c.1911-1923 - I display this deskstand
mainly because it was found with a great earlier style
Mercedes dial equipped with an original very early number
face made from thick paper material rather than the familiar
porcelain. The paper has held up surprisingly well for its
Additionally, the fingerwheel is stamped "AUTO. ELEC. PAT.
I have found 3 styles of dial sticks,
having just subtle differences to do with a ring/band
located at the bottom edge of the switch-hook cutout.
The purpose of the ring is likely for reinforcement.
With each change, there are differences to the pileup
inside as well, the earliest being much more primitive
than the last.
What appears to be the most common and
likely the last produced is just a straight shaft with
no ring (left). Likely an earlier style having a ring
stamped into the shaft which is possible the rarest
(center). Finally, the earliest style having a steel
band attached to the outside of the shaft (right). Very
similar to the much earlier manual Phila model 43.
comparison, I added the above pictures of an all
original, early Automatic Electric dial (same as on the
stick to left). They have the same paper dial face,
though this one is complete with the protective glass
covering. Also, this one has the original number card
and "X" shaped retainer (which predated the retainer
shaped like a Mercedes emblem).
When used with Keystone phones, the number card/retainer
would be replaced by Keystone's distinctive porcelain
disc. These earlier "Mercedes" type dials are difficult
to find, especially with the original glass still