1913 - Wilhelm Telephone Mfg. Company
8 sided bronze
This is a very special telephone and there is very little known about it. It is a Wilhelm Model No.16 Desk Set described by Wilhelm as, “Colonial in design and a work of art crafts. It is polished bronze in finish, and is most desirable for use in such places as libraries, private residences, offices, etc, and in fact any place where a desk phone is suitable. It is well known that bronze finish improves with age, whereas nickel plating deteriorates in appearance after a few years in service.”
Walter Wilhelm commenced the manufacture of telephones in Buffalo, NY in 1895. His entire product was sold and installed in that vicinity. By 1910 his company shipped telephones to all parts of the world and sent construction gangs all over the United States and Canada to install exchanges.
An early Wilhelm print ad says, “The Wilhelm double diaphragm transmitter is impossible to pack. Something different from all the others. Two diaphragms with carbon granular between. Positively the only transmitter of it’s kind in the world.”
What makes this fascinating is that this 8-sided telephone looks nothing like any other Wilhelm telephone, it does not use the double diaphragm transmitter and sometime in 1913 or 1914, the Wilhelm Telephone Mfg. Company ceased operations. And, based on the scan of the attached advertisement, this special 8-sided telephone was produced around 1910. The only picture record of this bronze telephone is in the scan of this original ad and again on a piece of stationary used by Walter Wilhelm on December 20, 1913.
Only three of these beautiful telephones are known to exist. Walter Wilhelm was proud enough of the design that he used it on his personal stationary.