FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

Although we sell our rotary dial telephones as antiques, we have renovated, converted, serviced and adjusted them so that they will function correctly when connected to a modern UK telephone line. The telephone conversion process we use is very sympathetic and does not decrease the value of these iconic rotary telephones. Our telephones plug directly into a standard UK telephone socket.

We have converted these old telephones professionally so they will not slow your Broadband speeds or make your Broadband connection unreliable.

Contrary to popular belief All land line telephones (new or old) are Analogue, there is no such thing as a Digital land line telephone. The speech circuit and incoming ring has changed little since the 1920's.

These old rotary dial telephones use a method of dialling out called "pulse dialling". Pulse dialling is still supported for the foreseeable future by all the UK telephone providers, however we believe that TalkTalk Telephone Exchange equipment is not as fault tolerant for rotary pulse dialling as the other UK providers. So we can only offer a limited guarantee if you are with TalkTalk (please contact us for details).

Please be aware that with rotary pulse dialling there are no * or # keys and call centre's menu systems are designed for tone dialling. Therefore we always recommend that you keep one new push button (tone dialling) telephone connected as well as your vintage pulse dial telephone. Alternatively you could use a mobile when you need to use the * or # keys etc.

If you don't use BT or SKY please check our FAQ on "Do these Telephones work on networks other than BT and SKY".

Please be aware that there are a lot of incorrectly converted and adjusted old rotary telephones on the market that can intermittently interfere with your other telephones or cause problems with your Broadband speeds etc. Over 90% of telephones that we see coming into our workshop are incorrectly converted and adjusted, even though they are often sold as already "converted".

These old rotary dial telephones use a method of dialling out called "pulse dialling". Pulse dialling is still supported for the foreseeable future by all the UK land line telephone providers, however it is believed that TalkTalk Telephone Exchange equipment is not as fault tolerant for pulse dialling as the other UK providers. Therefore we can only offer a limited guarantee if you are with TalkTalk (please contact us for details).

There are many new small telephone service providers coming onto the market, however under the covers we believe they are all still using the main providers such as BT, SKY, Virgin, PlusNet and TalkTalk etc.

All UK telephone providers work equally well for incoming calls and will still ring these wonderful sounding mechanical bells.

The only systems that experience problems with these rotary pulse dial telephones are Office/Business PABX or VOIP (Voice over IP). Even then you can still take incoming calls and the incoming mechanical bells still ring, which is the key selling point of these iconic old telephones.

Although we have fitted various pulse to tone converters in the past (adds an extra £30 to £50 to the cost) we are not totally happy with the reliability of these units. Many converters were designed for VOIP lines and can potentially be overloaded and damaged with PSTN telephone line conditions. So we took the decision to stop offering this as an option a few years ago.

The only advantage to Pulse to Tone converters is the use of the * and # keys or if you need to navigate around call centre menu's. Pulse dialling is still supported for the foreseeable future by all the UK telephone providers, however we believe TalkTalk telephone exchange equipment is not as fault tolerant for pulse dialling as the others. For this reason we can only offer a limited guarantee if you are with TalkTalk.

The only other need for tone dialling is if you are using VOIP or an Office PABX.

We are a family run business and our lead technician has over 32 years experience working for BT (with 31 City & Guilds qualifications in Telecommunications). He has trained all our other technicians (all family members) on the correct method to perform high quality conversion, restoration and servicing.

Our lead technician 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 and we pride ourselves that you will not find better workmanship elsewhere.

All our telephones come with a twelve month guarantee (see our terms and conditions).

Similar telephones can be purchased elsewhere, however please be aware that there are a lot of poor quality reproductions, foreign telephones, telephones with key speech components removed or one's with poor quality fake dials.

Many of the genuine British telephones around are incorrectly converted or poorly serviced. These can be hard to identify until you see the phone up-close or try to use it with other telephones in the house.

