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B1204 Telephone, 'Skeleton Type' table model telephone, with combined handset, manufactured by L.M. Ericsson & Company, Stockholm, Sweden, 1892-1929. Click to enlarge.

‘Skeleton Type’ Ericsson table model telephone

Made by Ericsson in Stockholm, Sweden, c 1910.
Prior to the design of the Ericsson table model nearly all telephones were hung from the wall. To some degree this was a convenient solution to concealing the lines associated with the telephones within wall cavities safely. The wall mounted telephone designs required the user to stand by the wall and speak into a fixed microphone while holding a receiver to their ear with one hand. There was often a small ledge designed into the timber cabinet case that accommodated note taking.

This was one of the first telephones to incorporate the microphone and receiver elements into a single handset and one of the first free standing designs for a table top. It was popular and remained in production from 1892 till 1929 with sales of a million units over that period. It design was copied by other manufacturers.

It presented a unique design with all the elements of the phone visible as the magneto, bells, wiring and handset are mounted off the forged iron frame.

Campbell Bickerstaff 2013


Object No.


Object Statement

Telephone, 'Skeleton Type' table model telephone, with combined handset, manufactured by L.M. Ericsson & Company, Stockholm, Sweden, 1892-1929

Physical Description

Skeleton shaped telephone that has speaking piece with fretted tubular wooden handle (painted black) joining an elegantly shaped ear and mouth pieces. It has a heavy ornate base with a decorative floral detail. On the left side of this is attached a vertical wheel with winding handle. The cord to mains comes out of left side of slab.


'PMC' engraved onto top side of base stand, 'MADE IN SWEDEN' printed on lower side of stand.



300 mm


260 mm


140 mm


5 kg



Made in Sweden at the Stockhom factory of L.M. Ericsson & Company. c.1910

Ericsson 'Skeleton Type' phones were manufactured from about 1892 until the late 1910s. The ram's horns or metal bars that form the legs are in actual fact the magnets that when the the handle is turned in the generator body creates ac voltage to signal the manual operator or in a point to point service the other phone at the other end.

Research indicated that this model was produced post 1900. After 1900 a minor modification was made to the wiring to the ball motor. In pre 1900 models a wire was run from a small brass plate that was mounted to the deck above the motor. In later models this was replaced with two metal straps mounted running from two screws mounted directly in the deck to the bell motor.
See; - website accessed 11/04/2014



In 1876 Lars Magnus Ericsson founded an electrical engineering workshop, which repaired telegraphic equipment. Alexander Graham Bell had patented his telephone in 1876, and later these were exported to Sweden. Ericsson believed he could improve on the design and started to make phones around 1878. In February 1892 he released the first Magneto set, later known in the US as the Eiffel Tower or 'Skeleton' phone, as all the working parts are visible. It was one or the first table top phones. He made over a million of these, later adapted to a dial phone up until 1929. The basic design was extensively copied by other manufacturers.


Credit Line

Gift of Electrical Engineering Department, University of Technology, 1953

Acquisition Date

30 October 1953

Cite this Object


'Skeleton Type' Ericsson table model telephone 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 28 May 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='Skeleton Type' Ericsson table model telephone |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=28 May 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Interface: people, machines, design at the Powerhouse Museum.

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