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Gizmos A - Z

Accoson Sphygmomanometer

Acoustic Coupler

Advance PP5 Stabilised PSU

Aibo ERS-111 Robotic Pet

Aiwa LX-110 Linear Turntable

Aiwa TP-32A Tape Recorder

Alcatel Minitel 1 Videotex

Aldis Folding Slide Viewer

Alpha-Tek Pocket Radio

Airlite 71 Aviation Headset

AKG K290 Surround 'Phones

Amerex Alpha One Spycorder

Amstrad NC100 Notepad

AN/PRC-6 Walkie Talkie

Astatic D-104 Desk Microphone

Apple Macintosh SE FDHD

Avia Electronic Watch

Aitron Wrist Radio

Aiwa TP-60R Tape Recorder

Amstrad CPC 464 Computer

AlphaTantel Prestel

Atari 2600 Video Game

Atari 600XL Home Computer

Audiotronic LSH 80 'Phones

AVO Multiminor

AVO Model 8 Multimeter

Bambino Challenger Radio

Bandai Solar LCD Game

Baygen Freeplay Lantern

Bellwood, Bond Spycorder

Benkson 79 Mini Tape Recorder

Betacom BF1 Pianotel Phone

Binatone Digivox Alarm

Binatone Long Ranger 6 CB

Binatone Mk6 Video Game

Bio Activity Translator

Biri-1 Radiation Monitor

Bowmar LED Digital Watch

Boots CRTV-50 TV,Tape, Radio

Brydex Ever Ready Lighter

BSB Squarial

BT Genie Phone

BT Rhapsody Leather Phone

Cambridge Z88 Computer

Candlestick Telephone

Canon Ion RC-260 Camera

Cartex TX-160 Multiband Radio

Casio VL-Tone Keyboard

CD V-700 Geiger Counter

CD V-715 Survey Meter

CDV-717 Survey Meter

CD V-742 Pen Dosimeter

Channel Master 6546

Chinon 722-P Super 8 Cine

Citizen Soundwich Radio Watch

Citizen ST555 Pocket TV

Clairtone Mini Hi Fi Radio

CocaCola Keychain Camera

Coke Bottle AM Radio

Commodore 64 Home PC

Commodore PET 2001-N

Computer Novelty AM/FM Radio

Compact Marine SX-25

Concord F20 Sound Camera

Coomber 2241-7 CD Cassette

Craig 212 Tape Recorder

Craig TR-408 tape recorder

Dansette Richmond Radio

Daiya TV-X Junior  Viewer

Dancing Coke Can

Dawe Transistor Stroboflash

Diamond Rio Media Player

Dictograph Desk Phone

Direct Line Phones x2

Dokorder PR-4K Mini Tape

Eagle Ti.206 Intercom

Eagle T1-206 Intercom

Eagle International Loudhailer

Electrolysis Cell

Electron 52D Spycorder

Electronicraft Project Kit

Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart Radio

EMS Stammering Oscillator

Ericsson Ericofon Cobra Phone

Etalon Luxor Light Meter

Euromarine Radiofix Mk 5

Exactus Mini Add Calculator

Fairylight Morse Set

FEP Microphone & Earphone

Ferguson FC08 Camcorder

Ferguson FHSC 1 Door Cam

Fi-Cord 101 Tape Recorder

Fi-Cord 202 Tape Recorder

Fidelity HF42 Record Player

Fisher-Price 826 Cassette

Fleetwood Globe AM Radio

Franklin LF-390 Guitar Radio

Gaertner Pioneer Geiger Counter

GE 3-5805 AM CB Radio

GEC Transistomatic

GEC Voltmeter

General Radiological NE 029-02

Giant Light Bulbs

Giant Watch-Shaped  Radio

Gowlland Auriscope

GPO Headset No. 1

GPO Keysender No 5

GPO RAF Microphone No. 3

GPO Telephone Series 300

GPO Telephone Type 746

GPO 12B/1 Test Meter

GPO Trimphone

GPO Ring Microphone No 2

Gramdeck Tape Recorder

Grandstand Video Console

Grundig EN3 Dictation

Grundig Memorette

H&G Crystal Radio

Hacker Radio Hunter RP38A

Hacker Radio Mini Herald

Hanimex Disc Camera

Harvard Batalion Radio

Henica H-138 Radio Lighter

Hero HP-101 Intercom

Hitachi MP-EG-1A Camcorder

Hitachi WH-638 Radio

Hitachi VM-C1 Camcorder

HMV 2210 Tape Recorder

Homey HR-408 Recorder

Horstmann Pluslite Task Lamp

Ianero Polaris Spotlight

Ingersoll XK505 TV, Radio

International HP-1000 Radio

Internet Radio S-11

James Bond TV Watch

Jasa AM Wristwatch Radio

Juliette LT-44 Tape Recorder

Jupiter FC60 Radio

JVC GR-C1 Camcorder

JVC GX-N7E Video Camera



King Folding Binoculars

Kodak Brownie Starflash

Kodak 56X Instamatic

Kodak 100 Instamatic

Kodak EK2 'The Handle'

Kodak EK160 Instant Camera

Kodak Pony 135

Kvarts DRSB-01 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-88 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-90 Geiger Count

