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Phones in Color!

©2004-14 paulf.  All rights reserved.
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Western Electric Models:    200&300    5300   500    Princess    Trimline    Headsets

Although black was the most common color, early phones were sometimes painted in colors to blend with the customer's decor.  

When bakelite and plastic were used instead of metal and wood, it became possible to actually make the phones in colors.  The obvious advantage was that the color was in the material and did not wear off with frequent use.

Collectors keep asking the question, "What colors was it made in?"
and losing or forgetting the answer.

This page is a place to help keep track of what we've found.

Colors are divided into "standard production colors" found in the manufacturers' literature, and "other colors" that were available on a special order or custom basis.  Other colors also includes sets that are in collections, but haven't been found in catalogs yet.

The source column refers to the standard production colors.

This page does not include colors that were apparently added by homeowners or third party refurbishers.  For some outrageous examples of phone decorating, see the page, Why did they do that?

Most info here is from manufacturer catalogs and ads plus discussions on the ATCA and TCI listservs.  No claim is made regarding accuracy or completeness.

If you're enjoying looking at this level of detail, and haven't joined one of the phone clubs yet, see the links page.

This is a work in progress.  Please send comments, additions and corrections.

Last update: 24 May, 2014



 
 
Phone Model Family
Standard Production Colors
Other Colors
Source
Automatic Electric
Monophones
   1A thru 50
AE 50  with Chrome Trim
black, mahogany, chinese red, orchid, nile green, royal blue, maroon, walnut, old ivory

 Models 34, 40, 50 only - jade green
Found sets:

butterscotch, transparent

AE50 beige with handset clips
AE brochure

Catalogs - 4055C, D & F

Listservs
AE  80 desk,
   90 wall, 95 panel,
   182 Starlite,
   183 Spacemaker,
   192 Starlite Wall,
   880 Speakerphone,
   980 Styleline

GTE GSPs

Listservs
Kellogg bakelite
   700, 900, 925,
   990, 9917
Kellogg 900 "Pyramid" in black

Kellogg 925 in black
black
walnut (brown)

Catalog 10
Kellogg
   1000 "Redbar"
Kellogg 1000 "Redbar"
black
walnut (SelectOPhone system)
Found sets:

white, blue, ivory, red
pink ("given to salesmen")
Catalog 10
Catalog 11

Listservs
Kellogg
  
1000 "Clearbar"
Kellogg 1000 - Clearbar
--
Found sets:

black, green, red
white/purple_swirl
Listservs
Kellogg
   DK500
   500

DK500 red and pink (500-style shell)
00 Black
02 Red
03 Brown (Dark, Discontinued in 1957)
04 Yellow
05 Green
06 Blue (Dark, Discontinued in 1957)
07 Beige (Dark, Discontinued in 1957)
08 Gray (Dark, Discontinued in 1957)
09 Ivory

(After 1957)
10 Turquoise
11 Rose Pink
12 Aqua Blue
13 Light Beige
14 Light Gray
15 White
16 Sea Green
43 Orange

(Later)
44 Light Ash
45 Cocoa Brown
46 Harvest Gold
47 Cherry Red
Note: 2-tone sets were available for several years in the mid-1950s with colored housings and black handsets and dials.

1972 Catalog
TIMM

Listservs
Leich
   1xx "Convertible"
Leich 105 in pink
black
red, gray, yellow, light blue, white,
beige, green, turquoise, pink, ivory
Found sets:

dark gray, rose beige, dark blue and clear.

