Today’s phone comes to you from the Navy Recruiting Office in Alaska…Brrrr! It’s an AT&T MLS-18D. Not the greatest of handsets but she sure takes a beating (and by the looks of this one, she’s had quite a life!).
The MLS series telephones were developed by AT&T Information Systems, later know as Lucent then Avaya, to run on the Partner Key Systems. The Partner system succeeded the small end of the Merlin system (206, 410 and 820) in the early 1990s. The 18 stood for the 18 feature keys shown above the dial pad and the D was for it being a digital phone set. This handset was found in many retailers such as Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Abercrombie & Fitch, Follett’s Book Stores, grocery stores, and many small business offices. The system served the small 4-8 line segment of the telephone system market.
Later versions of the phones were introduced in the early 1990’s and were named the Partner Eurostyle D sets. They were styled with more of an aerodynamic handset and back lit display. A final design was introduced in the mid 2000’s and were named Eurostyle Series 2 sets. These included a new handset and more rounded buttons.
The Partner ACS system competed directly with the Northern Telecom Norstar, Toshiba DK Strata, Executone/Isotec Key system, and Vodavi key systems.
As stated from Wikipedia: “The final version of the Partner system, the Partner ACS, was introduced in 1990. Due to problems securing parts from distributors and the introduction of the Partner version of the IP Office, Avaya ended production of the Partner ACS on November 8, 2010.”