TELEPHONE No. 221
The Telephone No. 221 looked very much like a Telephone No. 121 (or Telephone No. 101) converted to use a Telephone No. 184 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.
There was a Mark 1 and a Mark 2. It is not documented what the differences are between the two as it appears there may not have been a diagram for the Mark 2. The drawing was deleted when the telephone was superseded by the Telephone No. 333. The circuit diagram is headed Mark 1 and shows that the phone can have either a Coil, Induction No. 14 or 18A and either a Capacitor M.C. No. 30 or 102. It is thought that as the telephone originated mainly from the Telephone No. 121, which had a Mark 1 and Mark 2 models, and that the differences were reflected in the Telephone No. 221 i.e. the Coil, Induction and the Capacitor M.C.
The telephone was introduced circa 1944.
This telephone was superseded by the Telephone No. 333 in 1956.
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 Telephone No. 121 were on hand and most subscribers needing wall telephones were satisfied with a Telephone No. 121. Later on, during the war, it became more expedient to convert Telephone No. 121's to Telephone No. 221's than buy in new instruments that were by then already obsolescent (the BPO did buy in a 300-type wall telephone) - possibly due to war time shortages and a presumption to re-cycle and re-use.
The modification from Telephone No. 121 to Telephone No. 221 involved adding an induction coil (Transformer No. 35A), rearranging the wiring, stopping up mounting holes for the original transmitter and fitting a Telephone No. 184 as the handset. Examples have also been seen that were constructed new as a Telephone No. 221. The Telephone No. 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 Telephone No. 221.
The 1946 rate book advises that this telephone was available in the following variants:-
In Australia a similar version was called a Type 237AW; this used the a Telephone No. 164 handset instead of the Telephone No. 184 of the Telephone No. 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: GPO 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.
Telephone Included (1946 and
To be requisitioned
separately when required:-
Circuit Diagram No. N321.
Drawing No. 63037.
Last revised: November 06, 2020