TELEPHONE No. 162
GPO version of the Siemens Neophone.
Introduced in 1929 this Bakelite cased table telephone was originally produced by Siemens Brothers. The GPO version did not have an integral bell and therefore a wall mounted Bellset No. 25 or Bellset No. 1 was used. There was no rush by the GPO to introduce the Bellset No. 25 as they had a huge stock of Bellset No. 1's.
A new bellset, the Bellset No. 25, was introduced later and this could be wall mounted or fixed to the base of the telephone. Special screws supplied with the bellset allowed for fixing to the base. Many of these telephones can be found with the drawer base underneath, but when the telephone No. 162 was introduced the base had no drawer and fitted perfectly under the base of the Bellset No. 25. When a drawer base is fitted, it just looks wrong as the draw front have to be positioned in front of the Bellset case.
Although the telephone has a transformer fitted within it (the transformer is metal clad and is shown in the picture to the right), the phone is not ASTIC and an induction coil is still needed to complete the transmission path. The Bellset houses the induction coil and capacitor. The later Telephone No. 232 has an ASTIC Induction Coil, which is paper covered, and therefore the transformer was not required. A Bellset No. 1 or 25 must be fitted to the Telephone No. 162 to make it work. The phone would also work, without a Bellset, if they were wired in parallel with many of the wall phones available at the time.
Some of the original telephones were fitted with cast iron bases, whilst later models generally came with a lead weight, fixed to the Bakelite base (see pictures below). A few of the later phones occasionally had a base with a drawer.
Telephone No. 162 included (1946 and 1956):-
Telephone No. 1/162 included (1946 and 1956):-
The following variants were available in 1946:-
If 1956 only the CB, F and L variants were available, coloured Black only.
Fitted with a handset called a Telephone No. 164.
Circuit diagram N262.
Superseded by the Telephone No. 232.
See also the Siemens Brothers No. 82.
An insight into the choice of colours is given by these official papers discovered by Laurence Rudolf.
from Papers Regd.No. 7014 1/32
was thought that the department should not stock more than
four (or five) colours, and that special requests for
colours not stocked should be dealt with on the basis of
special provision at increased charge.
principle the colours stocked should be blended colours and
not matching colours: the latter, including various shades
of each of the primary colours should be left for individual
The blending of colours stocked might be Ivory, Mahogany, Old Gold (or Statuary Bronze) and Oxidised silver. The last two are lacquer finishes and Mr. Markwick will endeavour to obtain samples. Five colours were reserved for further inspection - Ivory, Mahogany, Chinese red, Blue and Green. Mr. Markwick will enquire to Mr. Sheeve regarding experience in America of the durability of lacquer finishes and will endeavour to get samples of the colours stocked by AT&T. Co.
I have considered further the coloured telephone instruments and my conclusions are as follows. Excluding the American type, which we do not want, there are 8 specimens in my room. Of these I have marked 4 on the labels with a “Yes” and you can go ahead with these. 3 others I have marked “No” and they can be definitely excluded for the present. There remains the green type, and I should like to see if you could get a variant of this in Jade green. I don’t much like the green of the present sample but two of three people I have consulted have suggested that a Jade green instrument might be popular and, in any case, I think its worth trying. If it is practicable, I should like to see a specimen before the colour is finally settled. I have excluded the red sample for the present but I am sure that it might not be popular in some quarters and it can be reconsidered when we have further experiences of the colours selected.
Yours sincerely (Intld) R.M.
Pictures below are views of a Telephone No. 162 with a watch receiver fitted. Watch Receivers, allowed two people to listen to the call, were not a standard fitted. They attracted additional rental charges.
Last revised: September 20, 2019