Wednesday, 3 October 2018

200 Series Bakelite Telephones

Model 162 & 232 Telephones

In the late 1930's the 200 series Bakelite telephones were the first British rotary dial telephones to be made out of Bakelite (the original synthetic plastic). Before the 200 series range all old telephones in the UK were predominantly made of metal and wood.

At the time Bakelite was a big improvement as unlike metal the Bakelite Telephone bodies were made of electrically non-conductive material, whilst at the same time Bakelite is very resistant to damage by both by heat (unlike modern plastics) and corrosive liquids such as acids.

Why do you need a Bellset !

When it was first introduced the 200 series Bakelite phone did not contain an integral telephone bell. Back in the 1930's it was still thought to be a good idea to have the telephone bell separate to the main telephone body. So basically you had the "Telephone Instrument" as one item and the telephone "Bellset" or "Bell box" as another. This is explained in far more detail in the following video.

Using the "right" Bellset !

Today these "Art Deco" early antique telephones are regarded as very collectable. However to achieve the maximum desirability it is VERY important to have them paired with the correct "Bellset" or "Bell box".

The Model No 162 Bakelite telephone (the first of the 200 series) should be paired with a (1930's - 1950's) Bakelite Bellset No25 see Information on Bellset no 25 . Alternatively it should be paired with the less common (older, 1920's 1930's) wooden Bellset No1 ,see Information on Bellset No 1.

This matching of "Bellsets is particularly important for a No 162 telephone as the components required for "correct speech" were housed inside the Bellset along with the bells not in the main telephone instrument. Without this speech component (induction coil) it is not possible to restore the 162 telephone to is full potential. In simple terms without the correct bellset No25 poor speech quality and potential interference with other telephones or broadband reliability would be a big issue.

The slightly later (first appeared in 1935) and far more common Model No 232 (200 series telephone) are easier to match up to a bellset correctly as by that point the "telephone instrument" contained all the speech components and the Bellset only housed the bell mechanism.

For the avid collector the 232 telephone should be paired with a (1930's - 1950's) Bakelite Bellset 26 or at an absolute pinch the the older Wooden (1920s - 1930's) bell box 1A. They will technically work OK paired with a modern bell mechanism such as the 1960's metal Bellset 64D but that,s not ideal from a collect-ability point of view, as back in the day they would never have been originally paired together.

If you are thinking of adding one of these wonderful vintage telephones to your own telephone collection please make sure you read the advice give on the following website Bakelite Telephones: Tips and advice

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