Note: 2-tone sets were available for several years in the mid-1950s with colored housings and black handsets and dials.
Leich Catalog, 1961

Listservs
Leich
 
North 7H6 Conversion

Leich Conversion from North H-series
(Makes a North H-series set
look like an AE80)

--  Black (no suffix)
A  Ivory
C  Beige
H  Turquoise
J   White
L   Pink

Leich Catalog, 1961
North
  
H-series  "Galion"
black, ivory, green, maroon, mahogany, royal blue, chinese red
Found sets:

White, tan
Brochure

Listservs
North
  
541
North in White
Black
Emperor Blue (B) [dark]
Tawny Green (G) [dark]
Chartreuse Yellow (Y)
Indian Ivory (J)
Coral Sand (T) [like WE rose beige]
Executive Gray (GR) [dark]
Richland Red (R)
 
Note: 2-tone sets were available for several years in the mid-1950s with colored housings and black handsets and dials.
Found sets:

pink, white


North Sales Guide -  3/56

Listservs
Northern Electric
    Uniphone
NE Uniphone Brown 
black
brown
Found sets:

Ivory (Found Set) -- Apparently never marketed, due to problems with warping and color stability.
Catalog T7
1947

Listservs
Northern Electric
   500 Series
-50  Ivory
-51  Moss Green
-53  Red
-56  Yellow
-58  White
-59  Pink
-60  Light Beige
-61  Light Grey
-62  Aqua Blue
-64  Turquoise   [added after 1964]

NE T-9
Catalog
1964

[See catalog
for colors by
model code]
Northern Electric
   Princess / Contessa
-58  White
-59  Pink
-60  Light Beige
-62  Aqua Blue
-64  Turquoise

NE T-9
Catalog
1964
Northern Telecom
    Contempra
    Imagination Sets

        NT Color Codes  (new window)

Contempra Leather  
almond, beige, biscuit, black, brown, burgundy, cafe au lait, clear, dark blue, pale blue, harvest gold, moss green, ivory, mauve (MD73), burnt orange, red, sienna (rust), dark turquoise (MD73), white, light yellow.

dark brown leather,  light brown leather, white leather swirl.

Found sets:

American Club Limited Editions

 Granit series (Looks like rock or marble):
  White, Ivory, Black, Green

 Woodgrain series
:
  Light Burlwood (Ivory), African Burlwood (Dark Brown), Oak
Listservs
Stromberg Carlson
   119x-series
SC 1197 in black
black
Found sets:

ivory, red, dark brown, lavendar, green, blue and clear
Ads

Listservs
SC
   1543-series
black

(like WE early 500-series colors)
101 Desert Beige (dark)
102 French Blue (dark)
103 Chestnut Brown (dark)
104 Dove Gray (dark)
105 Olive Green
106 Antique Ivory
107 Chinese Red
108 Canary Yellow

Note: 2-tone sets were available for several years in the mid-1950s with colored housings and black handsets and dials.

(like WE 1957 500-series colors)
rose pink, white, light beige, light grey, aqua blue

Click for T-3003 Color Brochure

SC Catalog

SC T-3003

Listservs
SC
   500
   2500
   Miniwall (rotary)

   Slenderet (Similar to WE Trimline below)


BLK Black
BLU Blue
GRN Green
LGR Lime Green
CBR Cocoa Brown
CRD Cherry Red
ORG Orange
HGD Harvest Gold
BGE Beige
ASH Ash
IVY Ivory
WHT White

(Limited Edition Swirl Sets in Slenderet Desk models only -- ca. 1978-82)   -   Click for Swirl Ad

CRS Cherry Swirl (red/white)
CHS Chocolate Swirl (brown/white)
BSS Butterscotch Swirl (yellow/white)
MTS Mint Swirl (green/white)
Found sets:

   Orange/white Swirl
   Blue/white Swirl
   Black/white Swirl

   Brown/yellow Swirl
   Blue/yellow Swirl
   Yellow/green Swirl
SC Catalogs

SC T916
Issue 1 3/78

Listservs
Western Electric
   200 & 300-series
     metal, painted

(-xx = WE color code)
WE Color Code Chart

   D1 mounting (1930-38)

WE D1 with E1 handset 


   300-series (1936-54)

WE 302 in black

Model numbers see:
WE 300-series types

-3 Black
-4 Ivory
-6 Old Brass
-7 Statuary Bronze
-8 Oxidized Silver
-12 Dark Gold

After early 1930s:
-16 Old Rose
-18 Dark Blue
-19 Gray-Green
-20 Pekin Red

Late 211s only:
-50  Ivory
-51  Moss Green
-53  Red
-56  Yellow
-58  White
-59  Pink
-60  Light Beige
-61  Light Grey
-62  Aqua Blue
-64  Turquoise
- - - - -
75th Anniversary Reissue:
(~1951)
D1 base with F1 handset, plastic fingerwheel, matching subset.
From service centers.


