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by Denys Parker

I thought I'd keep those brain cells going while you are hot after the Christmas/New Year break.

Have a look at the photo and the circuit. This one has to be rare surely. I've had it a long time but have never cleaned it up.

It is a 332 Tropical with 'MADE IN ENGLAND' on a gold sticker and 'P.M.G. 38' in white on a black rectangle on the base. There are no tracks on the base for a drawer though the blanking piece is there. The circuit, which is in good condition for a change, is placed inside on the base where the drawer would go. The case is marked C over another C BA. The Dial and handset are later replacements from the 50's so no clues there.

The capacitor is marked EC/95733/C. The Bell Coils P25326. The Induction Coil looks like a BPO 22. The wiring is silk & cotton covered.

The most interesting parts are the terminal strips, which are brown fibreboard. There are 6 terminals only on the main one, L1, L2, E & M, R & MR. The dial terminal strip has 4 terms only. Brown & Slate from the dial are connected under Term 3.

The bullet shaped plunger tip on the cradle switch is also brown, not black.

The cradle switch is totally different to anything I've seen before and is positioned on the chassis above the main terminal strip and not off to the side. The hole in the chassis between the switch and the terminal strip is quite large.

I have an October 1938 "Telecom. Journal of Australia" which has a good article on the "about to be introduced in Australia" 332AT which was expected here about mid 1939. This article shows good photos and circuits and is of the 332 we know with a 13 terminal main block and 5 for the dial made out of black bakelite or ebonite.

I reckon I have a very early 1938 332 made by GEC. I have never seen another with that cradle switch or another "Tropical". It may have even been a trial phone for the PMG before they finalised the design of the 332. What do you think? What can you collectors tell me about TROPICAL telephones? The WAR effort must have slowed the export of 332 types to Australia.

I will have to go through what I have left in my collection to find the next oldest.

Denys Parker.

Feedback received from Andrew Emerson (UK) on 18th March......

"As regards Denys Parker's tropical 332, I can confirm it is a GEC production. The KS prefix on the drawing number is unique to GEC's Coventry factory and the slim transfer with 'Made in England' in gold is found an all kinds of GEC products that were made for other customers who would object to the GEC emblem.
This transfer was used on products made for GEC's subsidiaries (such as Reliance Telephones Ltd), for electrical wholesalers who sold these products as their own brand (applies chiefly to intercom telephones installed in blocks of flats and high class residences) and for the railways."

Andy Emmerson
Telecomms Heritage Group, UK.

Feedback received from Martin Barnett (UK) in August 2014......

"I have a GEC tropical 332, the only date on it is on the dial dated C 1952, otherwise internally apart from the later induction coil 27 in lieu of the early 22 the internal layout is identical. I think this means it was a proprietory GEC layout. It would appear then that PMG bought early 332 from different suppliers in 1938. I also have here in the UK both a green, made by Siemens, and black 332 made by ATM which PMG markings and the standard GPO internal layout.
In any event the GEC with coil 22 is early, coil 22 disappears by 1940."

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