STB To SingTel

Credit : National Archives of Singapore

This was the first type of phone my Godparents had in the 60s/70s. No choice of color for the phones back then, I think. Not many households are able to afford a telephone; my parents do not have one too.

I remember my Godparents got engaged those telephone cleaning lady to clean the phone every now and then. The cleaning lady would carried a hard bag like those cosmetic makeup bag, containing all her cleaning kids. She would changed the white color mouth piece ‘filter’ and then sprayed some ‘fragrance’ onto it. And they wore those gloves when doing the cleaning of telephone.

So what does STB stands for? It stands for Singapore Telephone Board. And its logo back then has a swallow bird – don’t know why?

Even the telephone carried the logo, as shown on the telephone above.

Back then the bills envelopes are like this;

See the above envelope. So in 1971, it was still STB and the postage back then was 6 cents!

OK, Singapore had its first telephone service in 1879, almost 128 years! The British were providing the telephone services until 1955. In 1955, STB was formed.

TAS (Telecommunications Authority of Singapore) provided overseas services while STB on local services. In 1974, both merged to form Singapore Telecom.

So when did we first have our push button phone? That should be August 1970. By early 1980s, all rotary phones were replaced by push button phone. Regret didn’t keep one of those rotary phone or the first generation of the push button phone with the Telecom logo at the bottom.

Here is the First Day Cover for the 100 years of Telephone Service in 1974;

So what will be the next change be?

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8 Responses to “STB To SingTel”


  1. 1 profkingsfield2004 Friday, November 30, 2007 at 11:19 am

    The dialing telephone set weigh a “ton” as compared to our persent telephone sets (plastic type???). I think we started with 5 digit telephone #s and in those days u could identify a certain part of singaproe by the first few digits like the zip code. Today it’s impossible.

  2. 2 profkingsfield2004 Friday, November 30, 2007 at 11:22 am

    There was also a type of swithboard which I used to see in offices. It had a telephone operator seated facing “circuit board” which had full of wires. Each time a call came in or had to be placed out, she would pulled out one of the ends of the wire and jet into one of the empty sockets. She wore this headset as the microphone. Got the picture Laokokok??? I still remember that each time someone from a certain extention # in the office wanted to place a call out, he/she had to dial “0” for the operator and the operator would make the connection.

  3. 3 laokokok Friday, November 30, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks for the input Peter. Got to check for that photo, don’t remember where I seen it before…

    You are right, you can tell the district by the first 2 digit.

  4. 4 Victor Koo Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Most coffeeshops in the 1960s had a set of the ebony bakelite telephone. Customers could dial local numbers free-of-charge. The shopowners would always be careful enough to lock the figures “9” and “0” with a special brass lock made for telephones because the figure “0” could be used to make expensive IDD and trunk calls to Malaysia.

    Back then, the telephones worked on pulse dialling, as opposed to tone dialling today. With pulse dialling, instead of using the rotary dial to dial the number, you could also dial number by depressing very quickly the telephone rest a number of times which corresponded to the number being dialled. For example, if the number to be dialled was 21785, you press the telephone rest quickly 2 times (followed by a short pause), 1 time (short pause), 7 times (short pause), 8 times (short pause) and then finally 5 times – you would get connected, provided it was done with the right timing. This was because pulse dialling works by breaking the circuit.

  5. 5 laokokok Sunday, December 9, 2007 at 10:46 am

    You are damn right Victor. Playing with that kind of ‘dialling’ is really fun. Always got scolded by my godparents for spoiling the phone haha.

  6. 6 Jeffery Abdullah Monday, August 11, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Dear Laokokok,

    I was browsing through the net and came across this blog ” STB to Singtel”. I would like to contribute some photos and info of rotary telephones in your blog. I will email you soon.

    Thank you.

    Regards,

    Jeffery

  7. 7 laokokok Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Thanks Jeffery, will check my email.

  8. 8 quick core workout Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 3:38 am

    This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!
    ! Finally I’ve found something which helped me. Thanks!


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