Monday, January 17, 2011

The Holy Grail of Retro Phones

I couldn't believe what I found an an estate auction this weekend.  (P.S. The estate sale totally reenergized my vintage vibe.)  Anyway, I got some great finds that I'll share soon, along with some finds from thrifting last week that haven't made it to the blog yet.  However, in the box lots at the auction I found a box that contained a bunch of old rotary dial phones.  It was obvious that they had been stored in a barn for a long time - they were filthy.  However, digging through the crate, I found a phone that almost caused me to have a stroke.  Along with a vintage Stromberg-Carlson wall phone and a white Trimline rotary phone like my grandma had when  I was a kid, there was something bright red poking through.  That's when I discovered this:

A vintage Ericofon!  I was floored.  It took a while to get it cleaned up, but it looks so amazing.  I wish that I was able to wire it up and use it, but it is designed to be hardwired into the house, and I don't have that ability.  I may see if there is an adapter available.  If nothing else, it looks amazing sitting on a side table in the living room!  These are pretty rare, at least more so than the standard phones that Bell systems installed in homes, this is the first one that I've seen in person.  I also know that they can sell for pretty high prices on eBay.  So, I felt like the $9 I paid for the whole box was a decent deal.  I could have probably gotten it cheaper, but the way box lots work, you bid in a price, then you pick how many boxes you want for that price.  I don't think anybody else probably really wanted a box full of dirty old phones, but I wasn't taking any chances!

A little history on the Ericofon is available on the following website  It really has an interesting history!

Here are a few more pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Hope you have a great Monday!


  1. We had one of those when I was little! I remember it well coz it really puzzled the crap out of me (I was maybe 6). What a great find!

  2. You can get a dealie to rewire it at Home Depot or wherever... You know, one of those tab deals at the end of modern phone cords where you plug it in rather than hardwire (like my phone line still is, I got a converter thingie long ago). I've seen other converted vintage phones selling on eBay. =)

    Great find, lucky you!!

  3. Lordy, that's cool! Can you tell me how you cleaned it? I've gotten phones, radios, etc that are in need of a cleaning, but sometimes it seems that they just come out sticky!

  4. Tikimama - I'm not sure if what I used for cleaning this (and other old plastic items, like dirty radios, etc.) is what I should really use on it, but I have found it to be very effective, and leaves things clean and not sticky (I have used other cleaners that leave things sticky before as well). I use "Zep Shower, Tub & Tile Cleaner". I believe that I bought it at Home Depot (the stores in the little town that I live in don't carry Zep products). I have used other Zep products before, and was very pleased with them. I especially like the Mildew / Mold cleaner that they make.

  5. Michael, that is a terrific find. I have used an old rotary dial phone for years, but the family got rid of the land line a few months ago. Sigh.

  6. Good to see you back and out of your mood! What na amazing find!!!! Can't wait to see all the other stuff we've missed ya Mike!

  7. What a great score for sure.I would say $9.00 for the box was a steal

    Now I want to get back in the car and go look for treasures.

    I have the pyrex bug now


  8. That is so awesome! Zooey Deschanel uses one in the new video of She & Him's song "Don't Look Back", and I knew what it was thanks to your post! What a crazy find!


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