British phones in Hong Kong
In Hong, the British GPO 121, Candlestick 150, GPO 162, GPO 232, GPO312, GPO 332, GECophone, Muraphone, GPO 248, GEC 1000, Tel 625, 741, 746 and the trimphone were all issued.
The Hong Kong Telephone Company only provided black telephones to the public and these phones had “H.K. Tel Co.” etched in white on the front of the telephone case.
Coloured phones were issued by special request, possibly for hotels or embassies and I am have heard that there is a green 300 series phone in the Police Museum. None of the coloured phones were etched with “H.K. Tel Co.” and it would appear that some of the black phones issued also escaped the etching process.
Back in the day, Hong Kong was on a Strowger Exchange and there were just three areas codes: Hong Kong Island (5), Kowloon (7) and the New Territories (0). I am told that back in the 1950s there would have been almost no phones in the New Territories.
The Black GEC 1000 was known as “Telephone Number 9”. The phone sent to Hong Kong was made by GEC in the UK, but designed for the tropics. The coloured GEC 1000s are very rare in Hong Kong.
When H.K. Tel Co. decided to scrap all of Hong Kong’s Telephone Number 9s, a member of their management team set out to save several hundred of them. These were restored and sold at various fairs in the 1990s. If you have one of these it will have a “Conversation Pieces Ltd” sticker on the base.
I have been looking for vintage British phones issued in Hong Kong for many years and they are very difficult to find. Please let me know if you come across any.