Three old Hong Kong landline telephones | 古老電話一組三件
Three old Hong Kong landline telephones
red: 23.3 cm
black: 23.5 cm
pink: 24 cm
The black telephone is from the Hong Kong Telephone Company, which was a standout company specialising in acquiring, reproducing and selling telephones from the UK. It is known that said company only provided black telephones for public use, and these issued black telephones all have the words “H.K Tel Co” etched in white on the front of the telephone case, as is the case on the current telephone, which was likely to be belong to the series of Bakelite Hong Kong Telephone No. 9, which was made in Coventry, England, and subsequently sold by the Hong Kong Telephone Company from 1957.
Unlike the black Bakelite telephones, coloured Bakelite telephones also produced by the Hong Kong Telephone Company did not display a distinctive white etching of “HK. Tel Co.”. Additionally, these coloured phones were not issued to the public, but were rather only available upon special request by hotels, embassies, police stations, hospitals, etc.
The second Bakelite phone in this lot boasts a pink case and a beige phone. It also has the words “Fire, Police, Ambulance” written central to the rotary dial. Given the similar characteristics between the pink and black telephones, one may be able to deduce that the current pink telephone was produced within a similar range of years as the Bakelite Telephone No. 9, starting in 1957, but just upon special request by some joint police, fire, and ambulance department in Hong Kong.
The red telephone in this lot is visually reminiscent of, if not almost identical to, the symbolic red Gecophone also produced by the Hong Kong Telephone Company. The only telling difference between the two is the adapted Chinese character enamel dial displayed on the company’s Gecophone. Nonetheless, it is a known fact that Gecophones were not standard issue items by the Hong Kong GPO, and this corroborates that coloured telephones produced by the Hong Kong Telephone Company were only available upon special order. The production of Gecophones spanned over three decades, from the 1930s to the 1950s. Earlier examples of Gecophones bore a stag’s antlers cradle, which essentially created a lopsided telephone holder that supported the phone itself in a position where it was higher at the rear than at the front. The current red Gecophone, on the other hand, does not have a stag’s antlers cradle – the phone rests evenly atop the cradle, suggesting that the current red Gecophone was likely made in the later years of production, possibly between the 1940 and 1950.