Sold by the National Telephone Company (NTC) this small telephone was effectively a handset that hung on a rosette with a call button.  These were also known as "parlour phones" and would generally be wired into a new or existing electric bell circuit (used in large homes to call servants).  The handset is 7.5in in length.

To use the phone, the bell at the far end would be called by pressing the bell call button on the rosette and conversation would then take place using another Metaphone at the distant end.

The Metaphone was also used in some Royal Navy ships before and possibly during World War I.  It was deemed unsuitable for use with motor generators when tested at Vernon.  They worked with a battery supply.

Mention is made in 1906 of Metaphone use being extended to provide two pairs to all 2nd and 3rd class cruisers and scouts for use as their commanders saw fit over existing bell circuits.  In the same year, it was also noted that these had been supplied so that each ship with an admiral or commodore would have three pairs, and two pairs to all battleships, cruisers and scouts.

When the NTC closed for business GEC sold similar phones, one of which was the "Little Geeko" and the GPO could provide the Telephone No. 29.

Metaphone - Front


Metaphone - Rear


Metaphone advert


Metaphone hanging in a living room, to the right of a fire place


Lift attendant using a Metaphone


NTC reply to an enquiry


Metaphone advert



BACK Home page BT/GPO Telephones Search the Site Glossary of Telecom Terminology Quick Find All Telephone Systems

Last revised: April 06, 2022