We have also seen incorrectly converted telephones impact Broadband speeds and/or reliability.

You can look at photographs of all our telephones under the For Sale menu at the top and then enquire about the telephone you are interested in by filling in our contact form.

We deliberately don't use a "buy it now" button for our telephones for sale as we prefer and feel it's important to make a few simple checks with our customers to help prevent any disappointment with their purchase.

For most telephones we can accept several methods of payment: Credit/Debit Card (via PayPal), Bank Transfer, Cheque by post or Cash on collection from our workshop. All payments must be cleared in full before the telephone is posted/collected.

Alternatively you can see a small sample of our telephones on display and for sale at Elsecar Antiques Centre near Barnsley, South Yorkshire UK.

We are always looking to buy genuine British Bakelite telephones suitable for restoration or to use as spare parts.

The term "old telephone repair" is fairly self explanatory, however the term convert refers to the process of bringing an old telephone (pre 1980) up to modern house telephone wiring standards. A correctly converted vintage telephone will have a REN of 1, it will have the internal capacitor taken out of circuit (as since 1980 this is now in the master telephone socket).

Vintage telephone restoration refers to the process of returning the telephone to a condition similar to what it was when it was issued. These telephones were designed to last and last, they were never sold (always rented), so the GPO periodically restored these telephones between customers. We perform this task now with a tremendous attention to detail. We believe this vintage telephone restoration helps prolong the life of these iconic instruments.

Although there are lots of reasons people buy Antique and Vintage Telephones one of the main attraction of these old telephones is the sound of the mechanical telephone bells. Its an iconic sound that is unique to these classic telephones. Modern replicas made in China etc sound very "tinny" by comparison.

The other important selling point is the sheer quality of the engineering and components used, both inside and out. The only Achilles heel of these old telephones was the carbon granule microphone used inside the mouthpiece, as these deteriorate over time. However as part of the restoration process we always swap these carbon granule microphones out for modern electronic microphones as standard.

The REN of our vintage telephones is a value of 1. The "REN" or Ringing Equivalence Number used for telephones is a simple guide to calculate the number of telephones that you may use in order to ensure that the bells will still function correctly. Basically all the REN's of the telephones when added together should not exceed 4. Most modern telephones have a REN of 1. Therefore one old telephone plus up to three modern telephones should work OK together on one telephone line.

Before 1960 British Telephones such as the 200 and 300 series phones were made of a very early plastic known by the trade name "Bakelite", hence the term Bakelite Telephone. Bakelite is a thermosetting plastic and is resistant to heat, scratches and destructive solvents.

It is worth noting that most coloured telephones (not Black) from the Bakelite era (1930s 1950s) were made from a plastic very similar to perspex. However because these telephones were made in the Bakelite Telephone Era virtually all old telephone dealers and collectors still refer to these phones as Bakelite Telephones.

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

GPO (General Post Office) was the original name for BT (British Telecoms). However many iconic British telephones such as the 746 telephone range were NOT GPO telephones, they were either Post Office Telecommunications (1969- 1980) or BT (after 1980).

Elsewhere you will see many cheap modern telephones that look similar to the 746 telephone referred to incorrectly as GPO Phones. To be historically correct the GPO never made these 746 telephones as they did not go into production until after the GPO had been renamed Post Office Telecommunications.

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. The various 192O's to 198O's designs blend well with many styles of home décor today. Many people consider these telephones to be classic icons of 2Oth Century design. Consequently they have become more collectable in recent years.

If you have Broadband a microfilter or ADSL filter is a device that allows broadband to work at the same time as your telephone service. Without ADSL/microfilters you may get problems with your Broadband speeds or experience noise on your telephone line. You may also experience a problem where your telephone may intermittently not ring.

As a simple rule of thumb you should have one filter per telephone (new or old).

Most Broadband suppliers include ADSL filters in their Broadband package, however extra filters can be purchased from most good electrical stores.