The Old Telephone Company,  Essex, England
Established in 1986
Exclusively old telephones and parts for 25 years
I have personally restored and sold over 3000 old telephones

 Click here to go to British 300 1930's to1960's Ring back memories with Up Home Page    an old Bakelite telephone Click here to go to British Candlestick 1900's to 1930's       

For Spare Parts Click Here                            For Repairs and Conversions Click Here


Contact        How to find me

All telephones are available to buy by mail order
15 post and packing to all parts of the UK.
Smaller parts post and packing is from 3.50 to UK only
You can collect from my shop at weekends by arrangement




The 300 Series bakelite telephone


General Information

The popular 300 series bakelite telephone with its built in bell, was the standard telephone issued by the GPO from 1937 to 1959. 
It continued in production for export and private systems until the mid 1960's.

Historical Information

The self contained 332 bakelite telephone design by Ericsson of Beeston Nottinghamshire, England, was first seen in this country in 1932.
A few were made for private systems, but the breakthrough came, when the general design was adopted by the GPO in 1937 as a replacement for the 232. Production ceased for The GPO in 1959, but continued for other customers until the mid 1960's.
The GPO version incorporated the drawer in the base as used in the 232. This was potentially a problem as papers in the drawer could interfere with the bell mechanism. Towards the end of their life, the drawers were routinely removed and replaced by a blank front. 
In the fifties a mark 2 version was introduced with an improved dial, and slightly modified internals and hand set.  
As with the previous GPO telephones, a number of manufacturers made these to a common design. 

Indian 332

It is interesting to note that the Indian version by Indian Telephone Industries of Bangalore, was still made until quite recently. They are being imported into this country in large numbers and are often passed off as British 332's. Externally they look much the same, but the performance, internals and quality of construction is very inferior. I do not buy, sell, restore or maintain Indian telephones.

There is some controversy, especially among enthusiasts as to whether or not they are genuine or reproduction telephones. My view is that they are reproduction as they are made in the style of a British 332. Very few of the parts are interchangeable with those of a British 332. I also believe that it was not the intention of Indian Telephone Industries to create a telephone that would deceive the public here, but the desire to develop an inexpensive telephone for their local market. Unfortunately, they are frequently passed off as genuine British telephones on eBay and in many antique shops and antique fairs. They obviously have a value in their own right, especially some of the coloured examples which were made in colours and colour combinations unheard of from British manufacturers.
An analogy would be that a genuine Chippendale chair is just that. A copy made later could look almost identical but can only be classed as a reproduction as it can never be the real thing.

Technical Information

The 332 was the successor to the telephone type 232 and bell set 26.
Electrically it was almost identical using many of the same parts. The only difference was the addition of a 0.1 MFD capacitor in parallel with the microphone to reduce the risk of radio interference. 
The 2.0 MFD ringing capacitor was now connected to the rest of the telephone by very short leads. This meant that its other function as part of a spark quench circuit across dial pulse switch was more effective. This lengthened the life of the dial and reduced interference to nearby radio sets.
The improved case shape enabled other features such as 'Call Exchange' button to be fitted. Up to 3 buttons and switches could be installed for various models and systems.
 A more versatile screw fixing terminal block was fitted inside. 
The one piece Bakelite case was much more robust and cheaper to make than the multipart 232.
The Mark 1 continued in production almost unchanged until the 1950's when the Mark 2 was introduced. This had a roller bearing gravity switch to alleviate the sticking problems of the previous model. A more reliable type 12 trigger dial, which was less prone to stick, or gradually run slow. A type 2P receiver and matching ear cap, was fitted which had much better acoustic properties than the earlier 1L. 
Those made for private systems, and those exported to Portugal were mostly the Mark 1 type


Click here to visit the Battlesbridge Antiques centre website

Click here to see the Battlesbridge Antiques Centre web site

Credit/Debit Cards are the preferred method of payment. I no longer accept cheques.

If you wish to place an order, or have an enquiry, please read all below.

Please call me (Gavin Payne) by telephone if you wish to place an order for a telephone, spare parts, or have an enquiry.  I can usually be reached 9.00am to 5.45pm any day, including weekends. Calls in the evening are not appreciated and could make me very grumpy. The number is 01245 400601.

I am in the shop most Saturday and Sunday mornings between 10.00 and 12.00. These are the only times I am in the shop for the sale of spare parts, conversions and repairs.  Conversions and repairs can often be carried out while you wait.

If you have a telephone that you want to know more about, or have it repaired or converted, please have it right next to you when you call. Please also have a selection of small flat bladed screwdrivers to hand.
 I do not give advice for DIY repairs or conversions or valuations of any kind over the telephone or by email. Please bring the telephone to my shop for assessment, but always call me first before bringing it in.

Emails to or copy and paste into your email programme or app .

By post to The Old Telephone Company, The Old Granary, Battlesbridge Antiques Centre,
 Battlesbridge, Essex SS11 7RE.

The Old Telephone Company respects your privacy, and will not divulge any information about you to a third party.
Copyright 1996 to 2013 by The Old Telephone Company