Decotel model 4102 Stars & Stripes

Decotel model 4102 Stars & Stripes
Decotel model 4102 Stars & Stripes
Decotel 4102 Star & Stripes zijkant
Decotel 4102 Star & Stripes zijkant

A rather over the top model that most collectors know about and many of them have one. It has been in production for quite a while and marketed under a few brands and names. It was in production since at least the early 1970s until well into the 1980s.
It is a reproduction of a generic candlestick telephone from the early 20th century and not a copy of a specific model. It was available in black, white, red, maple leaf design and stars & stripes and in the livery of several sports teams. The last 3 making it more of a novelty phone than repro.

Characteristics

Decotel 4102 Star & Stripes spreekdeel
Decotel 4102 Star & Stripes spreekdeel

It is a classic candlestick model with the microphone/transmitter on top of the shaft, in a movable cup with a trumpet shaped mouth piece.
The receiver is of the butter stamp type, but with a modern element of course. It was made with a rotary dial only. Some of them have a Western Electric mechanism, others an Automatic Electric dial design.
Mine has a small ringer mechanism with only a single gong.
It also has a modern plastic curly cord instead of a cloth covered straight cord the original candlesticks used to have.

Brand, Name and model

Decotel 4102 Star & Stripes onderzijde
Decotel 4102 Star & Stripes onderzijde

This telephone was made under various brands such as Western Electric for Bell and AT&T, Northern Telecom in Canada, but also under the name Decotel like the one I have. WE versions were simply named Candlestick with the specific design of my specimen called “Stars & Stripes”.
The Decotel versions just had model number 4102 follow by a letter indicating the colour and design. Since the label is missing from my telephone I do not know the letter for the stars and stripes design. I have asked around, but nobody was able to tell me what the letter for my version was.

In my collection

Decotel 4102 Star & Stripes achter
Decotel 4102 Star & Stripes achter

It’s not red, it is not a Dutch phone, I do not like candlestick phones, I do not like novelty phones, I do not like repro phones or fake antiques. So why on earth did I buy this?
Well, I needed a telephone for picture for an article I was writing that would scream “USA!”at you, that was funny and was odd at the same time.
I considered a hamburger-telephone of the clam shell design, but that looks like a hamburger and not a phone when closed and looks like a telephone and not a hamburger when opened.
I also considered a Mickey Mouse telephone, but those can be quite expensive.

And then this appeared. The seller lived 2 streets away from me and I could get it for a friendly price. He got it years ago, when he worked for NSEM, the Nederlandse Standard Electric Maatschappij. A co-worker brought it over from the USA when I was on a business trip.

Somebody adapted it for use in the Netherlands by putting a grey T65 cord on it with a PTT plug.
Apart from a bit of yellowing it is in good condition and still works.
Now that I have made photographs of it, I no longer need it. So perhaps it will find its way to a better home. Or perhaps not and it stays with me for a very long time. And maybe it will grow on me and I will start to like it very much. Or not. 