Best vintage: 1930s art deco telephone
Manufactured in 1934-5, by Seimens, for the GPO in the UK. This classic Tele 162 table-top 200-series (1929-1959) Bakelite vintage telephone has all original features and has been reconditioned to work well with today’s telephone system.
You can’t beat the classic European design of this period and you will be inviting real history into your home with this working telephone. This pyramid design 1930s art deco era telephone seems to be in mint condition and lovingly restored by an enthusiast who runs ‘Antique Telephones’ in the UK. The cost is £395. With http://antiquetelephones.co.uk you can be sure of getting the real thing and any restoration details are explained perfectly. This phone comes with a guarantee of working order.
Be very sure when you are buying a reconditioned vintage phone that it has been reconditioned by a professional and will work properly with today’s phone system. Some reconditioned phones have been known to interfere with other telephones if not converted correctly.
If this is a little beyond your price range there are alternatives. The obvious down side of cheaper alternatives is that the telephone may not be in working order to operate with modern systems and the seller may only have vague (or incorrect) details on the history and dating of the item. It takes an expert/enthusiast on the topic to really know what they are talking about with vintage telephones.
However, here is one example on ebay that is a genuine vintage item with plenty of information about the phone, its age and working order. This one is from the later 300-series (1937-1959) and comes in at £124.99/$195.00. It will need some restoration to get it into good working order however.
Retro style telephones
Also, you can pick up new retro-style telephones that are inspired by the vintage look of a 1930s art deco telephone.
The Crosley Kettle Classic Desk Phone is available to buy on Amazon for a fraction of the price of a true vintage telephone. It’s not a patch on the original classic design but it’s close to the classic pyramid shape design. The CR62 (pictured below) has authentic touches such as the heavyweight look of the art deco pyramid design and nostalgic-sounding ringer. However, the push-button dials and plastic look together with modern coiled plastic cord may be a let-down. But for the price of a modern phone (less than $50/£30) this fits the bill for those on a small budget.
If you would like to find out a bit more about the history and designs of vintage British telephones from this era, check out this vintage telephone website and this BT vintage telephone website which has detailed tips on identifying the parts and casings. There are also a couple of books on the subject I can recommend below: