China telephone tokens

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China's first telecommunication administration dates from 1880, during the Qing dynasty. Its first priority was a military communications network. In 1890, telephone was introduced and private use took flight. However, during China's long road to independence and the dominance of communism, much of what there was in telecommunication infrastructure was destroyed. The network in the Nanjing-Shanghai area was a notable exception. The private tokens of this time and place have a sun, symbol of the Kuo Min Tang (nationalist party) or a star, symbol of the communist party.

Repair of local infrastructure was started with Soviet equipment in the 1950s, but further expansion was stopped by political instability in the 1960s, so only towns of administrative or economic importance had telephone connections. Ambitious plans in the 1970s did not improve the situation much, until wireless telecommunications started replacing copper cables in the 1980s, a development made possible by opening to foreign trade and investment. The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication achieved country-wide telephone coverage in 1987. In 2008, this ministry was re-named Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The ministry is responsible for the infrastructure only, not for censorship. The infrastructure was modernised with micro wave, infra red, fiber and digital technologies, enhancing capacity, reducing maintenance and equipment size. China has no plans for privatisation of telecommunications.

Hong Kong's history of telecommunications starts with the Scottish telecom baron John Pender. He owned China Submarine Telegraph company, that wanted to link Hong Kong with London. Another Pender company, Telcon, supplied the cable. In 1925 the Hong Kong Telephone Company Limited (HKTC) took over Pender's stake in Hong Kong. HKTC kept the Hong Kong telecommunications network up to date with technology. The company has since changed its name to Hong Kong Telephone (HKT), while owned by a revolving cast of companies. The company was partially privatised in 2011.

China telephone tokens
Local private network tokens
TC-P1.jpg
Filename TC-P1
Side 1 上海青年會 Shanghai Youth Society between suns, 電話證 telephone token
Side 2 上海青年會 Shanghai Youth Society between suns, 電話證 telephone token
Manufacture Bronze
Size (mm) 22.1
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source parkingtokens
TC-P2.jpg
Filename TC-P2
Side 1 八 (8) in centre and 上海青年會 Shanghai Youth Society between suns, 電話證 telephone token
Side 2 上海青年會 Shanghai Youth Society between suns, 電話證 telephone token
Manufacture Bronze
Size (mm) 22.2
Weight (grams) 5.0
Notes
Source parkingtokens
TC-P3.jpg
Filename TC-P3
Side 1 Triangle and 上海青年會 Shanghai Youth Society between suns, 電話證 telephone token
Side 2 blank
Manufacture
Size (mm)
Weight (grams)
Notes Possibly a test or trial token.
Source parkingtokens
TC-P4.jpg
Filename TC-P4
Side 1 Star 上海市雜糧公會 Shanghai side crops society
Side 2 Star 電話證 telephone token
Manufacture Copper-nickel
Size (mm) 24.6
Weight (grams) 6.0
Notes
Source parkingtokens
National telephone tokens
TCN1.jpg
Filename TCN1
Side 1 Push button telephone, 投币电话代用币 coin telephone coin substitute
Side 2 Push button telephone, 投币电话代用币 coin telephone coin substitute
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 20.6
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source parkingtokens
350px
Filename TCN2
Side 1 Push button telephone, 投币电话代用币 coin telephone coin substitute
Side 2 Push button telephone, 只限用于投币电话 usage restricted to coin telephones only
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 20.6
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source parkingtokens
TCN3.jpg
Filename TCN3
Side 1 Push button telephone, 投币电话筹码 coin telephone token
Side 2 Push button telephone, 只限用于投币电话 usage restricted to coin telephones only
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 20.5
Weight (grams) 3.7
Notes Watchit.jpgTCN3 varieties
Source parkingtokens
TCN4.jpg
Filename TCN4
Side 1 Push button telephone, 投币电话筹码 coin telephone token
Side 2 Push button telephone, 只限用于投币电话 usage restricted to coin telephones only
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 20.5
Weight (grams)
Notes Oval button top left, round button top right
Source parkingtokens
TCN5.jpg
Filename TCN5
Side 1 logo and 只限用于投币电话 usage restricted to coin telephones only •telephone 3181217•
Side 2 联信 Lianxin electronics and 电话筹码 telephone token •广州市人民北路502号• No.502 North Renmin Road, Guangzhou Municipality
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 20.6
Weight (grams) 3.7
Notes Watchit.jpgTCN5 varieties
Source parkingtokens
TCN6.jpg
Filename TCN6
Side 1 logo and 联信电器 Lianxin Electronics 电话 tel: 3363498
Side 2 logo and 专营投币电话 Specialised in coin telephone 人民北路502号 No.502 North Renmin Road
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 20.1
Weight (grams) 4.2
Notes
Source parkingtokens
TCN7.jpg
Filename TCN7
Side 1 logo and 专营投币电话 Specialised in coin telephone 电话 tel:3363498
Side 2 logo and 联信电器 Lianxin Electronics 广州人民北路502号 No.502 North Renmin Road, Guangzhou
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 25
Weight (grams) 6.3
Notes
Source parkingtokens
TCN8.jpg
Filename TCN8
Side 1 logo and 联信电器 Lianxin Electronics 电话 tel: 3363498
Side 2 logo and 专营投币电话 Specialised in Coin telephone 人民北路502号 No.502 North Renmin Road
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 20.2
Weight (grams) 4.0
Notes
Source parkingtokens
Local telephone tokens
TAS1.jpg
Filename TAS1
Side 1 DGT logo in star
Side 2 Star and 鞍山市邮电局 Anshan City Post & Telegraph Office; 公话专用 For public phone only
Manufacture Aluminium
Size (mm) 23.2
Weight (grams) 1.7
Notes Logo of the Anshan post office. Watchit.jpgTAS1 varieties
Source parkingtokens
350px
Filename THK1
Side 1 * HONGKONG TELEPHONE COMPANY, LIMITED TOKEN
Side 2 blank
Manufacture copper
Size (mm) 20
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Groenendijk
350px
Filename THK2
Side 1 H K T C
Side 2 blank
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 20
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Groenendijk
TCH1.jpg
Filename TCH1
Side 1 Telephone and SHANGHAI TELEPHONE COMPANY
Side 2 可打一次 - good for one call (can dial once)
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 18.6
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Groenendijk
TCH2.jpg
Filename TCH2
Side 1 Decorated TS monogram
Side 2 Decorated TS monogram
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 21
Weight (grams) 4.6
Notes Presumably, the monogram stands for Telephone Shanghai. Watchit.jpgTCH2 varieties
Source parkingtokens
TCH3.jpg
Filename TCH3
Side 1 電話在打 不作計數 when the telephone call is being made, the numbers aren’t counted
Side 2 中國精誠服務社 China Jingcheng(sincerity)Services
Manufacture Bronze
Size (mm) 18.3
Weight (grams) 3.0
Notes
Source parkingtokens
TYD1.jpg
Filename TYD1
Side 1 通讯经营部 Communication Management Department 永德 Yongde, telephone : 3368510
Side 2 YD 专营投币电话 Specialised in Coin telephone 人民北路458号 No.458 North Renmin Road
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 20.1 - 20.4
Weight (grams) 3.7 - 4.0
Notes Watchit.jpgTYD1 varieties
Source parkingtokens
Hotel telephone tokens
TC-H1.jpg
Filename TC-H1
Side 1 logo, 电话代用币 telephone coin substitute •恕不退回• no refund (lit. Forgive us for not refunding)
Side 2 logo, 中国大酒店 China Grand Hotel
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 20.5
Weight (grams) 5
Notes China Grand hotel, Guangzhu. Watchit.jpgTC-H1 varieties
Source parkingtokens
TC-H2.jpg
Filename TC-H2
Side 1 logo, 电话代用币 telephone coin substitute •恕不退回• no refund (lit. Forgive us for not refunding)
Side 2 logo, 中国大酒店 China Grand Hotel
Manufacture Copper-nickel
Size (mm) 20.3
Weight (grams) 3.9
Notes China Grand hotel, Guangzhu.
Source parkingtokens
TC-H3.jpg
Filename TC-H3
Side 1 logo, *富华酒店* Fu Hua hotel and FU HUA HOTEL
Side 2 dial telephone, *富华酒店* Fu Hua hotel and FU HUA HOTEL
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 22.6
Weight (grams) 5.0
Notes Fu Hua hotel chain.
Source parkingtokens
TC-H4.jpg
Filename TC-H4
Side 1 FH logo
Side 2 电话代用币 telephone coin substitute
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 24.8
Weight (grams) 5.4
Notes Furama hotel, Dalien.
Source parkingtokens
350px
Filename TC-H5
Side 1 GC monogram
Side 2 5 characters
Manufacture Copper-nickel
Size (mm) 22.5
Weight (grams) 5.3
Notes Golden City hotel, Foshan.
Source parkingtokens

Taiwan fell to Japan in 1896. The Japanese developed the existing infrastructure, largely for administrative purposes. By 1900, the network was extended for private use. The Japanese destroyed practically the whole telecommunication infrastructure in 1945. The Nationalist government had founded a Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications in 1943. Repairs and replacements started in 1945, but the fledgling infrastructure was overwhelmed with the arrival of refugees from the mainland from 1949. The old military network could be re-established to serve the farmers, but local services remained bad until 1952. From there on, the network constantly improved by the introduction of the latest technology. In 1971, Taiwan had twice the number of telephones there were on mainland China. By 1980, coverage was extended to all outlying islands, making the system nationwide.

DGT logo.png

The logo of the Directorate General of Telecommunications (DGT) is based on the Chinese character for electricity (電), which is used in the words for telephone (電話) and telegraph (電報). But the logo symbol also resembles「勤, or「用功」which means "to work hard." In 2006, DGT was succeeded by the National Telecommunications Commission, an agency of the Ministry of Communications. There is no censorship. There is talk of privatising the telecommunication administration.

Taiwan telephone tokens
TTW1.jpg
Filename TTW1
Side 1 logo
Side 2 公用電話專用 - for public telephone only
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 25
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Groenendijk
350px
Filename TTW2
Side 1 7 characters - Taiwan telecommunication administration, for public telephone testing use
Side 2 2 characters - number
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 25
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Groenendijk
350px
Filename TTW3
Side 1 logo
Side 2 10 characters - Department of transportation Taiwan telecommunication administration, special use for public telephone, testing
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 25
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Groenendijk

This page and its dependent pages have benefitted greatly from the collection of pictures from the vast site of parkingtokens.