people's minds, the phrase "candlestick telephone" conjures up memories
Lincoln Telephone & Telegraph Company in Lincoln, Nebraska
of the roaring 20’s and the movies that were produced about that
You can just visualize Jimmy Cagney talking on a
candlestick telephone while
holding a machine gun. To the collector community of antique
instruments are called ‘upright desk telephones’. The name
comes from the early days of telephony, when only the more
afford phone service. These Victorian households were inclined to have
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
man required the use of the telephone, so the manufacturers had to come
a less expensive way to produce the upright desk telephone. As
were developed, the fancy nickel plating and artistic design would turn
to a much
less ornate utilitarian design brass telephone unit painted black.
nearly 35 years, and this company being an
these sets were the type used in the early days of
for business in 1904. In the center is an Automatic
Electric 11 digit
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
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
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.
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
architectural column. The phone on the left is a Stromberg Carlson
upright desk set circa 1899, which got its nick-name from the base’s
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
and the embossed Stromberg Carlson transmitter faceplate and a very
bakelite Whisper-it style mouthpiece. Also shown is another
John LaRose, depicting the Roman Column set.
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
the North Electric Co. ‘Fat Shaft’ model circa 1912. The mouthpiece is
American Electric Burns. The candlestick on the right is an L. E.
circa 1912, fitted with the small
transmitter, and ‘Whisper-it’ glass mouthpiece.
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.
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
holder, and a replica Red mouthpiece produced by Ray Kotk.
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
‘Wonderphone’ high-powered telephone transmitter in gunmetal finish.
The desk stand on the right is a Cracraft Leich model equipped
‘Wonderphone’ transmitter in nickel plate.
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
Telephone Mfg. with a single signaling button in the base. This
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.
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.
the smaller size of the Sampson transmitter and how the metal
is made right into the transmitter faceplate. At the lower front is a miniature
John LaRose of the model 70 Swedish American set.
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
Box Co. The set on the right is an Edwards Telephone Mfg. candlestick