A beautiful and interesting 1932 G.P.O Telephone Bell Set No.20, refurbished and repurposed as a stylish lamp. It would look wonderful in an office, study, hallway or lounge, and will be a real topic of conversation for guests.
In the 1930’s and 40’s, to have one of these Bell Sets in your home was a sure sign of prosperity. It showed visitors that you had not only one telephone but also an extension somewhere else in the house—luxury indeed! The Bell Set would originally have had a telephone handset attached to it and, using the centre dial, you could connect with the extension in your house, the local exchange-or both. Turning the handle at the side would generate a current to ring the bell at whichever end you were connecting, and a simple, two-cell internal battery would have provided a speaking current.
The wooden construction of Bell Set was originally covered in a dark brown lacquer, which was chipped and scratched. Removing this revealed an array of different, beautiful hardwoods used to make it, and some truly skilful carpentry. The wood has just received two coats of Danish oil to seal and protect it. The brass metalwork—which had been painted black—is now polished, but still retains some patina of age.
The addition of a brass light fitting and Edison retro-effect, mushroom filament bulb has given new life to this neglected vintage item, enabling its full beauty to be displayed and its new function to be enjoyed. The telephone selector dial in the brass plate has now been converted into the lamp’s continuous-clockwise rotary on/off switch, and a 2m long antique-effect braided cloth cable has been used to sympathetically complete the transformation.
To add to the interest and nostalgic appeal of the piece, I have left the majority of the internal working in place—just removing the minimum required to install the switch. The lid of the box is held closed by a concealed screw at the side, but this can easily be undone to open the Bell Set and reveal the old operating system.
A truly splendid piece of British communications history has now also become a unique piece of feature lighting.
• Depth: 180mm
• Width: 170mm
• Height: 200mm
• Weight: 1kg
• Maximum bulb wattage: 100w
• Unique piece of British communications history
• Hardwood and brass construction
• Concealed wiring
• Integrated rotary switch
• E27 screw bulb fitting
• 2m cable length