Australian Post Office
Telephone No. 5 - Bridging Type (B.I.H. Co.)

Telephone, Magneto, Wall, Bridging Type

This phone was used in small quantities and was supplied by the British Insulated and Helsby company from the mid 1890s.  It was their Model T202.  It was based on a Western Electric model but used a Manchester Shot transmitter and Ericsson receiver instead of the Western Electric parts.  Originally a 3-box model from about 1892 where the top box houses the generator, hook switch and ringer,  the middle box housed the transmitter and the bottom box housed the batteries.  The model was upgraded to the twin box in the late 1890s as better transmitters became available.  This change was made possible by the development of the Hunnings-type transmitter. It was smaller than the previously used Blake transmitter, so could now be fitted into the top box.

It was a "bridging" type phone, for use on party lines and could also be fitted with a second receiver.

Although it does not appear to have been bought by the Australian Post Office, many were left over from pre-Federation purchases.  It is known from New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.  It was still listed in the APO's 1914 circuit handbook so it must have been a reasonably reliable model.  Because the bulk of its construction is Western Electric, it is possible that phones in some collections may be wrongly identified as WE.  BI&H phones seem to have had at least one branded part on them, however the brand may be on the generator side plates inside the box.

BI&H stopped building phones well before the Second World War.  As these phones wore out they would have been replaced by the Commonwealth Ericsson.

Taken from Bob's Old Phones

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Last revised July 02, 2023