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The Telephone on P. E. I. - Plastic and Bakelite Phones!

Member: Telephone Collector's International

Telephone Co. of P.E.I.
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Uniphone No.5, Northern Electric Northern Electric Uniphone #5 Desk Stand & N400CG Subset

This a "Uniphone" No. 5 desk stand made by Northern Electric, designed for manual service with an external magneto subset. Dating on the receiver and transmitter elements dates this phone at 1949. It is one of a series of Uniphones made by Northern Electric - a uniquely Canadian design, used by non-Bell Telephone Companies, and though particularily common here, other models of the Uniphone family were more common elsewhere in Canada. The wall version of this set was the Uniphone #6 shown below. The magneto subset paired with it is a Northern Electric N400CG. This was my first Uniphone - others added later are shown below.

When Uniphones first were introduced in 1935, they came with a 6 sided type "NF" handset. These were later redesigned and another 6 sided handset was born, the type "NU". I have recently found one of these handsets in the burled walnut colour mounted on a N717CG - it is rather spectacular. In most cases, these were later replaced by the more common "F1" handset, making the NF and NU handsets quite rare. The Uniphone was produced in a burled walnut colour in addition to the black, and in a rare beige colour, quickly withdrawn from the market, as the material tended to be unstable, warping, and bleaching in the sunlight. I have also recently seen one of these. The following table shows various styles of Uniphones produced:

Update: October 2007 - a burled walnut #1 was found in mint shape at a local yard sale and added to the collection.

No. 1* - Wide based pyramid shape phone. Desk Dial/Non Dial set as ordered. Requires no subset. (photo below right)
No. 2* - Pyramid shape phone. Wall Dial/Non Dial set as ordered. Requires no subset.(photo below right).
No. 5* -

Wide based pyramid shape stand. Desk type for manual service only. No Dial (photo above left).

No. 6* - Pyramid shape stand. Wall type for manual service only. No Dial. (photo below right)
No. 7* - Wide based pyramid shape stand. Table type for Central Battery dial service only.
No. 8* - Pyramid shape stand. Wall type for Central Battery dial service only.
* Ref.  - Northern Electric T8 Catalog, pgs. 185-187, 212-216
Note: No.'s 5 to 8 are stands only, and require the use of external subsets

Northern Electric Uniphone #1 Desk Phone

The Uniphone #1 was a self contained desk phone. All components, including the network and ringer were built into the phone. This phone internally was very similar component-wise to the 302 telephone, but featured the unique pyramidal style of the Uniphone series. The telephone normally used an F1 handset, a 195A condenser, 101A induction coil, a B1A ringer, and a 5H dial. It may also be found with #24 dials, as well as BPO dials.

This recently received phone is a Uniphone #1. It is a beautiful example of Northern Electric's Uniphone line. From internal dates on the inductor, transmitter, and receiver, it appears this phone was manufactured in 1945. When this phone was received, and as shown to the left, it contained a Phillips/AE dial, not native to this set, and no doubt installed when the phone was upgraded from the non-dial to dial version (clue: the date on the Phillips dial, 1955, ten years later) - this has been replaced with the proper NE 5H dial, completing the restoration. This results in the finger stop moving about ten degrees counter - clockwise, back to its normal postition from the location shown here.

What is the difference between a non-dial #1 and a #5? A non-dial #1still is a standalone phone containing an inductor and capacitor, as opposed to a #5 which is a stand only and which requires an external network/ringer box In place of a dial, a non-dial #1 had a dial blank..

Uniphone #1

Northern Electric Uniphone #6 Wall Stand

Uniphones were available in black, and in a grained walnut finish. Nos. 5, 6, 7, and 8 were referred to as stands, containing no network - designed for use with external subsets. Nos. 1and 2 were self contained telephone sets unlike the rest of the series.

The Uniphone No. 5's and No. 6's were widely used here in country installations before the N717CG seen on the "Wooden Wall Phones" page incorporated both the phone and subset into one smaller box.

Uniphone No. 6

New Acquisition!Northern Electric Uniphone #2 Wall Phone

A Number 2 Uniphone has recently been purchased. It is the dial stand-alone version of the #6 wall stand above, just as the #1 is the dial stand-alone version of the #5 desk stand. This phone has a built in network and is based upon the same circuitry as the #1 described above, featuring an F1 handset, a 195A condenser, 101A induction coil, a B1A ringer, and a 5H dial.

