Handsets I have known - Handset No 16

Handset No 16

Handset No 16 (Fig 1) made its first appearance in 1977 with the Compact Telephone, Telephone No 776. It became the standard handset for later models of phone - the Ambassador with its spin-off keysets and the Stateman with the Herald range of keysets.

With transmitter No 16 Fixing screw

The handset is held together by the single screw at the earpiece end (Fig 2 left) and two pegs at the cord end. The mouldings snap together along all edges. By applying a little leverage at the cord end the two sections can be pulled apart.

It was originally made to hold a transmitter No 16 and Receiver inset No 4T. The inside would look like Fig 3 (right). The insets are held in place by polythene clips but no other internal parts are needed.


with dynamic insets with dynamic insets

With the change to a dynamic transmitter and an electronic transmission circuit, the insets were changed (Fig 4 left) and the transmitter needed a polythene fascia and ring to fit the space (Fig 5 right).

The transmitter face is identical in appearance to the receiver 4T used in the Handset No 3. However its back is different. (Fig 6 left) The receiver looks quite different from the 4T. (Fig 7 right)

Transmitter Receiver

Grommet grip Releasing the transmitter clip

The clip that holds the transmitter cunningly doubles as a grip for the cord grommet. (Fig 8)

The polythene clips snap into place on the ridges in the handset shell. To release them you need to lift the inner end up by levering gently and then push the clip toward the centre of the handle. (Fig 9)

Grommet grip

With the insets removed the simplicity of the construction can be appreciated. A delightful piece of industrial design. Fig 10 shows the handset from a Stateman telephone with its cord and push-on connector.

Handset No 16 had a number of variants: neon lamp to give visible indication of ringing; incoming speech amplifier to aid the hearing imparied; and a press switch, lock or non-locking, intended as a microphone cutoff.


1. Handset No 16 www.britishtelephones.com/hands16.htm
2. Let's Take a Telehone to Bits - The Statesman

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Exhibits: Sam Hallas Collection
Photos & text: © Sam Hallas 2007 & 2011

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