Original Chrome Telephone Dial Identification

The easiest way to identify a "Fake" chrome (steel) dial steel used on a Vintage Bakelite GPO telephone is to look at the shape of the finger stop (see the pictures below). Most collectors of old telephones and antique telephone restorers/dealers refer to these dials as fake when used in pre 1960's British telephones, such as the 200 and 300 series Bakelite telephones. However to be fair the word fake is not totally accurate. In reality these dials are based on a more modern plastic body dial known as a Dial number 21. So rather than fake dials they are really a more modern poorer quality dials designed for a telephone of a later plastic telephone era, rather than a telephone of the earlier Bakelite telephone era.

Some of the "fake" dials fitted to Bakelite Telephones have very poor quality chrome effect finger plates (thought to be made in the 1980's/1990's). Some have plastic bodied dials, with chrome/steel finger plates that were recovered from Payphones (coinbox telephones) such as the Telephone No 705. These predominantly 1960's/1970's coin box telephone dials were known by the GPO as 21CA (Steel) dials.

It should be noted that these plastic bodied with steel finger plate payphone 21CA dials were NEVER used by the GPO/BT to replace faulty original metal bodied chrome (steel) dials in Bakelite Telephones. If a GPO engineer in the 1960's onwards did not have a genuine replacement chrome (steel) metal body dial available they would have only fitted a back plastic finger plate version of this dial known as a 21CA (Colour).

WARNING: If you see one of these "Fake" dials on a vintage British Bakelite telephone be very careful, as this is often not the only discrepancy with the antique telephone. For example these fake dials are often used to disguise non British dial Telephones such as the poorer quality Indian made version, which originally would have had an very different telephone dial.

Note: This angular, flat ended finger stop would be correct if it was on a plastic dial (21CA) used on the later retro 1960's 706 model telephones, or the 1970's and 80's 746 plastic retro telephones (dial 21FA with transparent finger plate).

Fake Chrome Telephone Dial Replica chrome dial, identified by the angular shape of the chrome "finger stop". These replicas were made from the late 1970's to the present day. Significantly less valuable than the original chrome dials shown below.
Type 10 chrome telephone dial Genuine type 10 chrome telephone dial (from the 1940's). Used on antique bakelite telephones. Notice the wide based sharks tooth shape of the finger stop.
Type 12 chrome telephone dial Genuine type 12 chrome telephone dial (from the 1950's). In character for all vintage telephones. Notice the thinner sharks tooth shaped finger stop.

As mentioned the genuine metal body chrome dial is the most important part of these old Bakelite Telephones, so please be aware of this when you are selling or buying a British Bakelite GPO Phone.