Uniphone 2

New Acquisition!Northern Electric Uniphone #1 Desk Phone with NU Handset

As mentioned above, when when Uniphones first were introduced in 1935, they came with a 6 sided type "NF" handset. These were later redesigned and another 6 sided handset was born, the type "NU". This is a recently acquired Uniphone #1 still equipped with the NU handset. Note the angularity of this handset compared to the F1's shown with the Uniphones shown above. These handsets were only used on Uniphones, and only for a short period after NE began their manufacture. This phone according to internal dating was manufactured in 1941. As years went by, most NU handsets were replaced with F1's.

Uniphone w NU

Northern Electric 302 Telephone Northern Electric 302

Northern Electric version of the popular Dreyfus designed 302 series of phones made from the 1930's till the 1950's when they were replaced by the 500 series. The Western Electric version of this phone was often dubbed the "I Love Lucy" phone due to its use in the popular comedy series. This phone dates from the approximate period as the Uniphone above, but differs in that it required no external subset box. It was an all-in-one desk phone, and was used in urban areas with dial service. This phone is internally dated 1952.

As dial service didn't appear on the Island until 1950 when Summerside first opened its dial exchange, there would have been relatively few of these used on the Island, though there were some. Charlottetown followed suit in 1953 with its first dial exchange.


Western Electric 356 Wall Phone
Western Electric 356

The WE356 is a wall version of the 302 series party line phone. The direct equivalent of the 302 is the 352. This phone differs from the 352 in only one way. It is identical in appearance, but contains a 333A tube, which was used as a "ringer isolator" on long rural party lines, which in laymen's terms reduces the effect of having many ringers installed on one long line.

In comparison to the 500 series wall phone, the 554 shown below, you will note this phone is more angular as opposed to the rounded features of the 554 (shown below), features a metal dial, an F1 handset, and is slightly smaller than the later phone. This phone contains the same circuitry as the 352 phone. This particular phone was built in 1953, this date taken from the phone itself, the transmitter, and the receiver, all dates closely matching.

As dial service didn't appear on the Island until 1950 when Summerside first opened its dial exchange, there would have been relatively few of these used on the Island, though there would have been some. Charlottetown followed suit in 1953 with its first dial exchange.

Western Electric 5302 Telephone Western Electric 5302

Just purchased, and looking much like the 500 set below, this was a transitional phone - a hybrid between a 302 and a 500 set. Being thrifty, and to use up existing inventory of 302 parts and bases as well as those 302's coming in for refurbishing, Western Electric designed a case similar to the new 500 case which would fit the 302 body, reusing the base, dial and handset of 302's in inventory. The Bell system was slow to adopt the newer 500 set, partially due to its higher cost, hence a market for the hybrid phone lasting up till about 1959. The modified cases were, by necessity, slightly shorter front to back than the new 500 cases, in order to fit the footprint of the 302 base. They had a number ring which surrounded the 302 dial, and the existing 302 dial centers were replaced with a blank 164C-3 dial center. This center was black, with white dots where the numbers originally would have been. The dots mate up with the numbers on the case surrounding the dial. These were issued in limited quantities till existing stocks of 302 parts were used up. This phone is internally dated 1951. Photo taken shortly after arrival and clean-up.

Northern Electric 500 cd Telephone Northern Electric 500

Northern Electric 500 phone, the next generation following the 302 phone. This is an early one, a 500 c/d date stamped 1954. Note it's metal dial. These were gradually replaced by versions of the 500 set with a plastic dial. This phone was bought at a fleamarket in 2000, and this version has become quite hard to find locally, although later 500 sets with plastic dials are still plentiful. There is a distinct difference in the sound of the metal dial when compared to sound produced by the plastic versions. This dial is more positive and displays a sharp click when it reached the end of its travel, compared to the mushy dial sound of later models. Several versions of later 500 sets and 554 (wall dial) sets are shown below. For the first 25 years of dial service on the Island versions of the 500 set (desk and wall) remained the most common dial set in use.

