The AE80 was in the style of the Western Electric 500, and allowed the independent companies to keep their phones looking fairly modern. Originally a dial phone, it was updated to touchtone. Although black was the most common color, early phones were sometimes painted in colors to blend with the customer's decor.Trunk or toll calls still required operator assistance. AE Manual candlestick model, circa 1905, with a "sunburst" dial grafted onto it. The third phone is an earlier Western Electric CB model which has been converted to automatic working using an AE adaptor. It was also available with an outboard dial mounted on the right.The sunburst dial replaced the dial shown above somewhere between 19. This phone is a highly desirable model and collectors will pay 00 - 00 for a nice example. The fourth picture is the bellset that accompanied the phones. The AE8 was a magneto telephone, again provided for some of the older exchanges run by the independent companies.The AE1A Monophone of 1925 was AE's first handset (the Monophone was the handset itself, not the complete phone) phone.
At the same time, vents were added to the side to make the bells louder. The AE40 introduced a range of colors From 1939 to the mid-1950s. The AE80E was an update to the AE80, and a pushbutton dialling phone was included in the range. The AE182 Starlite was an equivalent to Western Electric's Princess telephone.
Collectors keep asking the question, "What colors was it made in? This page is a place to help keep track of what we've found.
Colors are divided into "standard production colors" found in the manufacturers' literature, and "other colors" that were available on a special order or custom basis.
When bakelite and plastic were used instead of metal and wood, it became possible to actually make the phones in colors.
The obvious advantage was that the color was in the material and did not wear off with frequent use.
Magneto wall phone, from the same period as the candlestick phone above. In Australia this phone is called the "Geelong Phone" after the first public automatic exchange was installed using these sets. The stepped base is known to collectors as a "stairstep" base. Ref.: Hershey H "Automatic Telephone Practice" 5th edition (1946).