AUTOPHONE TELEPHONES


Autophone 300 type lookalike

Autophone was the manufacturing arm of the British Home and Office Telephone Company, having a factory in Wimbledon. Before and just after the war they imported phones from T&N in Germany, but later they made (or at least assembled) a strange near-lookalike of the BPO Tele. 332. There is also a wall version of this telephone, with a steel case and a handset hanging down by the left.

Colours:
Black.

Users:
PAX systems installed by the British Home & Office Telephone Company and its subsidiaries. The Crich Tramway Museum has one of the wall telephones.

Made by:
Autophone of Wimbledon, south London in the 1950s and sold to their sister companies British Home & Office Telephone Company (BHOTCo), Birmingham Telephone Company (BTC), Dictograph Telephones Ltd and no doubt to others as well.

Body looked vaguely like 332 although the wall version was just a tin box with the handset hanging down to the left. Chassis was very cheap looking, with bought-in components. The handset looks almost like the BPO 164 design, with an elasticated plaited handset cord. The microphone cup was fixed with three screws at 120 degrees rather than the spring clips of the BPO 164 design; these screws always worked loose. Transmitter and Receiver capsules were imported from Germany, as was the induction coil on the chassis. Dial was usually a copy of the ATE 24C with a finger wheel made out of very thin (and shiny) pressed steel. Some models had a German-made dial with a black bakelite finger wheel made by T&N or DFG in Germany (the group imported a lot of parts from Germany).

Wall models of this telephone seem always to have had the Bakelite dial.

This telephone seems to be universally loathed by collectors but it is a novelty and uncommon today. These phones and exchange systems were bought by customers who could not afford anything better; they really were the cheapest option!

Early version of the dial table telephone, with BPO type dial and braided cord

 

Later dial table phone with elasticated handset cord and German dial

 

 A dial-less CB version of the wall telephone with steel case

 

Table intercom version of this telephone

 

A larger-capacity version of the same instrument

 

The classically-inspired (and faintly ridiculous) trademark
of the Autophone company, to be found on some instruments

  

A selection of the labels to be found on telephones made by Autophone
Normally these telephones were rented, not sold, so the companies needed to use these labels to identify their property

 

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Last revised December 05, 2007

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