"Continental"
Painted in 302 colors
   Most common: Ivory,
      Green and Red.

"Silver Continental" - silver  base with ivory painted or plastic handset, ivory subset.

"Imperial" - Gold base with ivory painted or plastic handset, ivory subset.
- - - - -

Found sets:

300-series: ( '37 only)
Yale Blue
Medium Brown

C30.011, I6
Addendum, i2

Listservs
WE
   300-series
     thermoplastic

    WE 302 red
-3 Black
-4 Ivory
-16 Old Rose*
-18 Dark Blue*
-19 Gray-Green*
-20 Pekin Red*

 *desk set only

2-tone 302s in early 500-series colors (1954-57) [C32.502, i8]
-50A  Ivory
-51A  Moss Green
-52A Gray
-53A  Red
-54A  Brown
-55A  Beige
-56A  Yellow
-57A  Blue
-29 Transparent
   (1939 World's Fair)
- - - - -

Found sets:

Late 302 housings in 500 colors with painted matching handsets (1954):
-50  Ivory
-51  Moss Green
-53  Red
-55  Beige
C30.011

C32.502, i8

Late 302s reported on Listservs
WE  5300-series (1955-)

WE 5302 with F1 handset

Model numbers see:
WE 300-series types
-3 black
Found sets:

pink, aqua, biege, white,
red, green, clear

(With G3 handsets)
C32.567
C32.568
502-400-101

Listservs
WE
   500-series (1949-86)

WE 544 keyset in gray

Model numbers see:
WE 500-series types



   1500-series (1964-67)

WE1512 Secretarial Set

Model numbers see:
WE 1500-series types

   2500-series (1968-)

WE 2514 with headphone jack in black

Model numbers see:
WE 2500-series types
Note: The first color name is typically the one found in the initial BSPs.  Other names were used in marketing literature and often differed among the Operating Companies.

Note: Dates are based on first appearance in marketing literature. Sets may be found dated the previous year.


-3 Black

New in 1953 (Black handset, dial & cord):
-50 Ivory, Cameo Ivory, Classic Ivory.  (MD before 1963)
-51 Green, Moss Green, Mistletoe Green, Sage Green,  Colonial Green.
-52 Gray, Dark Gray, Oxford Gray, Charcoal Gray, Dove Gray. (MD* 1957) 
-53 Red, Cherry Red, Cardinal Red, Fiesta Red. (MD before 1963)

New in 1954 (full color or two-tone):
-54 Brown, Mahogany Brown, Briar Brown, Autumn Brown. (MD 1957,
          continued for keysets for several years) 
-55 Beige, Dark Beige, Rose Beige, Rosewood Beige. (MD 1957) 
-56 Yellow, Canary Yellow, Sunlight Yellow, Pastel Yellow.  (NP* 1963)
-57 Blue, Medium Blue, Dark Blue, Mediterranean Blue, True Blue, Capri Blue, Shadow Blue. (MD 1957) 

New in 1957 (two-tone MD):
-58 White.
-59 Pink, Rose Pink.   (MD ca. 1978)
-60 Beige, Light Beige.
-61 Gray, Light  Gray.   (NP 1963, MD ca. 1978 - except data sets)
-62 Blue, Aqua  Blue.
 
New in 1964
-64 Turquoise   (NP 1963, MD ca. 1978)

Late Production (80s, 90s)
-93 Lemon Yellow
-104 Chocolate Brown 
-105 Dark Green, Hunter Green 
-106 Lime Green 
-115 Royal Blue, Dark Blue
-123 Butter Yellow 
-124 Rust
-145 Blue, Teal
-265 Ultralight Gray
-304 Mocha Brown
-305 Country Blue
- ??  Gun Metal Grey (Oxford Gray)
- ??  Peach
- ??  Salmon

  *NP = Nonpromoted Color - supplied on request  (see 500-120-100.  May differ for wall and keysets.)
  *MD = Manufacture Discontinued
-29 Transparent

- - - - - - - - - -

Note: Two-tone sets were available for several years in the mid-1950s with colored housings and black handsets and dials.

