Australian Post Office
Telephone No. 162
(Originally known as Telephone No. 566A and CB)

Telephone, Automatic, table

The Telephone No. 162 Bakelite telephone was initially imported from England from c.1932 and were manufactured originally by Siemens (London). 

With the introduction of commercial Bakelite moulding, it became possible to do away with the more expensive metal cased and wooden phones.  In 1929 Siemens in Britain introduced a new style of phone in which the whole case, cradle and handset were moulded from Bakelite.  The new phone was called the Neophone and the British Post Office adopted a modified version of it as a standard model. In 1933 it was introduced in Australia as the Tele 162, after two years testing.  It became the standard desk phone.

It had no bell or coil, so it was associated with a separate ringer box that held these parts.  Since this was the same box that was used for candlestick phones, it made the 162 the logical replacement for these as they wore out.  A bolt-on bellset was designed later to be attached under the phone by a short external cable that was subject to damage.  Another problem was that the cradle was quite vulnerable to breakage.  An extra rental was charged for the new handset phones.  This was only discontinued in 1950. For a magneto version, a separate generator box was added as for the Type 36.

The 162 could also be wall mounted on a simple bracket.  The phone was available in black, red, green , ivory, and a mottled brown "walnut" finish that is rare and was not issued in Australia.  All but the black proved prone to fading in Australia.  An optional note tray was fitted into the base of some models.  Extra rent was charged for the note tray and optional colours.  Some British phones could also be ordered in a custom painted finish.  One uncommon model is known, cast in aluminium and painted black.

The use of a separate ringer box was acceptable when upgrading an existing installation, but the extra labour cost was a concern for new installations. A matching Bakelite ringer was designed that mounted under the phone, and made the 162 a completely self-contained unit. It connected to the phone by an external cable at the rear. It could be detached to make the phone portable if needed. This was numbered Type 556.

In Australia, the phones were made by Standard Telephones & Cables (STC), Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA), and some probably by the Telephone Manufacturing Company (TMC) using imported parts.

Taken from Bob's Old Phones


Telephone 162 Red - AWA
This is a picture of an AWA red 162 on a GPO bell-set.  All parts are marked AWA other than the bell-set (which is a Siemens GPO type), but these match perfectly as they are in the D-type late 1930's early acrylic material - It may be assumed that AWA used Siemens to supply the bell-set for this and that they were issued together.


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Last revised July 24, 2021