200 Type Telephone

Tele 232

Although always known as the 200 type telephone, this phone, the Tele 232 was actually originally produced as the Tele 162. The 162 differed in that it used either the older bell set of the candlestick, or the functionally similar Bell Set 25 complete with Induction Coil No 18. Tele 162s did not have the induction coil inside, but did have a separate ASTIC (anti-sidetone) coil (Transformer 35A). With the 232, both coils were internalised as a 3 coil inductor, which became the standard format for many years.

Here is a Tele 162 mounted on a Bellset 25, with a black ATM dial.

Tele 162 on BS25

The arrangement of the Bellset and coils was not the only difference between the 162 and the 232. Generally speaking, the 162 of 1929 had a plain base, while the 232, introduced in 1934, had the drawer for a dialling code card. Also, the design of the handset forks changed, as shown below. The 232s had a wider design of forks, which allowed the phone to be picked up.

162 forks232 forks

It is hard today to realise how modern this phone was when introduced in 1929. Although bakelite had been used for the mouthpieces on later candlestick phones, the extensive use of moulded bakelite and the design of the one piece handset were then quite striking. The design was originally produced by Siemens Brothers but most of the UK manufacturers also supplied it. Siemens Brothers had their own proprietary version (slightly different from the GPO 232) called the Neophone, while GEC produced the one-piece Gecophone.

The Post Office 232 was always produced with a separate bellset and the body was built in two parts, with screw-on handset forks. However, a one-piece phone could be produced by fixing the phone body directly onto the Bellset 26, as here with this red version.

Red 232

These coloured 232s were produced, in Ivory, Jade Green and Chinese Red, and used urea formaldehyde plastic, rather than bakelite. There were also painted models in 'Old Gold' and 'Oxidised Silver'. Early models were also produced in bakelite coloured mottled brown and these are highly sought after. However, I believe that post-war coloured 232s used a more modern form of plastic.

Manual 232

Many 232s, like this ivory example, were produced for use on manual exchanges. A dial blank was used, but could be later converted for dial use.

Dial 232

This 232 is unusual in having the Dial No 10 (slipping cam type) but with a plastic dial ring and the metal parts finished in a gold colour, rather than the normal chrome dial.

Plastic dial

Below is another ivory 232, produced post war.

Ivory 232

Here is a green model.

Green 232

Here is another 200 type phone, but with rather different forks.

200 type with tropical forks

Close up of the forks.

The explanation is that these larger forks cover a rather different body top.

Tropical vents

These holes are vents for use in tropical environments. The forks cover these vents to stop insects getting inside. Some other phones use grilles across such vents.

The 232 was still being produced as late as 1956, since the PO never considered that the 300 type, with internal bell, was a complete replacement.

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