The next desk telephone developed for the Bell System following the Western Electric No. 10 was the first tube shaft candlestick desk phone. Patented in 1904, the Western Electric No. 20 series came into widespread service. The No. 20B, which is today often referred to as the 1904 candlestick, is characterized by a solid perch with the transmitter unit attached to it with a bolt and a 1 1/8 inch diameter knurled "thumb-wheel" nut.

The earliest production phones of this series used the wooden base plates of the No. 10 phones which were attached to a "pot metal" stem bolt by two screws. Later production phones and subsequent refurbished phones had cloth covered metal covers and three screws were used, the middle screw holding the stem in place. In earlier versions, the stem was secured by a single screw located on the tubal shaft about an inch from the top of the base on the right hand side of the phone.

The 20B phone had only a single wire connecting from the internal contacts to the transmitter. This wire was routed externally from the transmitter through an insulated hole in the transmitter back cup. The wire then re-entered the phone through a centered hole in the top of the solid perch leading to the spring contacts. The other electrode of the transmitter was in contact with the metal of the phone which served as the second conductor.

The old style No. 122 external-terminal receiver (commonly called a "pony receiver") and a No. 229 solid-back transmitter.

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