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Old 2nd Aug 2019, 2:32 pm   #1
Pellseinydd
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Default GPO Bakelite Phones - the end?

Does anyone know when the GPO or PO stopped purchasing new Bakelite telephones?

The Telephone 706 was introduced in 1959 (I remember seeing the very first one to arrive in the Chester Telephone Area being unwrapped in the Fitters' Room late in 1959). It is often quoted as 'replacing the Bakelite range' but that wasn't the case. The Tele 706/710 and wall version Tele 711 were offered as the 'Modern Telephone' and was supplied at an extra charge, no matter what colour, until the late 1960's. The 300 series was still the 'standard' telephone supplied until at least 1968 according the the Telephone Service Instructions I have for that time. I was certainly ordering Bakelite phones from the local stores into the late 1960's but from memory most were 'wipe-up's ' done locally or refurbished by the PO Factories Det at Cwmcarn.

However I recently bought a 200 type and some other bits and pieces.
There were two Bakelite Tele 164 handsets - one dated 1961 and the other dated 1966 !. The 1961 dated one had an unusual method that I've never seen during the sixty years since I joined the GPO ! Instead of the handset cord having a loop which hooks over a 'T shaped projection in the transmitter housing cavity. Interestingly, the cord (which had been cut ) was of the type fitted to Tele 164's used in public telephone kiosks on Tele 238's. The other handset dated 1961 was on a kiosk telephone that had been refurbished at the PO's Cwmcarn Factory Department in South Wales in 1972. It was fitted with the curly extensible black cord developed c1960 for the 200/300 series.

Any advances on 1966 for new Bakelite 200/300 series ?
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Old 2nd Aug 2019, 2:39 pm   #2
Station X
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Default Re: GPO Bakelite Phones - the end?

I joined POT in 1967 and I don't ever remember seeing a new Bakelite phone, replacements always came from wipe up.

I was on subs amp maintenance in 1968 and there was a 1.00 charge for a 700 type telephone. This upset some customers who would "accidently" break their Bakelite phone hoping to get a 700 type FOC.
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 11:09 am   #3
Pellseinydd
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Default Re: GPO Bakelite Phones - the end?

That is how I seem to remember it. I was a TO for most of 1960's responsible for a large MoD installation (20 position manual board with hundreds of phones!) and used to order phones - mostly 300 types but 700 for senior officers (rank of colonel upwards were permitted a 'modern' telephone !) .

But these Telephone No 164 handsets are dated 1961 and 1966 - not Indian repro's. Too well made for the Indian ones. Just wondering if anyone-else has seen any dated in the 1960's?
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Old 3rd Aug 2019, 7:30 pm   #4
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Default Re: GPO Bakelite Phones - the end?

I think there were still a few strange circuits or plan arrangements where a 706 couldn't be adapted and a 2xx or 3xx had to be used? Not sure if the GPO ever used a magneto calling version of the 706, for instance.
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Old 5th Aug 2019, 3:49 pm   #5
Pellseinydd
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Default Re: GPO Bakelite Phones - the end?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OscarFoxtrot View Post
I think there were still a few strange circuits or plan arrangements where a 706 couldn't be adapted and a 2xx or 3xx had to be used? Not sure if the GPO ever used a magneto calling version of the 706, for instance.
GPO didn't use the 700 style with inbuilt transistorised ringer as produced by Ericssons - the N diagram shows a Tele 706 converted to local battery used in conjunction with a Bakelite cased Generator 26.

Bakelite phones survived for a long time often where the subscriber would let them go.

I was thinking more of the GPO purchasing new Bakelite telephones like those in the photos of the Tele 164s from the 1960's - one as late as 1966 !
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Old Today, 10:02 am   #6
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Default Re: GPO Bakelite Phones - the end?

I was apprenticed to the GPO in 1967 and after training, became a T2A on subs app and line maintenance.
All the bakelite phones I encountered were black and it was only when we got a colour television in the late seventies that I discovered the 200 type phones came in a range of colours!
So I'm wondering if (at some point in the phasing out process) only the black 200s were sent to wipe-up and people with posh coloured bakelite phones were offered 700 types as replacements if beyond repair due to damage?
This might explain my experience.
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Old Today, 12:14 pm   #7
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Default Re: GPO Bakelite Phones - the end?

We had a phone installed from scratch circa 1965 in our home on the London Leytonstone exchange; 0024 was our number. That was a black Bakelite phone with the dummy drawer. However my best mate had a new installation of a phone around the same time and he got a blue 706. He lived about half mile away but on the Raglan exchange.

How did we get such a low number, were old ones reissued?

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Old Today, 2:16 pm   #8
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Default Re: GPO Bakelite Phones - the end?

I heard that subscribers had to pay an additional fee for Bakelite phones in any colour other than black.
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