60 SMITH STREET
CLEVELAND QLD 4163
(07) 3286 3494

Ericsson Skeleton Phone

Object Number: R16479

This is one of the true classics of telephony; popularly known as the Eiffel Tower phone in America, and Skeleton phone in the UK and Australia, it is the world’s first mass produced telephone. It was released in 1890 by the L M Ericsson Company of Sweden, but dates to a design that began in 1881. They were manufactured in Stockholm, Sweden, from 1892 to 1929.  Numbered the AC110, AC120, or AC140 depending on component variations, this model was used almost all over the world and nearly a million were made. In addition, Ericsson sold parts to many other companies to manufacture identical or similar phones.  In promotional brochures it was described as a masterpiece of unique design and is undoubtedly the handsomest set in the industry.

Phones of this type were purchased by the Australian PMG and were the standard desk telephone until the 1920s.  Some were still in use in Australia until the 1960s.

This example of the skeleton phone has been the victim of Brisbane flooding and was in very poor condition when donated to the Museum by Brett Kettle in 2016. It was completely restored to like-new condition by Jako Ebersohn.