gec.gif (1164 bytes)GEC MURAPHONE

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Muraphone diagrams

GEC Current Comments Article

GEC Muraphone

The Muraphone was the wall telephone equivalent of the Gecophone but was introduced much later than the Gecophone (originally an iron bracket was used to convert the Gecophone for wall use).  The mur element in the name is taken from the Latin word for a wall.

The phone was designed originally for service on ships and was first used on the M.V. Dominion Monarch built by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson for the Shaw Savill and Albion Line.  Building started in 1937 and the ship was completed in 1939.

In 1937 automatic models of the Muraphone were ordered for the following ships - M.S. Oranje, 400 for the S.S. Andes and 600 for the R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth.

Many Muraphones were fitted with an AC buzzer instead of a ringer.  The first Muraphones had a Bakelite handset, similar to the GPO No. 164, whilst the Muraphone K had a later style handset, without the "spittoon" mouthpiece.

A classic design of the early post-war period, it had a transmission circuit similar to the GPO Telephone No. 332 and used a handset No. 164 the same as the GPO 332, mounted vertically over the dial.

In the Current Comments journal the Muraphone was originally the Catalogue No. 89 and 89A.  The No. 89A had a no line cord, instead, the terminal block in the phone having three spring loaded pins which made contact with a terminal block fixed to the wall.  This allowed the telephone to be quickly replaced in the event of a fault.

Quoting from the GEC catalogue:
“The Muraphone instrument is the most pleasing design of wall telephone. It has the big advantage that the handset must be removed before dialling can begin. The case is shaped to form a cradle for the receiver and a housing for the transmitter, so that the handset is securely held in a vertical position. The front surface of the moulding accommodates a dial; and this circular motif is repeated at the sides of the moulding by concentric segments. These are provided with outlet apertures for sound from the bell. All apparatus, including the dial, is mounted on the base; thus complete accessibility is given to all components by simply removing the case.”

Manufacturer’s designation:
The Muraphone was introduced around 1937 (source GEC Journal) and although designed for ships it was put into service in the Queens Hotel, Leeds. 1946 saw the introduction of the ST 2500 series (standard version) and ST 2600 series (tropicalised version) and in 1955 these were renumbered as the TEL/1M, TEL/2M, TEL/6M and TEL/8M.

The phone could be obtained with cases in black, ivory, Chinese red, jade green.  But no matter the colour of the case, the handsets were always black.

The Muraphone saw limited use on private (PAX, not PABX) systems installed by Reliance Telephone Company in factories and on the railways. Some were exported to Canada for use on PAX systems.  Ivory sets were fitted as PMBX extensions throughout the (railway-owned) Queen’s Hotel, Leeds (a quantity of these, fitted with  extensible plaited cords and buzzers, came onto the collector market in the mid 1980s).  In fact the Queen's Hotel is the source of just about every ivory Muraphone in collectors' hands today after a dealer bought a substantial quantity of them and sold them to collectors.

Note the slots for ventilation Case fixing screws are exposed

GEC Muraphone K

The Muraphone K was the wall  telephone equivalent of the GEC Telephone 1000 and was released in 1956.  The design of its case was identical to the original Muraphone but had a more modern handset and internal circuitry.  The handset is of the hollow handle type, titled Handset No. 1 by the BPO, and accommodates the then newly developed 4T receiver (rocking armature type). 

Colours: Black, plus ivory, red and green cases with black handsets and cords.

Users:  The Muraphone K saw use on PAX systems installed by the Reliance Telephone Company (a GEC subsidiary), although it would be misleading to say it was used widely.  A number saw service on British Railways for instance.

Manufacturer’s designation:

GEC technical article on the 1000 type range of telephones

Muraphone K external view Muraphone K internal view


GEC New Muraphone

The New Muraphone, launched in February 1966, was an attempt to simplify the design of the Telephone 711.

Two-tone grey, black and ivory.

At least one ship but no others known. The product appears to have been a failure.

This telephone started life in 1962 as ships phone and was originally produced for the P&O liner Oriana.  This phone was very similar in design to the GEC75 except most noticeably was the bristle brush device mounted above the handset, which would hold it in place in rough seas.  The phone also had an elastic handset cord whilst the GEC75 had the standard 700 type plastic cord.

Manufacturer’s designation:
GEC 75


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Last revised: January 16, 2024