RTT 56A “Poste National”


This is the RTT 56 A. The A stands for ATEA. There was also an RTT 56 B version, where B stands for BTMC (Bell Telephone Manufacturing Company). The number 56 stands for 1956, the year in which this model was introduced.

The Belgian state telephone company, RTT (Regie der Telegraaf en Telefoon/Regie de Telegraphe et Telephone) asked her 2 suppliers, ATEA and BTMC, to come up with a standard telephone together. This design was based on a prewar design by ATEA, the type 50/51 ATEAPHONE. This ATEAPHONE had an all metal housing and bakelite handset. With some adaptations, such as the addition of the carrying handle, this became the RTT 56.

Both producers used their own model dial and there were a few other minor differences.

RTT 56 A onderOn the outside there is no makers mark. Only the designation RTT 56 A or RTT 56 B on the underside or the A or B on components on the inside reveal who made the phone.


RTT Logo
RTT Logo

At the front there is a small shield with the letters RTT. Sometimes there is a lion on it, which is also a logo used by RTT. The lion is the older RTT logo. As it was not very well known with the general public, another logo was introduced that did show the lettering RTT clearly.

Versions (original)

RTT 56 catalogus pagina
RTT 56 catalogus pagina

These telephones come with and without a small white earthing button. Besides the black version, there is also a white version. Some are painted white after they left the RTT inventory. These have the RTT logo in black, instead of the white as with the original white ones.

Life after RTT

After RTT phased them out, many were sold on to 3rd parties. Many have received some sort of make over. Usually this entails that the original black paint was removed and the body shell got a copper treatment.

Many have been resprayed in a different color. So you may find not just a white one, but also red, green and blue versions. These are not their original colours.

RTT 56 B decal
RTT 56 B decal

On the sides of the telephone you can often find an elaborate decal, with nice swirls and the text Bell Telephone Mfg Company. See my RTT 56 B. These decals are not original and applied after their the telephone left the RTT.

Mixed results

RTT 56 CopperVersions that made for private installations have undergone the same fate. They were disassembled together with RTT examples and reassembled randomly. This leads to a lot of refurbisched mixed up telephones today.

An original RTT example is hard to find.

RTT chose not to destroy their surplus materiel. Because of this you can find the RTT 56 often, all over the world, in all sorts of variants.

Here is an article on restoring an RTT 56.


  1. Beste,

    Ik heb een ATEA serie 30 (staat op plaatje) uit koper hier staan. het chromen hoornplaatje heeft een drukknop, waarop de hoorn rust. Het chromen plaatje vermeld “The New Antwerp Telephone and Electrical Works” De draahendel zit aan de rechterkant en de hoorn is van bakeliet. Ik kan dit model wel vinden in zwart bij: https://www.labodegaantiques.com/en/vintage-telephone-atea-rotary-dial-hand-crank-bakelite-handle
    Het bovengedeelte is koper en de basis is van geel messing. De draaischijf en de hoornhouder zijn zwart in staal en gietijzer. Gezien zijn toestand lijkt er niets gemodificeerd te zijn en is deze tot het laatst nog gebruikt.

    Over welke telefoon praat ik?

    • Hallo Richard,

      Bedankt voor je bericht. Het betreft hier een variant van de ATEA type 40. WS heeft ie de type aanduiding, 41, 42, 43 of iets dergelijks. ATEA heeft vroeger ook wel series 30 en series 28 op haar verschillende modellen gezet, als een soort benaming voor de hele design lijn van een bepaald jaar.
      Later zijn ze wat consequenter type aanduidingen gaan gebruiken en dan voor iedere toestel een bepaald tiental en voor jouw toestel dus 40.
      Daarvoor hadden in de catalogus een modelnummer dat bestond uit een a en vier cijfers, maar ik weet niet welke bij jouw toestel hoorde.
      Gezien het feit dat er series 30 op stand betekent overigens dat het een vroege versie is, van rond 1930.
      Groeten, Arwin

    • Hi Mykola, no problem.
      But I’m really not sure. Prices vary from country to country. Also the method of selling (fleamarket or etsy website) influences the price. And of the condition it is in is very imported.

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