Author Topic: Siemens magneto telephone from 1940  (Read 2849 times)


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Siemens magneto telephone from 1940
« on: August 18, 2013, 06:12:39 PM »
On Ebay, a telephone is for sale that is marked as a 1940 Siemens telephone, auction URL:

It is a manual telephone with a magneto generator and large front face instruction card holder.
The black paint is worn.

The seller claims to have official appraisal and authenticity, and export documents from the Romanian government, certifying it as a national cultural item.

The bottom supposedly shows a model number "OB33".

I am curious as to the history of this line of telephones, and the correctness of the claim.  It is certainly a Siemens & Halske design and the components have clear style elements of S&H, most notably the handset. I know that Siemens licensed the design to other companies in Europe, for example to Iskra in Yugoslavia, because I have one which went by the model ITV and a number 1-6 or so.

I have a 1953 German circuit diagram of a model "OB08" which is also a magneto set, but I don't know the looks of it.
I do have multiple sighting of this model on the Internet with various model numbers OBxx, but have not seen an overview of the line.

Does anyone here have a timeline or any information on these sets?

« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 08:55:10 PM by unbeldi »

Offline dsk

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Re: Siemens magneto telephone from 1940
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 12:38:24 AM »
OB 33
Relatively common Magneto telephone. Designed 1933

Quite much info available on the net. Search for e.g.: ob 33 AND (telefon OR telephone OR fernsprecher)


Offline Haf

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Re: Siemens magneto telephone from 1940
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 05:49:45 AM »
Even if it seems ebay ended that auction before time, I think I know who the seller was. I've seen several auctions from this seller over the last month, always selling something common or Frankenphones for moon prices and always certified by Romanian Government. The most remarable one was probably a Transylvanian phone which he got certified by Government as most likely Dracula's personal!Every chip on a mouthpiece-certified as vampire teeth traces, every sratch-certified as werewolf's claw scratch. And YOU can get this national treasure for only a couple of thousand bucks. So this seller gives the Frankenphone it's real meaning, a Frankensteins laboratory personal owned phone, of course certified by Government. Making me angry, that's not a funny story to smile, that's fraud.

About this Phone, as dsk already stated, a highly common Streckenfernsprecher (railroad track phone) OB (Ortsbatterie-local battery) 33, thousands of those where beside the railroadtracks. No national treasure, nothing worth more than maybe $10-15.


just checked ebay:

and I would think even 27 Euros is to much for only 2, if you want one I'll get you one for cheap, just let me know.

and the correct diagram:
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 05:59:04 AM by Haf »


  • Guest
Re: Siemens magneto telephone from 1940
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2013, 09:25:33 PM »
The auction is still going on. I found that I mistyped the URL in my post. It was missing a slash in the path--now corrected.

Thanks, Gentlemen.
I had emailed the seller with concerns that his 'official' credentials may not be up to standard and asked him to show the bottom and inside as well, and he obliged, that's where those 2 extra pics came from. I thought it was simply a German-made phone that got to Romania in the war.

I agree with your price suggestions, as I got my truly Yugoslavian version of this phone for less than $20 some time ago, and it is in shiny never-used condition, manufactured in 1961. Iskra was a company founded in part by Siemens, and used many Siemens designs.
These phones just don't show up on the US eBay site very often, so I noticed.

Thanks for links.... especially the site, which I had not discovered before.

There are some remarkable features on this type of phone. The generator is quite powerful for its small size, and it rings multiple extensions and my cordless PBX on the same line with easy. The gears of crank drive are helically cut, which makes it very easy to operate, it rotates very smoothly, unlike all the American made generators with spur gears.

Electrically, it is remarkable that the transmitters are powered by only a single cell battery, 1.5V D-cell, rather than the typical 2 or 3 cells. It is surprising perhaps that they managed to keep the internal impedance of the transmitter low enough to provide sufficient current for long-distance transmission along rail lines.

The physical design is robust and neat, no surprise perhaps that these have been produced and used for a long time. Use apparently extended into the 90s. I can't think of another telephone model with such an active lifespan.


  • Guest
Re: Siemens magneto telephone from 1940
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2013, 12:19:44 PM »
I can't think of another telephone model with such an active lifespan.
Perhaps some of the 1048 scissor arm candlesticks also used by the railroads ?  A friend told me that he spotted one in a subway station control room in NYC in the 1990s. Usability wasn't clear, asfahk.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 01:51:37 PM by unbeldi »