In 1979 the Ericofon came to Holland too. By the end of the 70’s PTT wanted, because of customer demands and the spirit of the times, to expand their range of telephones.
It was a major step for PTT to no longer have just one standard telephone in their inventory. Untill the Unifoon and Diavox were available the Ericofon was the only phone besides the good old T65.
The Ericofon was chosen because it could be made available relatively quickly, because the design differed greatly from the T65 and because PTT marketing was aimed at the extre bedroom telephone. And that was exactly what the Ericofon was designed for.
The Ericofon was never very popular in the Netherlands. Sales were slow and PTT overestimated the number they would need. In their commemorative book “Honderd jaar telefoon 1881-1981” the Ericofon was not mentioned in a very positive manner: it was called cumbersome and oldfashioned. PTT Ericofons were produced until 1981, but it was not until 1985 that the last of their stock was sold.
On Alfred Klomp’s website there is a very informative section on the backgrounds of the Erifoon (in Dutch only, I’m afraid): http://www.alfredklomp.com/technology/telephones/ericofoon/
PTT decided to give the Ericofon a more Dutch sounding name and here in Holland it was hence called the Ericofoon. It was also called Cobra and Ericafoon, but these names were never officially used by PTT.
Cobra was the name originally used by Ericsson for this telephone. They changed it to Ericofon before the first production phones were manufactured.
The development of the Ericofon started in the 1930’s when the idea of a one piece telephone was very hot. Siemens & Halske developed their Modell 29 Hockender Hund; a one piece telephone, but with a separate ringer unit.
Ericsson too started development of a one piece telephone. This eventually resulted in the Ericofon which went in production in the 1950’s.
The Dutch Ericofoon
PTT ordered the Ericofoon in 3 colors: white, red and brown. The shades used were typical and unique for PTT. They were the exact same shade as used on the T65 de Luxe. Especially the PTT red is a somewhat deeper shade of red compared to other Ericofons and because of that valued by collectors all over the world.
Unique for the Dutch Ericofon are the black cords, the black dial and dial face and the different electronics inside.
On later versions the letters PTT are printed in white on the dial face.
Problems to look out for
If you want to get yourself an Ericofon, there are a number of things to look out for. Below I have listed the most common problem areas and weak points of the Ericofoon. Rubber gasket Around the base of the shell there is a rubber gasket. With the passing of time these dry out and falls apart. Luckily they are easily replaces and a replacement can be bought at www.ericofon.com
Especially the white verion is prone to discoloration, but it happens with other colors too: yellowing under the influence of UV light. Sometimes the discoloration is not even across the phone. Of course the phone does not become any prettier when this has happened.
Loose speaker (receiver)
In the top of the shell is the speaker (transmitter). Sometimes these come loose. So check that the Ericofon does not rattle. This problem is very hard to remedy.
Cracking corners Cracks may appear on the corners of the lower part of the shell.
Cracks in the dial face
When the mounting screws of the face plate are too tight, the face plate may crack.
Is the cord original?
Often worn cords are replaced with non original cords. The original cord has a straight part and a curled part. The curled part should be at the end where the plug is. The PTT Ericofoon should have a black cord. Others usually have an ivory cord.
Other sources A lot is already written about the history and development of the Ericofon and I do not have much to add to that, besides what I have written here. Here are some web sites with good information on the Ericofon.
Ericsson History http://www.ericssonhistory.com/products/the-telephones/ First there is of course Ericsson’s site itself. Thjere is a lot of information on the development and history of the the Ericofon and who was behind this.
Richard Rose http://www.ericofon.com
Almost everything about the Ericofon can be found on this site: colors, different variants, models, insides, etc, etc. The standard work on the Ericofon.
Ericofon.nl www.ericofon.nl By Dutch blogger Paul, personal stories about his Ericofon collection.