Sunday, 7 May 2017

Bakelite Telephone Restoration

Bakelite Telephones are Iconic pieces of British History and luckily they can often be restored to 99.9% of their former glory provide the Bakelite is not chipped or cracked.

Although Bakelite is a Brittle material unlike modern plastics it is very resistant to ageing caused by acids pollutants and (UV) sunlight, making it extremely suitable for restoration. You just need lots of patience and the know how.

This 60 year old 1953 British Bakelite Telephone (Model Number 314) was restored form its original state, see photograph of this vintage telephone below.

Above Fully Restored vintage 314 Phone, Below the same Bakelite Telephone before the restoration process.

The Bakelite Telephone Restoration process can be broken down into three main areas.

  • Cleaning and Polishing Materials, such as Bakelite Polish etc, this is 10% of the total process. Paste polishing No 5 was originally used by the GPO back in the 1950's and in our opinion it is still the best Bakelite polish on the market. Luckily it is still available from from Greygate Chemicals

  • Elbow Grease (Physical Effort) = 40% of the process, although having access to the correct slow speed workbench buffing machine will help speed up the restoration process and provide a much better finish.

  • Time and Patience = 50% of the process. For example the restoration of the Bakelite Telephone above took 9.5 hours of work over a three day time period. Even with the right tools, experience and compounds you are looking at a minimum of 9 hours to restore a Bakelite phone to this kind of condition.
Below are close up photographs of the vintage telephone restoration in detail. See if you can figure out which ones are the vintage telephone before restoration and which are the ones of the Bakelite phone after restoration :-)

Front View of the Bakelite 314 Telephone, with the rare extra 3 chrome buttons.

The Bakelite Telephone Handset, before and after restoration.

Right side of this beautiful Vintage Telephone.

The Classic horn shaped (model no164) Bakelite telephone mouthpiece.

Rear view of the vintage telephone. Notice the reflection in the restored Bakelite.

No paints, coloured polishes or varnishes were used, the Restored Bakelite telephone is just that. The only extra /new parts are:

  • High Quality British made cotton Braided Handset Cord.
  • Metal 314 Badge (Bell On, Call Exchange, Bell Off)
  • Replacement Dial Number plate (Very high quality, made in the UK).
We hope this helps or encourages people to restore these iconic antique telephones.Remember patience is the key.
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