Antique Vintage Stromberg Carlson Phones
Antique & Vintage Stromberg Carlson Phones are collectible telephones produced by the American manufacturer Stromberg Carlson.
History and Description
Stromberg Carlson phones are a product of the collaboration between Alfred Stromberg and Androv Carlson who wanted to design sturdy, efficient and fashionable phones for rural areas. The expiration of Alexander Graham Bells' patent for the telephone in 1894 paved the way to for Stromberg and Carlson to realize Stromberg their aspiration.
Stromberg Carlson was one of the major manufacturers of the Candlestick phone, a popular early style of desk phone. Stromberg Carlson came up with two models of the Candlestick phone - the Roman Column and the Oilcan which were released in 1897 and 1900 respectively.
Stromberg Carlson also designed a triplet phone in 1899. A triplet phone combined a coil, switch hook, transmitter, and arm assembly.
One of the most distinguished of their products was Stromberg Carlson Figure 8 oak wall phone which was iron-cast and featured a porcelain mouthpiece.
In 1936, Stromberg Carlson joined the fad by making their own version of a Bakelite cradle telephone, the model No. 1212. Commonly known as "fat boy", they were used widely as public payphones.
By the 1950's, the Western Electric 500 became the preferred design for the whole phone industry. A license was granted to other telephone manufacturers (including Stromberg Carlson) to produce phones based on this design. This resulted in many telephones having the same look regardless of maker.
Guide to Collectors
Collectors should look for Stromberg Carlson phones that were made before the Western Electric 500 became the standard design. This holds true for other telephone brands as there were more design variations before the Western Electric 500's dominance.
Better quality Stromberg Carlson phones were made before and after World War I when the company wasn't focused on battlefield and camp equipment manufacturing.
Enthusiasts should go for the distinctive Stromberg Carlson designs and innovations such as the bell-in-the-base phone produced in 1931, the dust-free dial in 1943 and the water-resistant telephone in 1949. Stromberg Carlson’s candlestick and triplet phones are also popular with collectors.
When buying a phone, the first concern should be its completeness, i.e. if all the original parts are intact. Since a lot of these phones were rented in the past and were continuosly subjected to upgrading, most of them do not have their original equipment. Collectors should also look at the condition, especially when it comes to bakelite phones. A number of phone collectors also go for scarcity rather than attractivess. Some don't even mind if the phone is working or not.
For novice hobbyists, visiting telephone collectors organizations’ websites is recommended. Two of the sources are the Telephone Collectors International and Antique Telephone Collectors Association. TCI has a good guideline on restoration and maintenance. Similarly useful is ATCA's frequently asked questions section.
Notable Auction Sales
A Stromberg Carlson Candlestick Telephone made in 1898 with oil can base and a gold electrode ball-type transmitter was sold for $1,200 on June 27, 2008 through RM Auctions.
An original vintage Stromberg - Carlson Telephone Co. wall-mount telephone was sold for C$550 by RM Auctions on September 17, 2005.
A oak Stromberg Carlson telephone that measured 32 inches in height , 8 inches in width, and 10 inches in diameter was sold through the Santa Margarita Auction Barn on March 06, 2011 for $425.