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  "Imagination" Telephones

by Northern Telecom

Talia, leather  Kangaroo, denim 
American Club
              - Woodgrain  Athena  Alexander Graham Plane, Delta

MODELS ON THIS PAGE:         AG_Plane    Athena    Contempra    Contempra_Talia    Contemprette    Dawn    Diplomat    Diplomat_Message    Ditto    Doodle    Kangaroo    Rendezvous                
RELATED PAGES ON THIS SITE:     Contempra Telephones     COLORS
 Western Electric Design Line    TeleConcepts    TeleQuest    Lamps

Imagination Logo

During the 1970s phone subscribers were permitted to own decorative housings for their phones for the first time.
Imagination sets, introduced in 1977, were Northern Telecom's line of decorative phones. 

The line was distributed in the US through NT's country headquarters in Nashville, TN and using distributors,
such as TeleConcepts, North Supply and Centel.

This page contains photos and info from NT and distributor catalogs
with a few additions from my collection and photos from site visitors.
It is presented as a reference to help identify some of the models sold in the 1970s and early 80s.

You can click on the following link to open a list of NT Color Codes in a separate window to use as a reference while viewing color references on this page.  The window may be manually resized and positioned on the desktop to be visible with this window.
Open Color Code List in new window for reference.

If you prefer to stay in one window, the list may be viewed by clicking on links like this
Color codes: which will jump to a copy of the list on this page.  You may then return to the chart by using your browser "back" or back arrow functions.

The color palette changed frequently.  Any single list is unlikely to show all colors produced.
Colors shown are added from multiple lists found to date.  More will likely be found in the future.
Please report any other colors found in documentation or on sets in your collection.

Early sets were hardwired.  Later sets had modular connectors on handset and line cords.
The "A" model number suffix in the table below was changed to "F" after adoption of the eTechnology electronic dial in 1980.
eDigitone 2500 and eDigipulse 3500 sets were added to all tone styles in 1981.

Sources include:
Northern Electric T9 Catalog, 9/71 (Early Contempra)
TeleConcepts catalog "Today's Phones Today" effective January 5, 1979
NT Product Handbook, 6/81
North Supply Catalog , Fall 1982
Centel Catalog dated 1/83
NT loose-leaf catalog effective January 1, 1985 (Most sets in retired section.)

Please send additions and corrections.


Alexander Graham Plane, Orange

Alexander Graham Plane,

Alexander Graham Plane, White,
Alexander Graham Plane

Rotary dial (Model 450).

Most commonly found in two-tone pumpkin and orange.

Camouflage model sports a gray bottom with painted upper plastics and decals for engine exhaust, wing stars and tail flags.

Plain white model has a white dial center cap. 

The white set was also customized with decals for several airlines, including Delta (shown) and Eastern.
Athena with

Athena, drawer open

Tone dial (Model 2000) or Digipulse (3000).     (added in 1979)

Available in a basic model with bell ringer and no fancy features.

Upgraded models include:
   Electronic ringer.
   Dial illuminated with a small battery powered bulb in the cradle.  The light goes out after 15 seconds to preserve battery power (9 vdc).
   Lamp provides a visual ringing signal.
   10-number memory with drawer for number list.

Color codes: -20, -29, -82.

Open Color Code List in new window for reference.



Contempra, Offhook
Contempra   (Introduced in 1969)

Rotary (Model 100A) or tone dial (2100A).
No dial (100C)

Northern's version of the dial-in-handset phone (e.g. Western Electric's Trimline).  The Contempra preceeded the Imagination series my many years, but was marketed as part of the series.

Mechanical bell ringer.
Desk or wall mounted.

View Contempra model variations, including 2-line, message waiting and speakerphone here.

Color codes 1972:  -20, -21, -22, -23, -24, -25, -50, -51, -60.
Color codes 1981:  -14, -20, -23, -24, -25, -26- ,29, -31, -50, -60, -67, -68.
Color codes 1982:  -14, -20, -24, -26, -31, -60, -67, -68.
Color codes 1985:  -20, -26, -67, -82.

Other colors found:  -03, -84, -90

Open Color Code List in new window for reference.
Talia, leather
Contempra Talia (USA)

Rotary (Model 100A) or tone dial (2100A).

