THE CENTENARY NEOPHONE
Designed by John Barnes of Allen-Bowden and put into production in 1958, this phone was the modern version of the world famous Neophone. It celebrated the launch of the Siemens Brothers Company in 1858 and had an artistically designed case and handset moulded in impact resisting polystyrene. Due the the shape of the case, surrounding the dial, it was nicknamed "The Horseshoe Phone". This area was intended to be used to display letters for countries that needed lettered dials, but was usually left blank.
The handset on the original version was moulded in two parts and the line along the of the handset was meant to hide any excess adhesive. On later versions the handset was moulded in one piece. The handset cord was a 3 way fabric type.
The case was available in Black, Ivory and Pale Grey. Handset in Black, Ivory, Dark Grey, Red, Green, Maroon and Oatmeal. The case was held in place by two self tapping screws.
The standard telephone consisted of a high performance transmitter and receiver, with closed circuit induction coil, 2500 ohm ringer with adjustable bias spring and a Standard British Post Office dial, with external letter ring (printed on the casing around the dial) as illustrated an optional extra. It was tropically finished, dust and insect proof. Probably one of the first phones to have a printed circuit.
Hull Corporation customer
Extra-light handset weighing only 7ozs (200 gm).
The base had holes punched out to allow the sound of the bells to be heard. These holes were covered by a thin layer of plastic which is assumed to stop insects entering the telephone.
The bell gongs are inverted and the bell ring has a cranked swinging arm. There is also a wire adjuster on the bell ringer.
Only four wires connected the dial and terminals 2 and 3 on the dial were linked together.
The dial was connected as follows:-
A transistorised regulator could be fitted fitted only to the 904 model (see picture below for connection) and this was achieved by replacement of the 470ohm resistor by the regulator. A Regulator Type 3 and is fitted to the telephone by means of the rear fixing screw for the circuit board. The attenuator leads also must be placed in the parked position.
For short line working an attenuator could be activated. This is achieved by the two pin plugs with pink wires which would be unplugged and moved to the two two drilled holes adjacent. The telephone would then be attenuated for short line working.
The bell gongs are not inverted and the bell ringer has been changed so the clanger is underneath with no crank.
The bell adjustment is still in place but there are no holes punched in the base.
The dial is a Dial, Switch No. 38 which is a figures only dial with a white background and stainless steel fingerplate. Dial connection is the same as the early models.
The 908 model could also be used on Shared Service lines. This necessitated the installation of a special terminal plate fitted to the telephone by means of the rear fixing screw for the circuit board. This terminal plate was populated with three terminals, a Capacitor and a Thermistor.
The cases have also discoloured over time with the grey and ivory being affected the most.
AEI took over Siemens Brothers and later Centenary Neophones can be found with AEI printed on the rear of the case.
On many Centenary phones the circuit diagram can be found folded up and slipped under the circuit board.
The phone uses a Transmitter, Inset No. 13, which will probably not be working that well. It is possible to replace this a Transmitter, Inset No. 21 (with the grey centre). Discard the transmitter casing and fit the insert and lid in place of the No. 13.
Many of these were sold to the Hull Corporation. It appears that AEI needed to off load their stock as the more superior Telephone No. 706 was being introduced. The No. 706 had a better receiver and a short/long line regulator. Whilst penetration was small into the UK the phone was exported abroad especially to commonwealth countries.
Internal view of the early model 600 model
600 Model - Standard line telephone
600 model - Standard line telephone
904 model - rear view
904 model - front view
Two Centenary Neophones (CB type)
Note the flush fitted recall buttons
Note the recall button in front of the handset
The wall version of the Centenary Neophone - Model 980/981
Last revised: January 18, 2022