Beyond the 50's!

Newer Telephones Princess Phone
Recent Addition, an early 701 "Princess" phone designed by Henry Dreyfus. These early models had no internal ringer, and were popular as children's phones. A weight was used inside the phone to prevent its tendency to fall off the table. Later versions contained an internal ringer, giving it mass and eliminating the need for additional weight.

Bringing us closer to the present, these are some of the plastic cased telephones used in the latter part of the 1900's:

These are only a few of the many more recent phones in the collection, which include many more Northern Electric 500's (desk dial) and Northern Electric 554's (wall dial) in varying colours, Northern Electric 2500's (desk tt), and Northern Electric 2554's (wall tt), "Contempra" 's (dial), a number of "Harmony"'s, an early "Princess" phone, a Northern Telecom "Vista 200" and a recently added "Vista 100", Northern Telecom "Solo"'s (NT-0C23AA-03), and a Northern Telecom "Design Line" Mediterranean phone (QSK-403A, c.a. 1977), 2 line Northern Telecom "Symphony 5000" Desk Phone, an Northern Telecom "Dawn" phone, an Northern Telecom "Doodle" phone, etc. and a number of business multi-line key sets of various types, 564's, 565's, 2565, Logic 10's, and two interesting 554's (normal 500 series wall phone) mounted on a backboard, with a 6041QAA key unit mounted underneath, and wired so that they will function as multi-line units.. Obviously, these are not all in use, but all are fully operational.

While I don't intend to show all of these more recent phones due to space limitations,, and sheer numbers, some of the more interesting will be shown below..

8000 Series Phones
Signature Phones

New Phone!Northern Telecom 8000 Series

L-R: Northern Telecom NT 8000, NT 8003, and Aastra 8004 telephones. Aastra took over manufacturing this series after NT/Nortel.

New Phone!Northern Telecom Signature Phones

These are Northern Telecom Signature series phones. Left is a version made for hotel use with a data jack on the back and short directory cover, right standard Signature phone.

Vista Phones
Unity Phones

New Phone!Northern Telecom Vista Phones

Two of the Vista Telephone series. Left, Vista 10,
Right Vista 200.

New Phone!Northern Telecom Unity Phones

L-R: Unity 1, basic phone; Unity 2, basic phone
with link and release buttons.

Symphony5000 2-line
Nomad 6500 Cordless

Northern Telecom Symphony 5000

NTD9564 - Two line phone manufactured in 1990 by Northern Telecom. This phone was found in a yard sale in 2004 for the grand total of $2. Each line has its own distinctive ring. The phone has buttons to call up each line, and conference and hold facilities. I am posting it here, as it is the only 2 line phone I have in the collection. I do have a number of 5 line business phones.

Northern Telecom Nomad 6500

NT2N38AA22 - A cordless Northern Telecom phone. Includes caller ID on handset, multiple memories, flash, hold, intercom - all the niceties one would want in a cordless phone. This was found in a 2004 yard sale for $4.00. This phone is now being marketed as the Maestro 4525 by Aastra.

Nortel DisplayPhone
New Phone!Nortel DisplayPhone

This is a Nortel DisplayPhone, plaything of the executive who had everything in the 1980's. The DisplayPhone was a 2 line telephone combined with a dedicated 9600 baud VT100 terminal. The keyboard stores under the front of the case.

SL1 Digital Set, 20 Button Add-on, and Speakerphone Add-on
New Phone!SL-1 Digital Office Phone

This is a Northern Telecom SL-1 QSU61 Digital set with QMT2D 20 Button Add-on and Companion III Speakerphone Add-on.

SL-1 had the following features: Autodial, Automatic preselection, Call status, Headset connection, Call forwarding, Executive override, Call transfer , Hold, Speed calling, On-hook dialing, Call waiting, LED indicators, Tone ringing, Call pickup, Common audible signalling, Loudspeaker/Amplifier, Ring again, Voice calling, Hands free operation, Manual signalling, Multiple appearance directory, 3 or 6 party conference number; multiple cal , non-locking keys arrangements, Single appearance directory, Prime directory number, Station set expansion, Privacy, and Privacy release.

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Last Updated: 6/28/2005 12:00:30 PM
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