Old BT 746 Telephones

With a big increase in the interest of old Vintage BT telephones , such as the 746 Telephone produced in 1970’s and 1980’s, many new manufacturers have flooded the market with modern replicas of this iconic telephone.

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 inexpensive reproductions. This is particularly true of the sound of the bells, the modern 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 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”.

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 telephones that have either been restored or re-cased, provided you don’t mind using a rotary dial (which I believe is part of their charm).

Original 746 telephones, restored or re-cased  (new plastic case but the original internals and dial) are usually more expensive than the modern 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.

Red 746 Telephone
Original Vintage 746 Telephone (with refurbished case)

Clear 746 Retro Telephone


Abdy Antique 746 Telephones

The model 746 Telephone was first introduced into service in the UK in 1967. This was an improved version of the previous 706 model. The 746 case had an integral handle which removes the need for a separate handle (as used on the earlier 706 telephones). The case styling was slightly different from the 706 although it retained the same overall look and feel. The same colour options were available that had become popular with the 706 range. The 746 was later produced with the new style plug type lead (PST and renumbered as was known as the 8746) this was also converted to high impedance bells to work reliably on the new system of wiring.

746 Telephones produced before the mid 1980’s that do not say 8746 on the base require correct conversion and adjustment to prevent them interfering with the telephone line and potentially causing intermittent problems with both the telephone and Broadband.

Retro 706 Phone

The classic British Retro Telephone is the 706 (made in the 1960’s).

Abdy Retro Phones

These classic 1960’s 706 telephones were the first modern Plastic Telephones in the UK to be offered in a range of standard colours, such as ivory, red, green, concord blue, topaz yellow as well as black.

Before this the standard colour for a British telephone was Black, and although ivory, red and green were made they were very rare, less than 1:10,000 of all the Bakelite telephones in use in the UK were coloured rather than standard Black.