CANDLESTICK TELEPHONES
 

In most people's minds, the phrase "candlestick telephone" conjures up memories
 of the roaring 20’s and the movies that were produced about that period.
 
You can just visualize Jimmy Cagney talking on a candlestick telephone while
 holding a machine gun. To the collector community of antique telephones, these
 instruments are called ‘upright desk telephones’. The name Candlestick telephone
 comes from the early days of telephony, when only the more affluent could
afford phone service. These Victorian households were inclined to have the
nicer décor, so they opted for fancier nickel-plated telephones. As these phones
 resembled the candlestick holders used as lighting in these homes, the populous
adopted the name candlestick for these telephones. Eventually, the common
man required the use of the telephone, so the manufacturers had to come up with
 a less expensive way to produce the upright desk telephone. As later models
were developed, the fancy nickel plating and artistic design would turn to a much
 less ornate utilitarian design brass telephone unit painted black.



1

Having worked for the Lincoln Telephone & Telegraph Company in Lincoln, Nebraska
 for ne
arly 35 years, and this company being an Independent (non-Bell company),
  these sets were the type used in the early days of Lincoln Telephone, which opened
 for business in 1904. In the center is an Automatic Electric 11 digit Strowger upright
 desk stand circa 1905. To the left is another AE stick, which was referred to as the Mercede
Dial stick circa 1918, due to the emblem in the center of the dial resembling that of the
Mercedes automobile. The candlestick on the right is a rare AE Sunburst Dial circa 1909.
 If you look at the dial center you will see the reason for this, as the design resembles that
 of a sun with rays streaming from it. This dial was unique as it had a fixed finger stop
below the dial so that when you pulled the dial around and released, the finger wheel
would not return, the internal dial mechanism would signal the digit dialed.
This dial set-up was short lived due to mechanical problems. To the front of this
 grouping you will see a miniature AE Strowger candlestick made by John LaRose.






2

This grouping of upright desk telephones are all from the Bell Telephone system.
The candlestick on the left is a Western Electric #10 style desk stand circa 1898,
 with an early 229 transmitter, and a long pole receiver. The set in the center is the quite
 rare Western Electric model 21 desk stand, also referred to as the Erie model, circa 1900.
 This set was produced for a very short time, thus making it a rare piece. It is equipped
 with a beveled 7-digit transmitter and an outside terminal receiver. The desk stand on
 the right is the Hershey Kiss model Western Electric circa 1902 equipped with a W.E.
 flat faced 7-digit transmitter and a Whisper-it glass mouthpiece.






3

Pictured here are upright desk telephones produced by Stromberg Carlson.
In the center is the 1897 Stromberg Carlson ‘Roman Column’ telephone,
which got its name from the shaft portion of the set looking like a piece of
architectural column. The phone on the left is a Stromberg Carlson ‘Oil Can’
upright desk set circa 1899, which got its nick-name from the base’s resemblance
 to the old style oil cans of the period.  On the right is the Stromberg Carlson
Kansas City model circa 1904. The set had the heavy brass bottom receiver,
and the embossed Stromberg Carlson transmitter faceplate and a very unusual
 bakelite Whisper-it style mouthpiece. Also shown is another miniature by
 John LaRose, depicting the Roman Column set.






4

The candlestick telephone on the left is a Century 1909 ‘Split Shaft’ model,
 named for the ability to open the shaft by loosing the knurled nut at the top
and splitting the shaft down the middle to gain access to the internal contacts.
This set is equipped with a Burns glass mouthpiece. The desk set in the center
 is the North Electric Co. ‘Fat Shaft’ model circa 1912. The mouthpiece is an
 American Electric Burns. The candlestick on the right is an L. E. Ericcson
 
circa 1912, fitted with the small transmitter, and ‘Whisper-it’ glass mouthpiece.






5

These three upright desk sets are from left to right, a 1906 Julius Andrea,
 a Chicago Telephone Supply Co. semi-pot belly model circa 1905, and a
Chicago Telephone Supply Co. goose neck ‘Oil Can’ circa 1908. This model
 is also equipped with a Bashlin Telephone Disinfector mouthpiece cover.

 




6

The Western Electric model 20 upright desk stand circa 1904, came in
several configurations. Here, the Nickel 20B stand on the left is equipped with
 an OST receiver, Burns glass mouthpiece, and a pencil/notepad holder
advertising piece. The model 20 in the center is the Jappaned black variety
 with a Bell System number cardholder, and celluloid advertising mouthpiece
 cover. The 20B nickel stand on the right is configured with a Sanitary
Advertising pencil holder, and a replica Red mouthpiece produced by Ray Kotk.






7

  These two upright desk telephones are the same, but different. Here we have
 an example of two different manufacturers using the same add on external
 equipment. The desk stand on the left  is a Stromberg Carlson fitted with a
1915 model ‘Wonderphone’ high-powered telephone transmitter in gunmetal finish.
 The desk stand on the right is a Cracraft Leich model equipped with a
‘Wonderphone’ transmitter in nickel plate.

 



8

On the left is a 50-station ‘Autophone’ upright desk stand intercom produced
 by S. H . Couch Co. circa 1910. The desk stand in the center is a Deveau
Telephone Mfg. with a single signaling button in the base. This Deveau is
 equipped with a glass mouthpiece, and an OST Deveau receiver.  On the right
 is a 10-line intercom upright desk set made by S.H. Couch circa 1910.

 


9

This grouping of candlestick telephones starts on the left, with a Kellogg
 Switchboard & Supply Co desk stand circa 1916 with an unusual ‘White Bakelite’
 mouthpiece. The desk stand in the center is a model 70 Swedish American
 Telephone Co. circa 1907, fitted with a Maxim glass mouthpiece. On the right
 is a Sampson Jr. transmitter circa 1903, fitted to a Stromberg Carlson stick.
Notice the smaller size of the Sampson transmitter and how the metal mouthpiece
 is made right into the transmitter faceplate. At
the lower front is a miniature
 produced by John LaRose of the model 70 Swedish American set.






10

  On the left of this grouping of upright desk telephones is a Dean Electric
Company circa 1907 model, with a very rare marked Lincoln Telephone
 & Telegraph transmitter. There are only 2 of these transmitters that are known
 to exist. In the center, a B & R Electric Co. upright desk set circa 1906.
This set is equipped with a 5-cent courtesy coin box from the Courtesy Coin
Box Co. The set on the right is an Edwards Telephone Mfg. candlestick telephone.

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