Patchwork Mottled Brown AWA 162

The most unusual 162! The colour runs all the way through the bakelite (it’s not painted on!) and the phone is complete, even though the top and bottom do not match. This 1936 phone was manufactured as a display item at the AWA PMG Workshop in Melbourne.

This phone’s twin was allegedly spotted some years ago at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.  Please contact me if you have any further information on the twin!

This phone and its base spent many years apart and were recently reunited with the help of top Australian collector Tim Murphy.  We don’t know how long these items have been separated, but perhaps 40 years or more.

The base of this phone was acquired in early 2014 from a mature ex AWA employee.  This gentleman recalled that the phone was for many years on display at the AWA PMG workshop in Melbourne, together with some other interesting coloured phones (but could not recall the details).

The rest of the phone was acquired in the early 2000s from another top Australian collector, who had just acquired it from a deceased collector’s estate.  Prior to this, the phone may have been exhibited at an Australian phone collectors event.   I bought this phone together with an AWA red 162 (which also came from the same deceased estate) and it would seem consistent that the red 162 was also one of the display phones from the AWA factory in Melbourne.

The phone has a Siemens mottled brown cradle, plunger and handset. AWA did not produce these components in patchwork mottled brown and the ex AWA employee has confirmed this. Further, an injection molding specialist who examined the base agreed that the manufacturing process needed to produce the patchwork mottling effect would have required a pressed mould, which could not have been used to create components with complex surfaces such as a cradle, plunger and handset.

The red AWA 162 came together with an absolutely perfectly matching red Siemens 25 bell-set – it is possible that in the mid-1930s, AWA used Siemens to supply the no 25 bell-set for its red 162 and likewise used standard Siemens mottled brown parts to complete its patchwork mottled brown 162.

An interesting feature of the Siemens handset is that it has a blank centre oval – previously, I have only seen blank ovals on post war handsets, but it makes sense that AWA would not want the centre piece of its display to bear another manufacturer’s logo.





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