The Contempra covered in handcrafted stitched leather in Italy.

Available in dark brown, light brown and green leather.

Color codes: -46, -47, green leather.

Open Color Code List in new window for reference.
Contemprette, White

Contemprette, Yellow

Tone dial (Model 3100C), Digipulse dial (9293).

Contempra-style handset on a narrower base with electronic ringer.

Color codes: -20, -26, -31, -60, -67, -68.

Open Color Code List in new window for reference.
Dawn, White


Rotary dial (Model 440).

Could be enhanced with optional gold or chrome trim ring around the base.

Color codes: -14, -20, -24, -26, -29, -51, -67, -68.

Open Color Code List in new window for reference.

Tone dial (Model 2010) or Digipulse (3010).    (added in 1979)

Color codes: -03, -14, -25,  -26, -84.

Open Color Code List in new window for reference.
Diplomat, Message Waiting
Diplomat, Message Waiting

Tone dial (Model 2010).    (added in 1979)

Color codes: -03, -14, -26, -84.

Open Color Code List in new window for reference.

Tone dial (Model 2432).

Concealed note pad and pencil. (Doodle successor.)

Electronic ringer.

Convertible by user for desk or wall use.

Color codes: -26, -67, -82, -90.

Open Color Code List in new window for reference.

Desk Rotary (Model 430), tone dial (2430) or Digipulse (3430).
Wall Rotary (431), tone dial (2431) or Digipulse (3431).

Note pad and pencil holder.

Desk and wall models

Color codes: -14, -20, -24, -26, -29, -31, -51, -67, -68.

Open Color Code List in new window for reference.
Kangaroo, Corduroy


                Tone, Texas A&M

Doodle with a beanbag-style pouch with side pockets.  Common fabrics included brown leatherette, tan corduroy and blue denim.

The pouch was available in the Kangaroo package or seperately as an add-on for the Doodle.

Custom pouches were made for universities and company events.

Color codes: -14, -20, -24, -26, -29, -31, -51, -67, -68.

Open Color Code List in new window for reference.

Pouch order codes:
    Blue Denim: PO565820
    Brown Leatherette: PO565821
    Tan Corduroy: PO565822

Kangaroo - Pouch Bottom -
Rendezvous, Pastel Blue

Tone dial (Model 2020) or Digipulse (3020).
    (added in 1979)

Color codes: -14, -20, -24, -62, -67, -68, -82, -84.

Open Color Code List in new window for reference.


These 2-digit codes appear as a suffix on the ordering code.
Published in the 1970s and early 80s (source list above).
-03 black
-09 cafe-au-lait (Diplomat)
-14 cafe-au-lait
-20 warm white
-21 deep turquoise (MD73)
-22 mauve (MD73)
-23 bright red
-24 pale yellow
-25 deep blue
-26 cocoa brown
-29 orange
-31 harvest gold
-35 chameleon gray

-46 dark brown leather
-47 light brown leather
-50 ivory
-51 green
-52 Oxford gray
-53 red
-56 yellow
-58 white
-59 rose pink
-60 beige
-61 light gray
-62 aqua blue
-64 turquoise
-67 almond
-68 sienna (orange)
-82 pastel blue
-84 burgundy
-90 biscuit
-   green leather


The American Club Ltd. provided upscale versions of the Contempra sets made in Nashville, TN for the American market.

Handsets were covered with leather and housings and handset faces were painted in patterns to simulate wood or marble.

Sets were finished with engraved brass "Limited Edition" plaques on the bottom and packaged in fancy boxes.

The paint typically shows wear on the handset and cradle from use, often revealing the color of the plastic underneath.

White Set
                  in box     American Club Label

                  Club label and Brass Plaque

American Club,
                White (1)    American Club,
                White (2)
American Club, Ltd.

White and Ivory Marble
American Club
                Set, Green (1)   American Club
                Set, Green (2)
American Club, Ltd.

Green Marble
American Club,
                Brown Marble   American Club,
                Brown marble, offhook
American Club, Ltd.

Brown Marble
American Club,
                Brown Wood (1)   American Club,
                Brown Wood (2)
American Club, Ltd.

Brown Wood
    - Light Burlwood
    - African Burlwood
    - Oak

Please send comments or photos of your favorite phones to: 

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