This site and many like it are not that friendly to those who know little about telephones.  To make matters worse my site is devoted only to UK telephony, so if you want American telephones then go to a US link.

I have started with Telephones and further down this page I will link you to other subjects, like how to wire them up.

GPO, Post Office and British Telecom
To help you get started, most people will recognise certain types of British telephones, but will not know the official GPO title, so lets go!

In theory there are a few different generic types. The old wooden ones, candlesticks, pyramid shaped Bakelite, big chunky Bakelite and the 1960's/1970's plastic cased models.  Well that's got it down to five types.

The GPO gave all telephones numbers (in fact the GPO gave every piece of equipment a name and number).
The old wooden ones were in the range 1 - 121 ..........................try Telephone No. 121
The Candlesticks were in the range 123 - 163 .............................try Telephone No. 150
The Bakelite pyramids were in the range 160 - 260 .....................try Telephone No. 232
The big chunky Bakelite's were in the range 300 - 396 .................try Telephone No. 332
The plastic cased models in the range 700 - 790 ..........................try Telephone No. 706 or 746 (integral handle)
The plastic cased models with the new plug ended cord were prefixed by the number 8.  So a plug ended Telephone No. 746 would be a Telephone No. 8746.

This is only a generalisation but good enough to start with - you could also look under your phone for a number!
OK - so you need to go to the Telephone File start menu (just click on the GO link below), then you can either:-

click on the "Telephones - All Makes" link, then click on "BPO telephones - full list in number order" for a list of GPO/BT/PO telephones


click on Quick Find, then the number range you want and up pop some clickable thumbnail pictures

By now you know approximately which type of telephone you are interested in (look at the number on the base of your telephone if you have one) so you can have a look around.

Collectors information on all old GPO telephones Click here

UK socket information and how to wire them up

Ringer Equivalence Number

How to wire up old GPO telephones

Collectors Information - what to look for - how to identify a good phone

More information on private telephones

Non GPO & privately supplied telephones
Non GPO telephones are in the Private telephone section and can also be found in the Quick Find section.  If your telephone is an Ericsson or GEC - then go to their own Quick Find section - for other old telephones, try Peel Conner or Sterling.

Good luck - Email me at - if you have problems OR WORSE STILL - SUGGESTIONS!


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Last revised: May 20, 2021