TELEPHONE No. 332
Combined Microtelephone, introduced by the GPO on the 14th June 1937, for use in CB and Automatic exchange areas on direct exchange lines. Offered as an alternative to the table model, the Telephone No. 232.
The CB version was fitted with a dummy plate in place of the dial. These would have been replaced by a dial when the local exchange was converted to Automatic working.
An improved design on the revolutionary table Telephone No. 162 (introduced in 1929) as it was less liable to breakage and some 300 type models provided extra facilities controlled by press buttons. The telephone also contained a bell, whilst Telephone No's 162 & 232 were fitted with an external Bellset.
This telephone had a tray for the subscribers personal directory but as from June 1940 the tray was not fitted and instead the telephone was supplied with a blank plate (Tray, Dummy, D62099). This was probably a war time cost saving, because in late 1947 the tray was re-introduced.
GPO supplied Telephone No. 332's came in four colours:-
In 1961 braided handset cords were superseded by an extensible, coiled, cord called the Cords, Instrument No. 3/110AK, Black, 10". These can be found on factory refurbished telephones, or telephones repaired on customers premises.
Mark 1 - has a Receiver, Inset No. 1L in the handset and switch
bracket with plungers of the early type.
Optional items for this model were a lamp fitting and a second receiver. They were both mounted on a bracket that was located on the rear "wings" of the case behind the switch-hooks.
Telephone Includes (1946):-
Diagram for telephone circuit - N432.
Diagram for Button labels - N620.
Drawing No. 63022 - Telephone
GEC also produced the Telephone No. 332 Mark 1 as their model ST3506.
The Siemens equivalent of the Telephone No. 332 Mark 1 is their model No. 342 or 350.
The letters AEP appears on some telephones and these were made and used in Portugal, but appear in the UK occasionally. Click here for more information.
BPO Telephone No. 332 and variants
Made for the BPO, private systems and several overseas and commonwealth administrations by the majority of British telephone manufacturers, the 300-type telephone was one of Britain’s most successful and characteristic telephone designs.
The design of the 332 telephone originated with Swedish Ericsson but the case had to be enlarged to accommodate the design changes demanded by the BPO.
The first of the 300 series telephones, the Telephone No. 308, was introduced in 1934, representing the first self contained (auto-capable) table top instrument used by the GPO [Ericsson advertisements give 1932 as its year of introduction]. Various versions followed (including wall mounted instruments in 1947) for extension plan working, shared service and private systems. All the CB/auto 300-series were fitted with the improved ASTIC transmission circuitry and used the same Telephone No.164 handset as the 200-type telephone.
The ‘cheesetray’ nickname is used mainly by collectors and according to some refers to the pull-out drawer whilst others maintain it is derived from the sloping shape of the telephone’s case.
Manufactured by: British Ericsson, ATM, GEC, Siemens Brothers and others. Also by AWA in Australia, ITI in India, AEP in Portugal and by Telrad in Israel.
Also known as: GEC ST3500 series (standard version), ST 3600 series (tropicalised version). Siemens Brothers 350 series.
Colours: Black, ivory, red, green, pink and pale blue models were used in Australia. Sky blue, rose pink, peach and pale green (and possibly other colours) are known to originate in India (made by ITI). Mottled brown examples were sold by Siemens Brothers in South Africa, probably manufactured in Britain. Clear (transparent) models were made in Perspex for exhibition purposes, with metal parts chromium or nickel plated; these are extremely rare and highly prized. Examples seen include a plain model commissioned by the Post Office and one bearing an Ericsson transfer for Ericsson Telephones Ltd. Other experimental shades seen in Britain are blue, orange and purple. Many examples made by GEC carried a prominent gold and black transfer stating they were the property of the Reliance Telephone Company.
Variants: Not all telephones have the pull-out drawer and of those that do, those made with coloured cases generally have a stainless steel cover with the GPO roundel embossed in red and a clip for a notepad (Neil Carpenter notes only having seen telephones made in 1937 with this ‘enhancement’). Subscribers frequently jammed these drawers by stuffing too much paper in them, sometimes obstructing the ringer. Not a few also used this hidey-hole for saving ten-shilling or pound notes - and forgot to retrieve them when the instrument was changed for a new one.
Instruments with APTOPHONE moulded in the case were used by the Anglo-Portuguese Telephone Company on their networks in Lisbon and Oporto. Those marked TELRAD in the handset depression were made by the Telrad company in Israel. The name NEW ERA has also been seen but nobody seems to know who the New Era company was. ITI is another imprint; it stands for Indian Telephone Industries, a company established in 1948 with help from ATE. Tooling for the Tele. 332 was exported to India and is still used to produce these telephones (the mouldings look rather rough now).
