1892 - Western Electric Company

No. 2 speaking tube desk set

1892 Western Electric Company No. 2 speaking tube desk set

Condition

Nickel is worn but otherwise outstanding original condition

Comments

Only original known to exist in a private collection.

 

In 1892, one year before Bell’s original patent expired, he introduced the first upright desk top telephone in America, available in two styles.  Model No. 1 was a potbelly and No. 2 was a swirl base (see scan). This desk set is the earliest original Bell desk stand known to exist in a private collection.  It is the American Bell No. 2 Speaking Tube Desk Telephone.  It is equipped with a high resistance lettered White Solid Back 6 digit beveled edge transmitter code No. 225 and a code No. 129 unipolar low resistance receiver. The scan is taken from the earliest known catalog illustration of an upright desk telephone in the United States.  Dated June 27, 1894 it shows the original three designs that Bell introduced to the world, beginning in 1892.  No. 1 and No. 2 supported a speaking tube transmitter.

The earliest telephones were heavy wooden wall telephones, and since Bell's fundamental patents for the telephone were expiring in 1893 and 1894, opening the door to competition, Bell was motivated to keep a competitive edge by introducing newer, better telephones.  The upright desk top telephone was introduced for the first time with these Bell speaking tubes in 1892. By 1894, all of the serious competitors were building candlesticks to compete and were rolling them out as Bell's second patent expired.