ATM Strowgerphone

monophon.gif (34709 bytes)Made in Liverpool by ATM, the design of the Strowgerphone was based on the equivalent design of ATM’s US partner, Automatic Electric Company of Chicago. The only major difference in the British phone was the BPO type 164 handset

The Strowgerphone was an attempt by ATM to design a modern-looking phone that owed nothing in design to other patterns. It was made in both table and wall versions.

The Automatic Electric (AE) Monophone was released in the US in 1925. It is believed that both the AE 1 and the AE 2 were sold in the UK (and elsewhere) by ATM.  The Monophones supplied in the UK used the US Monophone handset that had nickel bands around both the transmitter and the receiver and was the ATM catalogue number T4087.

In 1928 AE in the US released the AE 1-A.  It was very similar to the AE 1 but the cradle was lower.  All of these phones used a single plunger in the centre of the cradle to actuate the hook switch.  There is no evidence that the AE 1-A was sold by ATM, but the Irish P&T used both the AE 1 and AE 2 for the opening of the first two automatic telephone exchanges in 1927 in Dublin.

There were three versions of the plunger; a brass nickel plated plunger, a Bakelite plunger of the same shape and a three section telescoping plunger.  The plunger developments were an effort by AE to have the hook switch operate even if Madam got the handset cord caught between the cradle and the handset.  This was an AE paranoia that eventually lead to the shape of the 706 cradle via the AE 80 cradle.

From 1933 ATM of Liverpool (UK) produced the Strowgerphone, based on the AE 1-A Monophone.  The Strowgerphone is pictured to the right.  The Strowgerphone was similar in outward appearance to the AE 1-A but the body was slightly higher so that a transformer could be fitted inside and the UK type handset was used.  Virtually all telephones supplied to non-BPO customers used ATE’s own No. 24C dial (designed in Chicago by Automatic Electric) in preference to the BPO No. 10, presumably to avoid paying royalties.  This applies also to the Monophone and their own Telephone 332.

This ATM Strowgerphone was electrically identical to a GPO Telephone No. 162 and worked with a Bellset No. 1 as an Anti Side Tone (AST) telephone (A Bellset No. 25 can also be used).  A Hull Corporation variant can be seen pictures to the right.

In Portugal the ATM Strowgerphone was sold under the name “Aptofone”, marketed by “The Anglo-Portuguese Telephone Co., Lda.” a.k.a. "Companhia dos Telefones".

The Belgium company Antwerp Telephone And Electric Works (ATEA) also made several Strowgerphones of their own that were patterned after, but not the same as AE telephones.  They were known as Ateaphones or Series 28.  The Strowgerphone model was bodies in Bakelite and some made their way back to ATM.

The Ateaphone range also included wall and table models which were supplied with integral ringers and steel cases.

All the Ateaphone models were produced in Automatic and CB forms, with the automatic model using the Type 24 dial.

Included below are sales leaflets from ATEA which have an English-language specification sheet.  Did this mean they intended to sell the phone into countries within the British Empire?

The ATM Strowgerphone was also made by ATEP and the Italian AE (called AUTELCO).  This phone also appeared in Australia with its own Australian cradle plate.

There are two version of the Strowgerphone; one (probably the first) uses the single central plunger (and brass plate) like the AE 1A and another that used a full width Bakelite rest.  Both phones were made concurrently for some time but it is thought that production of the single plunger version was first to cease.  Both versions were used in Australia in PAX and railway service.

To sum up - the Strowgerphone is the European Monophone and of the Strowgerphones, the Bakelite version is produced by ATM with the metal versions (with their rather odd handsets) made by ATEA.

Strowgerphones are not to be found in the ATM catalogue of 1951.

Colours: Black, possibly others.

Users: The Strowgerphone saw use on private (PAX, not PABX) systems installed by Communication Systems Ltd (an ATM subsidiary) and was adopted for public use by Hull Corporation Telephone Department, the Irish P&T (found in the Irish rate book of 1934 and described as the Chicago Type handset with the metal bands around the receiver and transmitter) and the Anglo-Portuguese Telephone Company on their networks in Lisbon and Oporto.

Note: The same phone was made and used in Italy, with the American pattern of handset and carrying a nameplate saying (on the left) AUTELCO Milano and (on the right) SATAP Roma.

Conversion to UK Plug and Socket working
This telephone, with a transformer, is effectively a GPO Telephone No. 162.  It requires a Bellset No. 1 or 25 to work.
Wiring is as follows and assumes an old style GPO cord is used to connect the Telephone to the Bellset:-

  1. Remove the wire link between T - L2, which is under the Bellset terminal board.
  2. Telephone cord - White - goes from terminal 3 in phone to L2 in Bellset.
  3. Telephone cord - Red - goes from terminal 1 in phone to TR in Bellset.
  4. Telephone cord - Green - goes from terminal 2 in phone to R in Bellset.
  5. Remove the wire strap/link between E and L1 in the Bellset and insert a 3.3k ohm resistor.
  6. New line cord - White to L1 in Bellset.
  7. New line cord - Red to L2 in Bellset.
  8. New line cord - Blue to T in Bellset.
  9. New line cord - Green - insulate with tape (this wire is not used).
  10. Short out the two terminals of the capacitor (square grey box shaped object) in the Bellset by wrapping a wire between the terminals.

To disconnect bell (if required)
Remove strap between L1 and E or leave out the resistor.


ATM Strowgerphone
Strowger phone plate as fitted to all Strowgerphones with the central plunger
Another Strowgerphone version, this time steel cased
Made in Belgium by ATEA and called the Ateaphone

Additional Pictures

Strowger phone CB (no dial)
GPO style handset - very early model - note the screws fixing the mouthpiece in place
Strowgerphone CB
Internal view
The four wires fixed to the dial dummy are ready for a dial to be fitted
Strowgerphone circuit diagram
Strowgerphone Automatic
Closeup of Bakelite switch-hook plunger
Strowgerphone Automatic internal view
Using an ATM Dial No. 24


Some more pictures
Taken from GEC archive pictures and believed to date around 1928

What was GEC doing with this phone.  It has a Dial No. 8
Obviously a AE Monophone with a Dial No. 8
No Induction coil or transformer


Dated 1936
Picture taken at a
small Belgium Telephone Museum close to the French border



ATEA Leaflets & Circuit Diagrams
Based on the company name "Automatique Electrique de Belgique"


Catalogue No. 2300


Catalogue No. 2301


Catalogue No. 2302


Bulletin No. 1500a
Thought to be circa 1928



Circuit diagrams

For additional information go to (go to Old Phones and tab down to Strowgerphone).

Click here for an AE article on the Monophone


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Last revised: February 06, 2022