Early British examples of the 332 (supplied to Telephone Rentals, probably Ericsson's biggest customer for many years) had the handset cord entry on the left-hand side of the case (not at the rear). Those supplied to the BPO had the standard rear entry arrangement. Ericsson’s own wall telephone (like the P.O. Telephone No. 311 but without earthing button) was supplied to London Transport, Australian PO and others but never to the BPO. Coloured versions of the desk phone (i.e. like a 332) made by Ericsson for its private customers often had coloured plastic dials and a piece of chrome-plated metal moulded into the case in front of the cradle.
Typical base markings for an Indian example are DJL 11044-A8. Manufactured by Indian Telephone Industries (ITI). Bangalore B 71/1 INDIA.
Many 332-type telephones were exported to Canada by GEC, fitted with a mouthpiece that was slightly convex with a row of five piercings and a second row of four holes near the top edge (known as the 'pepper pot' cap and far less common than the normal ‘spitcup’ style).
Possibly the most unusual example of the 332 was discovered for sale in Greenwich market (see prototype picture below). The body of the telephone is red, with a small number frame on the front, and the handset is black; despite the strange shape of the handset, it takes standard transmitter (No. 10) and receiver (No. 1P) insets. The cable entry for line and handset cord are toward the rear of the left-hand side of the telephone, not at the rear, and there is neither ‘cheesetray’ nor a blanking plate for same. The circuit diagram of this unusual telephone is numbered 133280, principle and connection diagram for CB telephone instrument (aut) BPO 50-volt 2 x 200 ohms, table type. Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson, Stockholm. The date is 5.12.32, which appears to take the design well back beyond what is normally considered this telephone’s introduction. The drawing has a mixture of British and Swedish language and symbols.
From the photograph, it appears that the phone has a British dial, but the side cable entry and number frame of the Ericsson phone. However, the odd handset is neither the standard handset used in Sweden, nor of course the standard Neophone handset. The fact that it is a different colour from the body suggests that it might not have been the original. The circuit diagram is pure L. M. Ericsson – I have a near identical type of diagram from the 1970's for an Ericofon. I conclude that the phone must be a pure Swedish L. M. Ericsson telephone, perhaps an early version supplied to the GPO for evaluation purposes. Is it pure coincidence that the Ericsson part number has the digits 332 embedded in it?
Perhaps the big surprise is why
it took until 1936/7 for the GPO to market the 300 type.
Perhaps that was the timescale in those days for the UK
manufacturers, such as Ericsson Telephones of Beeston, to gear
up for British supply, including changing the body to include
the drawer from the 200 type.
The following list details the different 300-type instruments and their intended uses
Tele. 306 CB/auto instrument fitted with trembler (DC) bell, extra switch hook contacts and positions for up to three switches for use on various extension plan systems.
Tele. 308 As Tele. 306 but with standard magneto bell fitted.
Tele. 310 This CB/auto instrument was fitted with a ‘Call Exchange’ button and designed to work with Bellset No. 41 on shared service lines. Superseded by Tele. 312.
Tele. 311 Wall mounted CB/auto instrument fitted with ‘Call Exchange’ button for use on shared-service lines.
Tele. 312 Self-contained CB/auto table instrument fitted with ‘Call Exchange’ button for use on shared-service lines.
Tele. 314 As Tele. 312 but with two extra switch positions for extension plan working.
Tele. 321 Wall mounted CB/auto instrument with three switch positions for extension plan working.
Tele. 326 As Tele. 306 but without extra switch hook contacts.
Tele. 327 Newer design wall instrument with three switch positions and trembler bell for extension plan working.
Tele. 328 CB/auto instrument with three switch positions for extension plan working.
Tele. 329 Wall mounted version of Tele. 328
Tele. 330 CB/auto instrument fitted with one switch for use on extension plans or PABX with operator recall.
Tele. 331 Wall mounted version of Tele. 330.
Tele. 332 Standard CB/auto table instrument. See above.
Tele. 333 Standard CB/auto wall mounted instrument (black, ivory).
Tele. 392LB LB instrument with trembler bell and three switch positions for use on extension plan systems on LB or long CB/auto lines.
Tele. 393 Wall version of Tele. 392
Tele. 394 LB instrument with standard magneto bell and three switch positions for use on extension plans on LB or long CB/auto lines. See separate description for Tele. 394.
Tele. 395 Wall version of Tele. 394.
Tele. 396 Standard LB table instrument.
Telephone 332 Paster Diagram
The diagram is numbered L532619 - which means it was produced
Mark 1 Chassis
Chassis - Component side
Mark 2 Chassis
This is not a No. 332 but shows the Mark 2 mechanism
British Ericsson was one of many manufacturers who made the Telephone No. 332CB, black, for the GPO and this was their model N1365B, latter known as model N1365B20. It was produced in the four standard colours and is shown to the right.
The Automatic version was their model N1002 - Circuit Diagram N53649 dated 1937.
Last revised: October 25, 2023