Sam Hallas' Website
With the liberalisation of the market, all the major manufacturers brought out their own individual ranges of telephones. Many were destined for the corporate market - to connect to the manufacturer's proprietory PABX.
Standard Telephones and Cables, STC, developed this stylish design. Being somewhat less functional in appearance than its rivals I believe it found some acceptance in the domestic market. BT marketed it under the Viscount name as Telephone number 9631.
The basic design of the Viscount was applied across a range of products, including the SDX small business exchange/ key system. This is one of the digital terminals for the SDX. I tried to give this instrument away, but nobody seemed to want it, so it went in the dustbin.
GPT was formed from a merger of GEC and Plessey - prior to being acquired by Siemens. This design originated with the Plessey side of the company in about 1987 and is fairly functional and clearly intended for the corporate market. However, it formed the basis of a range of equipment. This is a middle of the range model with just a few features. All models have a microphone mute button in the handset (right).
There is a peg in the cradle rest which can be reversed to hold the handset in place when the telephone is mounted on a wall (see other picture on right). Other models included an amplified receive model up to a complete hands-free design.
The GPT design followed through into the digital terminals for the iSDX exchange. This is the feature phone iSDT300 with 16 programmable buttons and plethora of preset function buttons. The back contains two data ports: one V24 and one X25. This one met the same fate as the SDX terminal above.
Manufactured by GTE's Belgian subsidiary, ATEA and distributed in the UK by Ferranti-GTE. The basic design was also applied to a key system of the same name. It's rather heavy, but solidly built with a real bell inside. I also have one of the leather clad versions of this phone, acquired by BR for a prestige project that never materialised. It was also marketed by BT as Telephone SR 1012.
This is basically the same instrument as the Statesman, but since BT owned the rights to that design, for private and overseas markets Philips housed it in their own design of case.
Andrew Emmerson adds: "Both GEC and Plessey redesigned the Statesman case for their own industrial customers. The GEC one (right) had chequerplate-type crosshatching moulded into the case that soon got very grubby. Then GPT licensed the design to its Chinese partners, where they even made magneto versions of the Statesman!"
The Berkshire range from Ascom, formerly Autophon, has been in production for many years. Berkshires were standard instruments supplied by Mitel with their PABXs and for a time were manufactured in Cardiff, near to Mitel's UK base. Besides this basic model the range included telephones with memories, secretarial working and handsfree facilities.
Mitel supplied many hotels with their exchanges which were well suited to the application and Berkshires can been seen in many hotel bedrooms, which is how I've depicted it here (Yes the phone on the bedside table is a Berkshire).
Although the case design has not change much, I have early and late models and the circuitry inside is quite different. The Berkshire formed the basis for a range of feature telephones for the corporate market. I have some of these which were supplied as samples to BR. Here's one with BR Telecoms logo and one spotted in a local Marks & Spencer.
This model from Ericsson is typical of the type of business phone supplied for use with that company's PABXs. This one is dated as manufactured in 1985. BT Marketed it as the Astrofon, Telephone SR 1003. Someone dumped this on me at a swapmeet when I was trying to give things away, not collect more.
Siemens supplied this telephone to the corporate market. I think it's part of the Comfoset range. This one was given to the BRB as an evaluation sample. It had previously been silk screened with the legend 'University of Kent Canterbury', presumably to demonstrate customisation. BR equipped a number of sites with this model which proved very robust. It also has a jolly loud sounder.