Australian Post Office
Telephone No. 332

Telephone, Automatic and CB, Table

This telephone, introduced into Australia in 1939, were manufactured in the U.K. by the Telephone Manufacturing Company, GEC and Ericsson Telephones Ltd.  It was largely developed by Ericsson Telephones Ltd in Britain and called the Telephone No. 332 by the BPO.  It reduced the number of mouldings from 10 to 5, giving greater production efficiency. The redesign also did away with the fragile cradle of the 162 and 232, and its somewhat unreliable switch contacts. The new phone was fitted with Ericsson handset cords, which had been found to be resistant to tangling in use. The cords were colour co-ordinated to the later coloured models.  All external metal parts were chromed.  A magneto model was not intended, but could be made up by adding an external magneto generator in a separate box.  The phone was made in phenol formaldehyde, a compound generically called Bakelite.  It was ideal for thermosetting moulding, was durable and of good insulating qualities and was designed to fix some of the inadequacies of the 162.  The coloured models were made in Imperial Chemical Industries' methylmethacrylate, tradenamed Diakon.

Large quantities of these (black) telephones were imported to cope with the ever increasing demand for these telephones in Australia.  A sliding drawer in the base provided for note paper which allowed frequently called numbers to be recorded.  Because of sticking drawers and subsequent breakages, later orders placed by the APO PMG with the U.K. manufacturers requested that the drawers not be fitted, and hence dummy plates were substituted in their place.  Limited purchases of red, green and ivory telephones were made by the PMG Department prior to World War 2, but no purchases of the red and green phones were made after the war, as the fading problem encountered with earlier coloured telephones remained unsolved.

With some experience with the phone, the APO was able to suggest a number of redesigns and modifications.  The bell gongs were provided in different thicknesses of steel to give a slightly different and more pleasing tone (parts 2 and 2A).  A small Alnico generator used by the APO was reworked to make it easier to turn, and fitted into the front of the case to make a magneto phone, the 333/4.  The 164 handset was replaced by the updated 184 model, with the BPO No. 13 Inset Transmitter.  The note drawer was done away with because of problems with it sticking and breaking, and a blank plate substituted. Initially a wall model was not provided for by British Ericsson, but this was added to the range as the phone proved its worth. Except for the dial and cords, the entire phone could be produced in Australia.  This was a good move as World War 2 had started and supplies of imported phones would become erratic.  At this point the phone was produced in black only.  Some green and red phones had been imported before the start of the War, but these purchases were suspended and not resumed, as experience showed that the coloured models still suffered from fading.  Some of the initial production was fitted with black-finished dials, but the chromed "StayBrite" dial was soon substituted.

Telephones No's 332CBTH and 332ATH were the original models.  The 333MTH was rare in Australia, but following the modifications suggested by the APO and development of the smaller internal generator, it was produced as the 334MTH.

This telephone was supplied as Automatic (332AT) or C.B. (332CBT).

The Ericsson supplied 332AT was their model N1002K.
The Ericsson supplied 332CBT was their model N1365K.

Australian Drawing C1350 Schedule C.

Click here for Telephone 332AT and CBT Circuit Diagram

Click here for the BPO Type 332

Taken from Bob's Old Phones

Additional information on the 332

A.P.O. 332AP made by Ericsson - model No. N1002K25

Telephone 332 with control lock

Jade green variant


GEC model shown below
Thanks to Kevin Powell for the photographs below

332AT produced by GEC
Note the screw fixing for the handle and the backstop lug
Base plate showing the year - 1954 and the manufacturer C- GEC


British Ericsson Model

Front view Side view
Side view showing flat style handle Side view showing handle against back stop

Markings found on the base.

E = British Ericsson

55 = 1955



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Last revised July 24, 2021