With a big increase in the interest of old Vintage BT/GPO telephones, such as the 746 Telephone produced in 1970’s and 1980’s, many new manufacturers have flooded the market with modern Chinese replicas of this iconic telephone.
However, don’t be fooled one of the greatest strengths of the original vintage telephone was its robust construction and the superb British engineering of the internal components. Unfortunately, this can’t be matched in these modern inexpensive reproductions. This is particularly true of the sound of the bells, the modern tiny bells used in these replicas are “vastly” inferior in terms of quality and sound of the bell ring. Some modern GPO 746 replicas are not even the same basic shape as the originals, apparently based instead on an American 500 series telephone.
Many people who buy these inexpensive replica 746 telephones (made in China) are often very disappointed in these new telephones, as they remembered the original old telephones fondly for the high quality of construction, the substantial weight and the lovely sound of the classic and distinctive bell “ring ring”. The genuine original 746 telephones have a beautiful large complex bell mechanism made of high-quality metals whereas the modern replicas use small inexpensive bells. The sound difference between the two if you put them side by side is huge!
As always do your homework, if you have a nostalgic desire for one of these iconic old BT telephones research is the key. You can still buy these original vintage 746 telephones that have either been restored or re-cased, provided you don’t mind using a rotary dial (which I believe is actually part of their charm).
Original 746 telephones, restored or re-cased (new plastic case but the original internals and dial) are usually far more expensive than the modern foreign made replicas, however I believe they represent far better value for money as essentially they are still original and have all the iconic characteristics people remember in their vintage telephone (especially the bell mechanism). Plus unlike the genuine vintage telephones the replica’s which have zero collectable value.