. I've got a very early ivory 706L with a dial 12 with numbers on the dial plate and stainless steel finger wheel. Dial bezel is back painted but only has figures, not letters! After some research, what we think happened was they suddenly had an order for  a load of phones to run off a private PAX, so they grabbed a few 706's off the production line, swapped the bezels for the private number only version and sold or rented them to whoever. Unfortunately the half finished phones they lifted off the line already had 706 stamped on the bottom! Oops!  :-[

Of course we'll never know for sure, which is why Hotline's phones, which have a tracable history, could be so important.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Duffy on September 17, 2017, 10:44:46 AM
I don't think they were making 332s by 1965. Are you sure you don't mean 1956? If it is1965 then it's probably an earlier unit that has been reconditioned. The GPO did a lot of that.
I can only base the date on what my brother in law told me, because it came from his family home in Ireland.
I also think he seen the date between the bells. That is where I looked when it arrived here.
You would know better than me, being from the UK. Yes, it was refurbed in 1965 as it was stated in my original thread. I wonder what year this phone was really build.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: ThePillenwerfer on September 17, 2017, 11:10:35 AM
I think you first need to establish in your own mind what constitutes the 'phone.  Least you think I've gone mad let me explain.

It was refurbished in 1965 at which time new or reconditioned parts would have been fitted.  How many original bits would have to remain for it to still be thought of as the same 'phone?  It's like Granddad's Hammer: it's had three new shafts and two new heads but it's still Granddad's Hammer.  There may be dates on the individual parts but there's no knowing if they started out in that 'phone.  Sometimes they have two: the date of manufacture and and FWR one when it was re-used.

Have a look at the oval recess in the handset.  If it's an early one the number at the top is the date, the illustration bellow is from 1936.  Latter ones will just have 164 XX, XX being the year.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Duffy on September 17, 2017, 11:35:17 AM
I think you first need to establish in your own mind what constitutes the 'phone.  Least you think I've gone mad let me explain.

It was refurbished in 1965 at which time new or reconditioned parts would have been fitted.  How many original bits would have to remain for it to still be thought of as the same 'phone?  It's like Granddad's Hammer: it's had three new shafts and two new heads but it's still Granddad's Hammer.  There may be dates on the individual parts but there's no knowing if they started out in that 'phone.  Sometimes they have two: the date of manufacture and and FWR one when it was re-used.

Have a look at the oval recess in the handset.  If it's an early one the number at the top is the date, the illustration bellow is from 1936.  Latter ones will just have 164 XX, XX being the year.

Thanks for the information and the great way of explaining it. ( Granddad's hammer ) :)
I just went and checked the handset. It is oval with 164 52. So the rest of it could be 1952? Is there anywhere else I should be looking for dates besides between the bells?
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: ThePillenwerfer on September 17, 2017, 12:33:51 PM
Well the handset is certainly 1952.

There may be a date on the chassis underneath the black refurbishment label.  Sometimes the original dates were stamped into the metal and sometimes they were printed on.  In the latter case they'd have been removed when it was refurbished.  The capacitor (big silver cylinder) may have a date printed on it.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Hotline on September 17, 2017, 06:01:28 PM
My 1959 706L is ivory, it has a type 12 dial with numbers only backplate, it has letters and numbers round the dial (as most GPO 706's do), it has a brown cloth line cord (I think it is a Grebe cord) with an ivory curly handset cord (the correct early heavy type of curly cord) and is 100% original, even down to the original 1959 receiver, microphone and even the dial card.

It is a GPO supplied phone and came from the original family so it has not been messed about with and I was very pleased to get it.

I will post some photos tomorrow (Monday).

Thanks for your interest!
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: TelePlay on September 17, 2017, 06:07:53 PM
My 1959 706L is ivory, it has a type 12 dial with numbers only backplate, it has letters and numbers round the dial (as most GPO 706's do), it has a brown cloth line cord (I think it is a Grebe cord) with an ivory curly handset cord (the correct early heavy type of curly cord) and is 100% original, even down to the original 1959 receiver, microphone and even the dial card.

Can you post a few pictures of the phone?

If you don't know how, send me a PM and I'll help you.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Hotline on September 17, 2017, 06:12:58 PM
Can you post a few pictures of the phone?

If you don't know how, send me a PM and I'll help you.
Sure, I will post some photos tomorrow (Monday).
 
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: oldguy on September 17, 2017, 10:56:25 PM
Welcome Richard. I think you will enjoy it here. I don't know anything about British phones, but I am looking forward to your pictures.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Hotline on September 18, 2017, 09:25:18 AM
Gentlemen

Here are the photos of my 1959 706L, I will post these over 2 separate posts as I have several photos of the phone.

As mentioned previously I obtained a pair of these 1959 phones from the original family that owned them from new. They are both identical except that the one shown in these photos has the brown cloth line cord, the other one has a standard ivory cord.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this phone.

Thanks!

Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Hotline on September 18, 2017, 09:30:10 AM
Second batch of photos.

Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: ThePillenwerfer on September 18, 2017, 09:37:43 AM
VERY nice.  :)
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: twocvbloke on September 18, 2017, 09:48:49 AM
Very nice indeed, you can see how much the Diakon holds its' shine and colour when compared to ABS, looks like new... :)
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: HarrySmith on September 18, 2017, 12:43:02 PM
COOL! Great looking phone.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Duffy on September 18, 2017, 01:08:22 PM
That is a very nice phone. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: david@london on September 18, 2017, 01:13:42 PM
hullo richard, from another londoner (epping forest area) ..though i've recently moved out to north-east suffolk.

great photos........that is really a lovely early 706 in amazing condition.
yes, the diakon really keeps its as-new appearance if well cared for. it's interesting to see the 12 dial on that 1959 model.
you have 2? lucky you.
i have a 1962 1961 two-tone green diakon 706L - i must post some more pictures of it.........one of my most favourite phones.

david.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Hotline on September 18, 2017, 03:26:20 PM
Thanks for all your kind comments  :)

hullo richard, from another londoner (epping forest area) ..though i've recently moved out to north-east suffolk.

great photos........that is really a lovely early 706 in amazing condition.
yes, the diakon really keeps its as-new appearance if well cared for. it's interesting to see the 12 dial on that 1959 model.
you have 2? lucky you.
i have a 1962 two-tone green diakon 706L - i must post some more pictures of it.........one of my most favourite phones.

david.
David, your two-tone green diakon 706L sounds great!

Richard
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: andy1702 on September 21, 2017, 05:05:51 AM
That is a very nice early example. The very very early ones also had a grebe handset cord, but those soon got changed when the curly ones became available. The numbered dial is interesting because, as I said before, there have always been questions about these.

What is most striking about this example though is the condition. To find a Diakon phone with no cracks is increasingly difficult these days.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Hotline on September 21, 2017, 04:02:57 PM
That is a very nice early example. The very very early ones also had a grebe handset cord, but those soon got changed when the curly ones became available. The numbered dial is interesting because, as I said before, there have always been questions about these.

What is most striking about this example though is the condition. To find a Diakon phone with no cracks is increasingly difficult these days.
Thanks Andy.

The numbered dial is what the very early GPO phones had fitted, I attach some photos of the GPO 706 brochure from 1959 which shows the numbered dials.

Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: andy1702 on September 22, 2017, 02:37:51 PM
It's good to finally confirm this. If you have a look at this page from TheTelephone File you'll see a different version with a fully alpha-numeric dial.
http://britishtelephones.com/t706.htm (http://britishtelephones.com/t706.htm)
I've also seen similar black and white illustrations with the 3d chevrons in a dial 12. My suspicion is the ones with the 3d Chevrons are actually photos of Ericsson N1900s taken out of context and the one on the page above was probably a pre-production example. It's centainly early because of the grebe cord, so just a bit earlier than yours. However I think yours is a good example of an early production phone and a good reference for anyone wanting to restore a '59 to original condition.

The photo's below are of my 1959 phone that was originally being built as a 706 but never made it out of the factory before being switched to be part of a private order for use on a PAX somewhere. Everything suggests 706, including the GPO stamp on the top of the capacitor. However the number only dial bezel is the clue it was not finished to GPO standards. At least that's what we collectively decided on here a while back. The black one alongside is another non-GPO phone, but that one is totally unmarked.

Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: Hotline on September 23, 2017, 12:10:34 PM
It's good to finally confirm this. If you have a look at this page from TheTelephone File you'll see a different version with a fully alpha-numeric dial.
http://britishtelephones.com/t706.htm (http://britishtelephones.com/t706.htm)
I've also seen similar black and white illustrations with the 3d chevrons in a dial 12. My suspicion is the ones with the 3d Chevrons are actually photos of Ericsson N1900s taken out of context and the one on the page above was probably a pre-production example. It's centainly early because of the grebe cord, so just a bit earlier than yours. However I think yours is a good example of an early production phone and a good reference for anyone wanting to restore a '59 to original condition.

The photo's below are of my 1959 phone that was originally being built as a 706 but never made it out of the factory before being switched to be part of a private order for use on a PAX somewhere. Everything suggests 706, including the GPO stamp on the top of the capacitor. However the number only dial bezel is the clue it was not finished to GPO standards. At least that's what we collectively decided on here a while back. The black one alongside is another non-GPO phone, but that one is totally unmarked.
I like your '59 phones Andy, I have another '59 in black, but it came with a 1968 dial with a 746 backing plate and finger wheel so I am looking for a type 12 dial of the appropriate age to fit to it, but for now I have fitted a black backing plate and black finger wheel.

I agree about the ones with chevrons being photos of Ericsson N1900s taken out of context, I think I have seen the photos that contain this phone, I reckon they just used a stock photo and that the 3D chevrons were never actually fitted to GPO issue 706 phones.

The link you post to the photo of the phone with the Grebe cord is interesting, but I don't think it is a GPO phone as the dial card is not a GPO dial card.

I have just taken delivery of a 746L - quite a rare phone I believe, I will post photos of it in a separate thread.
Title: Re: Hello from New UK Member
Post by: andy1702 on September 23, 2017, 04:22:37 PM
I have just taken delivery of a 746L - quite a rare phone I believe, I will post photos of it in a separate thread.

SNAP! :D

You'll see what I mean when you check that other thread.  :)