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2013/97/1 Telephone, 'Trub', rosewood / plastic / electronic components, designed and made by Gfeller, Bern, Switzerland, 1972. Click to enlarge.

Gfeller Trub telephone made from solid Rosewood

Made by Gfeller in Bern, Switzerland, Europe, 1972.
The significance of this telephone lies in the design of the case rather than any technological innovation, although the push button dialling, and the R button for redial, are early, and innovative for the time. The casing is made entirely of timber (Rosewood), with elegant metal call buttons set off centre to the right of the telephone face. This asymmetrical treatment of the elements may have been a practical consideration to accommodate other internal components - such as the telephones bell / buzzer - however the result with push buttons justified down the right side, with numerals set in counter placement to the left of centre - sets these features in balance.

The use of a traditional material (in this case Rosewood) to realise a modern form may be viewed as a nod to the fine practice of Scandinavian design which has utilised this material for centuries and particularly well in the mid twentieth century in the manufacture of modern furniture. It may also have been a conscious decision by the manufacturer to produce a technological device in a material that would sit well with modern furnished interiors incorporating similar materials.

The Gfeller Trub achieved near cult status in the late 1980s, especially in Britain. When the company ceased manufacture, and disappeared, reproductions began to be made, and are still available. This example is from the original 1970s production run by Gfeller.

Campbell Bickerstaff, 2013


Object No.


Object Statement

Telephone, 'Trub', rosewood / plastic / electronic components, designed and made by Gfeller, Bern, Switzerland, 1972

Physical Description

A push button telephone, made from stained and varnished Rosewood with the grain evident as part of the design. The underside has been hollowed to contain the electronic components, and is sealed with a white plastic base plate, with channels for cables, etc. The phone sits low and flat to the table, with 14 polished gold metal rectangular push buttons arranged in two rows of three and two of four, to the right of centre. The numbers, in black are set to the left of the buttons, two on the bottom row being blank, function unknown. The handset is shaped from one piece of Rosewood, cut and formed to install the receiver, speaker and associated wiring and is connected to the base with a brown plasric coiled cord. A UK telephone cable can be attached to base for use.


Three paper labels are pasted to the base plate: one a warning, the serial numbers, and on a small orange sticker, possibly the date of manufacture, 1976.



95 mm


210 mm


190 mm



Designed and made in Bern, Switzerland by Gfeller in 1972. In 1987 the company merged with Hasler / Autophon / Gfeller to create Ascom (Swiss Telecommunications Association).



The phone achieved a great popularity, especially in Britain, where the cultural status of the Trub reached a zenith in the late 1980s / early 1990s when it was reproduced due to the scarcity of the original Trub. These copies are still available.


Credit Line

Purchased 2013

Acquisition Date

2 October 2013

Cite this Object


Gfeller Trub telephone made from solid Rosewood 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 4 August 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Gfeller Trub telephone made from solid Rosewood |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=4 August 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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