Automatic Pedestal Telephone - Strowger Automatic System

Pedestal table telephone made by Automatic Electric in Chicago, USA, and probably assembled over here from piece parts at the Edge Lane factory of ATM in Liverpool.  It is the phone used by the GPO on the two automatic exchanges introduced in 1912 (Epsom, Surrey and the Official Switch [i.e. Post Office Headquarters] in London).

Click here for more information on the Epsom exchange

Telephone No. 72 was used on ATM's automatic systems and the Telephone No. 72A was used at Epson and the GPO Official automatic system only.  Both telephones used a Bellset No. 8.

The very first of these telephones had no GPO numbers on at all, but from 1913 the phones had 72 stamped on them.

The Telephone No. 72 has a 'Mercedes' dial (Dial, Automatic No. 1), a body with a stepped bottom part made of brass and an electro-magnetic receiver.  Circuitry is pure Chicago and not customised for Britain.  It has no induction coil and just uses a simple DC series circuit with the transmitter and receiver in series with the dial pulse springs.  The receiver is shunted to dial noise, but there was no anti bell tinkle circuitry.  The bell has a bias spring to stop tinkle and the resistive part of the bell, in series with a capacitor, acts as the spark quench for the pulse contacts.

The wall equivalent is the Telephone No. 55.

Telephone included (1928)
Telephone No. 72:-
1 x Transmitter No. 1 (Mouthpiece No. 4).
1 x Receiver, Bell No. 4A.
1 x Dial, Automatic No. 1 or Dial, Automatic No. 8FA.
1 x Hook, Receiver F.
1 x Cord, Instrument No. 222, waterproof.
1 x Cord, Instrument No. 302, waterproof.
1 x Cord, Instrument No. 338, for Dial, Automatic, No. 1, or
1 x Cord, Instrument No. 356, for Dial, Automatic, No. 8 FA.

Telephone No. 72A (Used at Epson and the Official switch only):-
1 x Transmitter No. 12 (fitted with Transmitter Inset No.2).
1 x Receiver, Bell No. 4A.
1 x Dial No. 1.
1 x Cord, Instrument No. 222, waterproof.
1 x Cord, Instrument No. 325 or 302.

These component parts are taken from the Diagram N172A (1919)
Telephone No. 72 (Mark 234):-
1 x Transmitter No. 15
1 x Mouthpiece No. 4.
1 x Receiver, Bell No. 4.
1 x Dial, Automatic No. 1.
1 x Hook, Receiver F.
1 x Cord, Flexible No. 338 (Dial cord).
1 x Cord, Flexible No. 302 (Line cord).
1 x Cord, Flexible No. 222 (Receiver cord).
2 x Cord, Flexible No. 116 (Transmitter cords).

The Receiver, Bell No. 4A has no permanent magnet.  The American make has a Diaphragm No. 9 and an Earpiece No. 4, whilst the Mark 234 has a Diaphragm No. 12 and an Earpiece No. 2.

The diagram for the Telephone No. 72 (Issue C) of the diagram (AT12) is dated November 1918 (the N172 diagram is dated December 1919).   The Telephone No. 72 was superseded by the Telephone No. 124 when the Dial No. 8 was adopted as standard in November 1922 (according to Engineer in Chief's diagram  "Misc 623 - Automatic Telephones, Existing and Proposed Dial Spring Assemblies and Telephone Circuits" - dated 17.9.24).  The diagram states "used at all ATM Co's exchanges until adoption of Telephone No. 124 in Nov 1922".

Diagram N558 advises that they could also be modified for two party line working.

Used with a Bellset No. 8.

This telephone was superseded by the Telephone No. 150.

Known in Australia as the Geelong phone (Type 38AT) because exactly the same phones were used at Geelong in 1912 (first automatic exchange in Australia).

Circuit diagram - N172.

Circuit diagram - AT 12.

Telephone mouthpiece sanitisers








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Last revised: October 16, 2023