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North H-series Desk Sets and Copies

©2002-14 paulf.  All rights reserved.
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North Desk Set & copy Will the real NORTH Desk Set please stand up? 

From a distance they look identical.  On closer inspection, the phone on the left is a copy.  The case is unmarked, and of inferior quality.  The base and internals are from a "recycled" WE 302 (turned sideways).  The dial is an AE, which is commonly found on the "real thing."  Even the handset is a genuine North -- although I've seen them with Western Electric F1 or Automatic Electric handsets -- whatever was available.

North Bottom View

WE 302 Bottom View

So, how do you tell them apart?
    First, get to the bottom of things! 

NORTH DESK SET -- Bottom View

WESTERN ELECTRIC 302 -- Bottom View

Note: This is not a foolproof test, as a refurbisher may have used North parts.

North Copy with WE base
How did they get the Western Electric or North bases to fit?

Note in the photos above that the position of the screws on the right edge are different.

The clever makers of the knock-off housings simply included positions in their housings to accept either screw position.

In this example, an AE dial and replacement ringer were used.

See how North parts were disguised as an AE80.  Click here.
North Desk Set -- back

North Copy

North Copy by TEC

Then look at the back...

NORTH BAKELITE SETS have distinctive vents, a generous hand grip and the cases are well marked, although in small letters, along the bottom edge. 

Click here to see other, less common,  North sets.

COPIES are usually plain (or have a non-north logo, see below) and have a small handgrip.

Dials may have a visible external bolt on the fingerstop.

Here's a 1970s vintage ad from one of the companies making the "copies".
Some have their logo embossed in the plastic on the back of the base.

North Copy Ad

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©2002-14 paulf.  All rights reserved.