They used the same color codes with the suffix A.  (e.g. -53A for two-tone red.)

Sets have also been found that have matching housings and handsets, but black dials with metal fingerwheels.

After the MD date, continued demand for 2-tone sets was satisfied by conversion of black sets using colored housings.  Work was performed at the Distribution Centers.

- - - - - - - - - -

Sets were painted for presentation sets and for special orders.  Clear number plates were painted from behind with matching color.  Reported sets found in:

-7  Bronze
-12 Dark Gold
-63 Gold

      Shiny Gold
      Shiny Chrome
      Orange
C14.002

500-120-100
  Issue 4, 7/63
  Issue 5, 4/65

Listservs
(Observation)

AT&T Press Releases
WE
   Princess (1959-)

WE 701B pink

Model numbers see:
WE Princess types
-58 White 
-59 Rose Pink 
-60 Light Beige
-62 Aqua Blue
-64 Turquoise  (NP* 1963, MD* 1970)

New in 1963
-3 Black  (NP 1963)
-51 Moss Green  (NP 1963)
-56 Pastel Yellow (NP 1963)
-61 Light Gray  (NP 1963, MD 1970)

New in 1967
-50 Ivory
-53 Cherry Red

Late Production (80s)
-104 Chocolate Brown
-145 Blue, Teal
-255 Cameo Green
-293 Slate Blue
- ??  Peach

  *NP = Nonpromoted Color - supplied on request
  *MD = Manufacture Discontinued
-29 Transparent

"Imperial" - Gold or Chromed base with ivory or black handset.
Listservs
(Observation)

500-120-100
  Issue 4, 7/63
  Issue 5, 4/65

R. Mountjoy
WE
   Design Line
WE Country Junction

Model numbers see:
WE Design Line types
Colors by model included in the table at:

   WE Design Line Sets


WE
   Trimline (1964-)

-3 Black (NP 1963)
-50 Ivory (NP 1963)
-51 Moss Green, Mistletoe Green (NP 1963)
-53 Cherry Red  (NP 1963)
-56 Pastel Yellow  (NP 1963)
-58 White 
-59 Rose Pink 
-60 Light Beige 
-61 Light Gray  (NP 1963)
-62 Aqua Blue
-64 Turquoise

-104 Chocolate Brown
-105 Dark Green, Hunter Green
-111 Harvest Gold
-114 Bright Red 
-115 Royal Blue, Dark Blue
-124 Rust
-139 Charcoal Gray
-142 Midnight Blue
-143 Burgundy Red
-144 Cinnibar Red
-145 Teal Blue
-146 Dark Teaberry Pink
-147 Creamy Apricot Pink
-170 Mocha
-302 Green, Forest
-303 Yellow, Sunny
-305 Blue, Country
- ??  Peach
-29 Transparent
Listservs

500-120-100
  Issue 5, 4/65
WE
Merlin

Merlin 7303
-03 Black
-58 White
-104 Chocolate Brown
-139 Charcoal Gray
-142 Midnight Blue
-143 Burgundy
-144 Cinnabar

Listservs
WE
Headsets

52-type
in -3 Black,  -51 Moss Green, -53 Cherry Red, -56 Pastel Yellow, -58 White

53-type in  -3 Black (clear or black caps)

60 and 61-types in -3 Black, -50 Ivory

-50 Ivory, -60 Light Beige
Listservs
028-360-501

028-361-501

028-362-501
028-363-501
  
 

To view 1984 Western Electric Color Charts, follow these links: 
For Phones , or For Components .

(Thanks to Todd Bernstein and David Massey for providing these charts!)


Thanks for contributions from Arthur P. Bloom, Paul Fassbender, Steph Kerman, William Wright, Richard Gerber and Dave Haber.

Please send comments or photos of your favorite phones to: 

Email address



©2004-14 paulf.  All rights reserved.