In 1928 ATEA introduced their own box telephone. As with so many manufacturers this telephone was basically a closed metal box, containing all the electronic components. It was an autonomous, fully integrated telephone, which means it functions fully without any peripheral equipment such as a ringer or a subset.
The design was somewhat unusual. It was not a straight up and down box, but had a sloping front panel, on which the dial was mounted, making it easy to operate the dial, reminiscent of the Siemens and Halske housings from the 1910s. The sides are also placed under an angle, so this telephone hardly has any straingth angles at all.
During the period that this phone was introduced it clear and simple names or designations for telephones like Ericofoon, Genie or T65 were not commonplace. ATEA used a simple 4 digit number as a product code, often in combination with a letter. The letter indicated what sort of version it was, for example if it had an earthing button. From an ex ATEA employee I got a scan of this catalogue page from 1928 on this telephone. Unfortunately my specific version is not on it, so I still do not know its precise model number.
Al in all, although product numbers vary, it is still the same model telephone.
Ateaphone is a name ATEA ofthen used for their telephones, often followed by 2 number, like Ateaphone 50. That, with the year of introduction, is apparently the most fitting way to name this telephone. Although I must admit that there was another model, probably introduced it that same year by ATEA. As with other telephones, naming it is sometimes a difficult matter.
In 1928 that typical ATEA bakelite handset was introduced. This typical design is often the distinguishing feature by which a telephone can be indentified as an ATEA product.
This handset has been used in various versions on all ATEA telephones upto the 1960s. Typical for these early versions is the receiver cap, which has a little spout. Later versions have a ring of sounding holes around the transmitter cap.
Besides that typical handset that was first used on this telephone, er are a number of other unusual features on this telephone. ATEA was owned by Automatic Electric during this period, a US company. Because of that a lot of AE technology was used, like the design of the dial mechanism. This dial, together with the handset, was used on ATEA telephones for decades. Also the electronics are based on AE technology.
Early versions had a pin that actuated the hookswitch, with a very nicely decorated cover. This design is a direct copy from the AE Monophones. Later versions have a kind of horizontal bar that actuates the hookswitch.
Inside the electrical components are mounted on a panel, that rests on the base plate of the housing. The components are on top, while the wiring runs underneath. This way the wiring is neatly covered, giving the inside a very clean look.
The panel hinges up, giving access to the underside.
The closing mechanism of the housing is a disc which rotates around an excentric pin. This pushes against a small bracket, locking the housing shut.
The Ateaphone 1928 today
This model is somewhat rarish. Many have been coppperised, to give it an antique look and feel. The black paint is stripped off and the pressed steel is copperplated. A nice specimen with its original black paint is fairly rare. This model was used in the Netherlands probably only on private installations. PTT never had this model in their inventory. In Belgium this model was of course much more abundant.
In my collection….
The one I have is from Belgium. It is totally original, accept for the line cord and one bolt. It is a later version from 1934 ? with the later model cradle assembly. I hope to find an earlier version on of the these days.