TELEPHONE No. 221
The Telephone No. 221 looked very much like a Telephone No. 121 (or Telephone No. 101) converted to use a 184-type handset - and that is largely what it was. More correctly the Telephone No. 221 was a modification of a Telephone No. 121 given that the transmitter and receiver were combined into one unit and an anti-sidetone transformer was added to stop 'howling'. In addition the wooden case was painted black, presumably to match the look and feel of other 200-type telephones (black paint would also have been an easier finish to apply). A cast hanger for the handset replaced the original fitting for a bell receiver.
No item of beauty and unloved by collectors, these telephones were never plentiful and are hard to find today.
The question is often asked why the Post Office did not purchase the Bakelite 200-type wall telephones made by Siemens Brothers and ATE. One can only presume that adequate stocks of the Tele. 121 were on hand and most subscribers needing wall telephones were satisfied with a Tele. 121. Later on, during the war, it became more expedient to convert 121's to 221's than buy in new instruments that were by then already obsolescent (the BPO did buy in a 300-type wall telephone).
The modification from Tele. 121 to 221 involved adding an induction coil (Transformer No. 35A), rearranging the wiring and also stopping up mounting holes for the original transmitter. Examples have also been seen that were constructed new as a Tele. 221. The Tele. 251 is a local battery version (also used on long CB and auto lines, with an optional dial) and is even less common than the 221.
In Australia a similar version was called a Type 237AW; this used the a No.164 handset instead of the No. 184 of the Tele. 221). Examples seen were made in the PMG Workshops from recovered bell boxes and the dials were mounted in the centre of the box. An Engineering Instruction, dated 1942, confirms that the 237AW was made from converted bell boxes, indicating they were a wartime expedient but it is possible that they were being made earlier in the 1930's when new equipment purchases were limited by the Depression.
Manufactured by: Post Office Factories Division (in all likelihood). Telephones with a similar handset hook, but with polished wooden cases and for local battery operation, were supplied for railway use by Ericsson Telephones Ltd.
Users: Seen only inside telephone exchanges but may have been supplied to private subscribers as well.
Circuit diagram N321.
Drawing No. 63037
Introduced circa 1944 and superseded by Telephone No. 333
Last revised: July 22, 2017