Tag Archives: pay phone

Friday Flashback #328

As we hunker down in winter with the final Friday Flashback of 2022, what better choice than a photo from mid-summer, 1983.

(Photo/Arthur Nager)

For anyone born 20 years after this photo was taken: It shows a “pay phone.” This primitive pre-cellphone technology operated with “coins.” You put a “dime” in a slot at the top. You lifted the receiver, punched in a phone number (no area code required, if local), and hoped someone would answer.

Want to know more? You could dial 411 for “Directory Assistance” (an “operator” would give you someone’s number). You could place calls “collect” (the person at the other end would be charged for the call). You could even get your dime back (and collect those of previous callers), if you knew certain tricks and were juvenile delinquently inclined.

There’s no telling how often this phone was used by young kids calling to be picked up, teenagers calling friends to find out where the party was, and anyone else needing to communicate from Compo Beach.

BONUS FACTOID: Look at those 4 poles surrounding the pay phone. They’re the remnants of a “phone booth” — indicating that at one point, it was enclosed, for privacy and to guard against the weather.

And no one worried about Wi-Fi or a low battery.