Questions (FAQ)

Do They Work?

Although we primarily sell these telephones as antiques, all our phones have been sympathetically renovated and converted so that they will still function properly when connected to a modern telephone exchange should you wish to use them. This conversion will in no way diminish their value.

Please be aware that telephones (pre 1989) will NOT be officially compatible (as a modern phone would be). However they can be sympathetically converted so that they will still function properly when connected to a modern telephone exchange should you decide to use them (unofficially). This does not however mean that converted phones (by ourselves or our competitors) are "approved by BT".

Dial phones currently still work on outgoing calls on BT lines (including BT broadband). However pulse dialling is slow when you are used to tone dialling so we always recommend that you keep one new push button telephone connected as well as any dial telephone. If you don't use BT please check with your telecom provider that they support "pulse dial" telephones.

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How do I buy one of these phones?

You can see a sample of our telephones on display and for sale at Elsecar Antiques Centre near Barnsley, South Yorkshire UK. Alternatively you can look at detailed pictures of some of our telephones under the Telephones for Sale menu, and then order the phone you are interested in by e-mailing Please remember to include the reference number of the phone you are enquiring about in your email. Once we have exchanged emails and reserved the telephone you can then pay by cheque, or securely by credit card via PayPal (you do not need a PayPal account to pay by this method, and we only use this method for security).

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Are they an Investment?

As these telephones become fewer in number they have become more desirable, both by collectors, and those who want something different and stylish for their home. These 192Os/5Os designs blend with many styles of home decor. Many people considered these phones to be classic icons of 2Oth Century design. Consequently prices have continued to rise in recent years. However we leave it to you to make up your own mind.

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Why should I buy from here?

We are a family run business and our lead technician had over 30 years experience working for BT. He has now personally trained all our other technicians (all family members) on the correct method to perform high quality conversion, restoration and servicing. He also quality checks every telephone upon completion before they leave our workshop. So you can be assured that the work we do is of the highest quality. We pride ourselves that you will not find better workmanship elsewhere. All our telephones come with a twelve month guarantee.

Similar telephones can be purchased on e-bay etc, however please be warned there are a lot of poor quality reproductions, mainly from India, and even some of the genuine British phones are incorrectly converted (90%). These can be hard to identify until you see the phone up-close, or try to use it.

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Will these phones work if I upgrade to Broadband?

Yes if you upgrade to BT broadband your dial phone should still work. However please check with other telecom providers and ask them if they support pulse dial telephones. 

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Will "STAR" services work with old telephones?

If the service you require uses the * or # keys then this is not possible from dial telephones, however other phones in your house with these keys will be able to use these services. We always recommend you have one other modern telephone in your house as well as one of these old telephones.

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What is the REN number of old telephones?

The REN number of our old telephones is approximately a value of 1. The 'REN' or Ringing Equivalence Number shown on modern telephones is a guide to calculate the number of telephones that you may use in order to ensure that the bells will still work. As a quick guide all the REN numbers of the telephones when added together should not exceed 4. Most modern telephones (after 1989) have a REN of 1 or less.  Therefore one old telephone plus up to three modern telephones should work OK together on one telephone line.

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What is Bakelite

Bakelite is a heat-resistant, thermosetting, chemically stable resin (polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, the first plastic). It was invented between 1907-1909 by Dr. Leo Baekeland, an American chemist of Belgian origin, and is formed by combining phenol and formaldehyde under heat and pressure. Telephones, radios and electrical insulators were made of Bakelite because of its insulating and heat-resistant properties.

Bakelite is little used in consumer products today due to the cost and complexity of its production, but old Bakelite products have become very collectable in recent years. 

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