|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.
|So, how do you tell them apart?
First, get to the bottom of things!
NORTH DESK SET -- Bottom View
WESTERN ELECTRIC 302 -- Bottom View
|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.
|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.
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.
Some have their logo embossed in the plastic on the back of the base.