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Letter to


Dear Jerry,

Dear Jerry,

I have recently obtained a "Berthon Ader" telephone which I believe to be a reasonably rare item these days. Whilst I quite like it the way it is, I feel it would better suit my needs if it were converted to automatic working. My question is this, are they a particularly difficult conversion? If not, could you give me a quick rundown on how to achieve the finished product.

Best wishes.....

M. Berthon.

Bon jour, M. Berthon,

I was sitting in the lounge room having a conversation with the cat as to whether the blue pills were to be taken before or after the red ones when I received your letter. I decided to skip my medication all together, put on my beret, grab a bread stick and some garlic, and reply as soon as possible.

You are quite right in assuming that the Berthon Ader is a rare telephone these days but with a few modifications or "fix ups" as I like to call them, your phone cannot only be "rare" but "medium rare" to "well and truly done".

Don't be put off by the fact that you are working on a French telephone. It is only a telephone after all and the fact that it is French should automatically tell you that it needs that "certain touch" anyway.

On closer examination you should note that the "Berthon" should hold no special mystique (that's a French word by the way), over the dedicated fixer upper. It is only a rudimentary wooden box, not dissimilar to your common or garden variety of wooden bell box, and we all know that they deserve to die, don't we?.

Assemble your tool kit, you know the drum - eight pound hammers, cold chisels, etc., and you are ready to begin. Open the box and remove the generator. This leaves enough room for the 800 series circuit board and the dial. You can probably utilize the existing bell motor though. This is a relatively quick conversion unless you are one of those "mamby pamby" telephone fixer uppers who prefer to refinish the box as well. I happen to like the look of flaking french polish myself.

By putting the little nickel escutcheon on the front of the phone, the French company has done the next bit for you. Prise off the little plate and you will find that you don't need to drill a pilot hole for your hole saw. Drill the hole, fit the dial and throw in some wiring and "voila".

Now, you are probably thinking that as this is all going so smoothly, what about le Berthon handset, Jerry? Simply put it in the recycling bin as they are far too difficuly to put capsules in. There are, however, several options open to you, but the one I prefer is to screw a large cup hook into the receiver end of a 300 series handset. Beautiful!

So there you have it. Not all that difficult really. Must dash as I'm having lunch with someone who claims to be "De Gaul".

Viva le Berthon!


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