The Ericofon in America
From an e-mail I received in
1999 from Del Lance, a former North Electric employee during my early research into the
Here's some background on Ericofons that you may no know.
The original Ericofons
as designed by Ericsson in the early 1950s didn't have integral ringers...actually
tweeters. They had external, optional, ringer boxes that could be wall mounted. Sometime
in the late 1950s, Robert Pickett was a brilliant engineer and a vice president of North
Electric at the age of 32, designed an electronic ringer officially called the
"Ericotone" [commonly known as "the tweeter circuit"] that could be
added in the neck of the phones. [North Electric was a subsidiary of Ericsson AB.] This
addition made the phones very attractive and sales rose during the early 1960s. Joseph
Baude was appointed product manager of Ericofons and remained so until Ericofon sales were
discontinued by North Electric in 1972.
There were four versions of
the rotary dial the phone which was produced by both North electric in Galion, Ohio and by
L. M. Ericsson AB in Sweden, the 52A "Manual base without Ericotone", 52B
"Dial base without Ericotone", 52J "Manual Base with Eircotone", and
52L "Dial base with Ericotone".
Sometime about 1967, L. M.
Ericsson introduced the first version of the pushbutton Ericofon that had 10 keys...the
asterisk and the octothorp keys were missing. About a year later North Electric had
Ericsson in Sweden make a special run of 7,000 pushbutton phones that had the, then new US
standard 12-key key pad. Only about 3,000 of these were actually sold. The rest were
broken down for parts or, post-1972, junked. The reason was that the there was a poorly
designed plastic part in the hook-switch mechanism that broke easily in normal use.
Iin 1972 there were 12 colors:
Aqua Mist Blue-Green, Crystal Mint Green, Petal Pink, Sandalwood, Candle Glow Ivory,
Mandarin Red, Sahara Beige and Taj Mahal White.