Telephone Switching > Intercom & Interphone Systems

Questions about my Select-O-Phone.


Greg G.:
A few questions about my recently acquired Select-O-Phone.

I've been told that it has been "brassed out", meaning it was originally painted black, but the paint was removed.  Why did they paint these in the first place?  I like the looks of the brass.  Would restoring it to the original painted black make it more desirable as a collectors item?  (May be a moot question since I have no real desire to do that and intend to keep it, just curious in general).

I've also been told the handset is not the correct one.  But what handset is this?  It looks like an F1, but there are no markings other than a date stamp in the receiver cup and on the receiver and transmitter elements.  I would like to get the correct handset for this.

Last question is more technical.  Actually it's two questions.  First, how to get this functioning as an answer-only phone?  Does it need a subset?  Second part is I was wondering if I could use it as it was intended, to dial an extension, e.g. once it's functioning, would I be able to use it to dial an extension on my PBX, up to #8? 


The handset on your Select-O-Phone looks like a 1940s North handset.  It is most likely not the original.  The phone was probably made in the 1930s.  As far as I am aware, brass was always either painted black, japanned, or plated.  I think that the shiny brass candlesticks that you see around were all originally japanned, and so probably was your phone.  I would seriously doubt that painting yours black would increase its value.

The Select-O-Phones were never designed to work on a normal telephone system, so you would need to add a network or subset of some sort to yours to make it into a normal phone.  I doubt that the selector dial would be of any use.

You can look at for some information about Select-O-Phones.



Greg G.:
Doesn't sound like it's worth the hassle to bring it to the level of an answer-only extension, unless I ever run out of phone projects, but I've got enough now to last me into retirement.  Like the Bronze 202, somebody wired a modular cord on it, but I removed it, I detest mickey-mouse modifications like that.  I'll concentrate instead on getting a correct handset.  "Kellogg Mike" said the correct one is an AE 40 handset w/chrome bands.

Regarding the brass, back in the 1930s brass was cheap and most people didn't like the look of it.  It was also considered very old-fashioned, having been popular in the Victorian era.  Brass items almost always had some sort of finish, either antiqued or painted to disguise the metal.


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