Made in Liverpool by ATM, the design of the Strowgerphone was based on the equivalent design of ATMs US partner, Automatic Electric Company of Chicago. The only major difference in the British phone was the BPO type 164 handset.
The Strowgerphone was an attempt by ATM to design a modern-looking phone that owed nothing in design to other patterns. It was made in both table and wall versions.
The Automatic Electric (AE) Monophone was released in the US in 1925. It is believed that both the AE 1 and the AE 2 were sold in the UK (and elsewhere) by ATM. The Monophones supplied in the UK used the US Monophone handset that had nickel bands around both the transmitter and the receiver and was the ATM catalogue number T4087.
In 1928 AE in the US released
the AE 1-A. It was very similar to the AE 1 but the cradle was lower.
All of these phones used a single plunger in the centre of the cradle to actuate
the hook switch. There is no evidence that the AE 1-A was sold by ATM, but
the Irish P&T used both the AE 1 and AE 2 for the opening of the first two
automatic telephone exchanges in
There were three versions of the plunger; a brass nickel plated plunger, a Bakelite plunger of the same shape and a three section telescoping plunger. The plunger developments were an effort by AE to have the hook switch operate even if Madam got the handset cord caught between the cradle and the handset. This was an AE paranoia that eventually lead to the shape of the 706 cradle via the AE 80 cradle.
From 1933 ATM of Liverpool (UK) produced the Strowgerphone, based on the AE 1-A Monophone. The Strowgerphone is pictured to the right. The Strowgerphone was similar in outward appearance to the AE 1-A but the body was slightly higher so that a transformer could be fitted inside and the UK type handset was used. Virtually all telephones supplied to non-BPO customers used ATEs own No. 24C dial (designed in Chicago by Automatic Electric) in preference to the BPO No. 10, presumably to avoid paying royalties. This applies also to the Monophone and their own Telephone 332.
This ATM Strowgerphone was electrically identical to a GPO Telephone No. 162 and worked with a Bellset No. 1 as an AST telephone. A Hull Corporation variant can be seen pictures to the right.
The Belgium company Antwerp Telephone And Electric Works (ATEA) made several Strowgerphones of their own that were patterned after, but not the same as AE telephones. These were metal wall and desk telephones and they made their way back to ATM. The ATM Strowgerphone was also made by ATEP and the Italian AE (called AUTELCO). This phone also appeared in Australia with its own Australian cradle plate.
There are two version of the Strowgerphone; one (probably the first) uses the single central plunger (and brass plate) like the AE 1A and another that used a full width Bakelite rest. Both phones were made concurrently for some time but it is thought that production of the single plunger version was first to cease. Both versions were used in Australia in PAX and railway service.
To sum up - the Strowgerphone is the European Monophone and of the Strowgerphones, the Bakelite version is produced by ATM and the metal versions (with their rather odd handsets) are from ATEA.
Strowgerphones are not to be found in the ATM catalogue of 1951.
Colours: Black, possibly others.
Users: The Strowgerphone saw use on private (PAX, not PABX) systems installed by Communication Systems Ltd (an ATM subsidiary) and was adopted for public use by Hull Corporation Telephone Department, the Irish P&T (found in the Irish rate book of 1934 and described as the Chicago Type handset with the metal bands around the receiver and transmitter) and the Anglo-Portuguese Telephone Company on their networks in Lisbon and Oporto.
Note: The same phone was made and used in Italy, with the American pattern of handset and carrying a nameplate saying (on the left) AUTELCO Milano and (on the right) SATAP Roma.
Some more pictures
Last revised: October 04, 2012