Coloured GPO 162s came in a variety of materials…

Thanks to the collectors who contributed…

Coloured GPO 162s came in a variety of different materials, not just urea resin and daikon.

See below for GPO 162s in no less than 5 different materials (there are 6 GPO 162 materials which I know of including cellulose, which was sometimes used for the cradles on Diakon phones).  If we include the Australian (AWA) ivory 162s in Alkyd, we are up to 7 different materials used in the manufacture of 162s and, who knows, there may yet be more to discover!

A number of collectors have contributed, but no doubt there is much that we haven’t yet seen, and so please drop me an email if you have something to add.


Changing materials used in the manufacture of GPO 162’s through the 1930’s

From the very first sample of 162s made up by Siemens for the GPO in Bakelite and an early acrylic, we see an evolution to urea resin in late 1933/early 1934.  And then in the mid to late 1930s, some rarer examples in daikon (some with cellulose cradles) and the ultra-rare melamine resin.  The mould markings can be confusing and so I have included those that I know of.

1930 – 1933 – Bakelite and an early acrylic

The first phones in Bakelite: Old Gold (laquer on black phone), Oxidised Silver (laquer on black phone), Ivory, Mahogany (1930 only), Walnut (added in 1931), Dark green see 1932 phone in this material below, Jade green (available as an applied colour finish on a dark green Bakelite moulding, added in 1931), Blue (unseen, but documented).

The first Chinese Red is believed to be an early acrylic see 1933 example below.

One other unknown colour is evident from the GPO correspondence, possibly a black Bakelite phone with an ivory coating.

It is possible that special orders of other colours were available during this period.

1934 onwards – Urea resin

By 1934, a urea resin version of the Jade Green 162 had replaced the colour finish on Bakelite version and a urea resin Chinese Red 162 had been introduced to replace the early acrylic version.

By late 1934,  a decision was taken by the GPO to stock only three standard coloured phones and bellsets: Jade Green, Chinese Red and Ivory, and production of Old Gold, Oxidised Silver and Walnut phones and bellsets ceased.  Non-standard colours (including Old Gold, Oxidised Silver and Walnut) were available by special order.

1936 – Diakon

Diakon 162s exist in Jade Green, Chinese Red and Ivory.  These are rare and the examples I have seen are manufactured by Siemens (and I think Plessy).

1937 – Melamine resin

Melamine was used for the 1/162 drawer upgrade to bring the old 162s into line with the 1/232s.  However, a single example of a complete green phone in “M” has recently been discovered.  The rare “M” coloured parts that are known to exist include an ivory body and a green 162 base.

AWA 162’s

In Australia during the 1930s, AWA produced a small number of 162s in ivory.  And a single red and one (or possibly two) patchwork mottled brown 162s exist.  The ivory AWA 162 phone was manufactured in alkyd, the red in Diakon, and the patchwork mottled brown in Bakelite.

Mould Markings

These are the ones I know about.  Please let me know if you are aware of others:

B/BA Bakelite, early acrylic, or Urea resin

D Diakon

M.P.L. (on its own with no B/BA) Diakon (M.P.L. =  Moulded Products Ltd.)

F Possibly Diakon – unconfirmed.

CELLUSLOSE cellulose

M Melamine


Examples of the different materials used in coloured GPO 162s

Green urea GPO 162 on Bellset

PL 1935 GPO phone with TE 1933 GPO bellset. Has original handset and line in cords and a matching BT 20/4. Boasts an ultra rare GPO green bakelite dial – highly sought after by collectors. An absolutely mint perfect piece.

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Green Diakon GPO 162 on Bellset

Very rare green 162 in DIAKON (“D”) material. There are very few of these around, especially in this perfect condition.

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Green Melamine GPO 162/1 on Bellset 1937

This 1937 phone is a very unusual GPO 1/162, which is a GPO 162 with a factory fitted drawer base. Equally unusual, this phone is in a MELAMINE RESIN material, which seems to have existed at a similar time to diakon. Probably a one of a kind.

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Dark Green Bakelite 1932 GPO 162

A very rare Dark Green 1932 Bakelite 162 made in the same material as the original 1930 GPO 162 Green sample. Either a special order or a production item that originally came with a Jade Green coating.

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Chinese Red “Tupperware” 1933 GPO 162

1933 early Chinese Red GPO 162, thought to be made in the same early acrylic material as the original 1930 GPO sample Chinese Red 162 considered by the GPO in 1930. Owner describes the material as similar feeling like Tupperware.

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