Automatic candlestick phone. It was introduced in 1922, fitted with the Solid Back transmitter as shown. It was similar in construction to the Type 36, but a raised mounting at the front held a dial. With the bakelite inset transmitter, it was reclassified as the 138AT.
The British-based auto candlesticks differ from their U.S. equivalents in the location of the pillar. On U.S.phones it was mostly displaced to the rear to make room for the dial . On British-origin phones, the dial was simply added on to the front of the base. The style was similar in construction to the Type 36, but a raised mounting at the front held the dial. With the later bakelite housing and Siemens inset transmitter, it was reclassified as the 138AT. As usual it was associated with a wooden bellbox that held the coil and bells, connected to the candlestick by a 3-conductor cord.
It was installed in larger numbers after the first World War, fitted with the No. 10 dial with the small centre. It was not terribly popular with many customers due to its weight and the clumsiness of the two-piece receiver and transmitter. People had become used to Ericsson handsets, and the two-piece arrangement was regarded by many as a step backwards. In the mid-1920s the PMG offered a reduction in rental to encourage subscribers to accept the candlestick. When bakelite phones with a handset were introduced in the mid-1930s, this discount had to be continued to keep the large stocks of candlesticks in service. In some cases it was not described as a discount for a candlestick, but as a premium price for a handset phone. The phones were still being recovered in large numbers into the 1950s.
If the receiver was left off-hook, the telephone exchange staff could connect a "howler" across the line to signal the subscriber to hang up the phone. A notch was moulded into the earpiece to allow the howler sound to escape if the receiver was placed on a desktop with the earpiece down.
The Type 38 was made by a number of British manufacturers and there is little to distinguish between their models. They are known from British Ericsson, Peel Conner, GEC and Siemens. As for the 36MT candlestick, different makers used bases with a variety of contours. Although the standard finish was a black baked enamel, some were introduced with nickel-plated highlights (such as the switchhook and the cap at the top of the pillar). They were never finished in brass or all-nickel - this is due to later renovations and lowers the value of the phone. A black gunmetal lacquer finish is occasionally seen on some phones.
This Automatic Electric candlestick (at left) was bought in from the US for Australia's first automatic exchange at Geelong. Although only brought in in small numbers, survivors would be included in the Type 38 group. It is identical to its U.S. equivalent.
It was also produced in a CB version with the dial mounting blanked off. These illustrations show the earlier wooden bell box , on the CB model, and the later steel cased model at top.
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