Kyoto S600 8-Track Player

La Pavoni Espresso Machine

Macarthys Surgical AM Radio

Magnetic Core Memory 4kb

Maplin YU-13 Video Stabilizer

Marlboro Giant  AM Radio

Mattel Intellivision

Maxcom Cordless Phone

McArthur Microscope OU

Memo Call Tape Recorder

Micronta 22-195A Multimeter

Micronta 3001 Metal Detector

Microphax Case II Fiche

Midland 12-204 Tape Rccorder

Mini Com Walkie Talkies

Minolta 10P 16mm Camera

Minolta-16 II Sub Min Camera

Minolta XG-SE 35mm SLR

Minolta Weathermatic-A

Minox B Spy Camera

Mohawk Chief Tape Recorder

Motorola 5000X Bag Phone

Motorola 8500X ‘Brick’

Motorola Micro TAC Classic

MPMan MP-F20 MP3 Player

Music Man Talking Radio

Mystery Microphone


Widget Of The Week

BT Telephone 282A, Linesman’s Test Phone, 1984

There’s something of the forbidden fruit about linesman’s test phones. They’re from that parallel universe of technology, where only the chosen few get to see what’s inside those mysterious grey, black and green boxes containing the magic of modern tele-

comms. Once upon a time, way back, in 1984, this bright yellow BT 282A was part of that secret world and at the cutting edge of the wizardry. It was one of the first generation of test phones to have a fully featured numeric keypad and this made it suitable for use with digital exchanges, which at the time were being rolled out across the UK. It is possible that this model was developed quite rapidly as it is housed in what appears to be a near identical handset moulding to its immediate predecessor, the plain vanilla BT 282. This had a miniature rotary dial where the keypad on the 282A sits.


Apart from that the basic functions of the two models are very similar. It’s fitted with a standard BT plug and the controls, apart from the keypad, are limited to a rocker switch on the rear of the case labelled ‘Mon ,TX and M. C/O’. The first two positions (Monitor & Tx or Transmit) replicate the on and off the hook functions of a normal domestic phone; the M.C/O position is spring-loaded and it stands for microphone cut-out or mute, so the engineer can listen to what’s happening on the line under test, without being heard.


There is a large belt hook at the top and it is one of the possible explanations why instruments like this are known in the trade as ‘Butt’ (or ‘Buttinski’, mostly in the US) phones. One theory is that when not in use the phone can be hung from the linesman’s tool or ‘Butt Belt’. The alternative is that it allows engineers to ‘butt’ into conversations; take your pick…


Inside there’s a fair amount of electronics on the single PC board, including a couple of custom microchips and several components not normally see in conventional home phones. There’s also more than the usual assortment of unused connectors and jumpers, which may indicate that it can be configured for specialist applications. This one is set up for testing normal domestic phone lines but with the appropriate cable and connectors it can also be used to check large-scale business and commercial systems and exchange equipment. A later version, the 284 also had a row of buttons for testing various other functions and a facility to switch between tone and pulse dialling, so it could be used on older exchanges.


The quality of construction is up to BT’s usual very high standards. This is just as well as these phones tend to suffer from a good deal of abuse and rough handling and no doubt an occasional accidental tumble from the top of a telephone pole. This one, though, seems to have led a fairly sedate life with just a few light scratches here and there. Somehow the case also managed to escape being branded with ‘Property of BT’ or personalised, with the engineer’s name. This can be a fairly brutal process, accomplished with the aid of a hot soldering iron or sharp instrument. It’s a very old tradition, supposed to stop expensive test instruments going walkabout, and if they do, help to identify and reunite them with their original owners.   


It was found at large Sunday car boot sale in Dorset, along with a few other exotic test instruments and tools, rarely seen in the wild. The seller revealed that she was an embittered ex wife of a BT engineer and having ‘a bit of a clearout’. It was a popular stall… This 282A set me back just £2.00, and I wasn’t about to argue, not least because it was a good deal for one in such good condition, and due to its age BT probably wouldn’t want it back. The stallholder’s other telecomms items were similarly priced but they were mostly in a poor state and far too specialised, even for me. Essentially all it needed was a quick wipe over and it was good to go. It’s fully functional and if it fits in with your décor it could, at a pinch, even be used as a normal house phone, though the ‘ringer’ is so quiet as to be next to useless but the two LEDs above the keypad flash brightly when there’s an incoming call.


What Happened To It?

It was made in the UK by A P Besson Ltd, a company formed in the late 50s, initially to make parts for hearing aids but it quickly diversified into other areas including handset manufacture, PCB assembly and injection moulding for the likes of the GPO and later BT. In 1990 it was taken over by the Japanese Hosiden Corporation and continues to this day supplying parts and components to the telecommunications industry.


The 282A appears to have been in production for around 5 years, before being replaced by the more sophisticated 284 models. Prior to the changeover to digital exchanges linesman’s phones could remain in use, virtually unchanged, sometimes for several decades but the demands of the new technology meant that older and simpler models could become obsolete in just a few years. Current models have many more functions and facilities suited to digital operation, nevertheless vintage instruments like the 282A can still be used to diagnose basic line faults, and provided it’s connected to a home network with at least one other phone with an audible ringer there’s no reason why it can’t continue to earn its keep. They’re not expensive either and good examples can often be found on ebay for between £10 and £20. Prices probably won’t increase by much in the short term, though. There is relatively little interest outside of the phone collecting community and this one is a little too recent to generate much excitement, but give it time…


First seen                  1984

Original Price           £n/a

Value Today             £10.00 (1016)

Features                   Tone dial, numeric keypad (with star and hash keys), manual on/off hook switching, LED indicators (red: connected, green: off hook, together ringing), butt belt hook, BT connector

Power req.                   n/a (line powered)

Dimensions:                  267 x 90 x 70mm

Weight:                         400g

Made (assembled) in:    Bristol, UK

Hen's Teeth (10 rarest):  6




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