Last Call For The Phone Booth

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Growing up in NYC, there was usually a phone booth on every corner. Now, they are far and few between. In fact, I don’t know if they even exist anymore! I have seen some empty frames but never a phone.

A coin-operated public telephone, often located in a telephone booth or a privacy hood, with pre-payment by inserting money (usually coins) or by billing a credit or debit card, or a telephone card. Prepaid calling cards also facilitate establishing a call by first calling the provided toll-free telephone number, entering the card account number and PIN, then the desired connection telephone number. An equipment usage fee may be charged as additional units, minutes or tariff fee to the collect/third-party, debit, credit, telephone or prepaid calling card when used at payphones.  What do you remember about using a payphone?

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The world’s first telephone box called “Fernesprecherkiosk”, was opened on January 12, 1881 at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin. To use it, one had to buy paper tickets called Telefonbillet which allowed for a few minutes of talking time. In 1899 it was replaced by a coin-operated telephone. William Gray is therefore credited with inventing the coin payphone in the United States in 1889, and George A, Long was its developer. The first telephone booth in London, England was probably installed near the Staple Inn in High Holborn in May 1903. It was operated and located by the Grand Central Railway. In the UK, the creation of a national network of telephone boxes commenced in 1920 starting with the K1 which was made of concrete, however the city of Kingston upon Hull is noted for having its individual payphone service, with cream colored phone boxes, as opposed to classic royal red in the rest of Britain.

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