Jump to content

Recommended Posts

This photo was in a bunch of others showing work on the Bell System pavilion. I believe the booths were in the Bell building but that's just a guess. It's interesting as

1) The phones have rotary dials. That matches information I have that the first phones on site were rotary dials as the Touch Tone equipment wasn't installed yet.

2) The Bell System logo is unlike other booths I've seen

The phone number looks like (212) HA9-9307. I wonder what exchange that was (I'm guessing HAmilton), and who has that number today?

Remember when almost all phone booths had a 9 for the 4th digit, and almost all numbers with a 9 in that spot were pay phones? That was to make it harder to make collect calls to them. A friend of mine had a home number with a 9 in that spot and it drove them crazy every time they had to deal with an operator.

phone-booth-1.jpg

phone-booth-2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taking into consideration that the number in the booth would have been changed from 212 to 718, I looked it up on anywho.com and there is a listing. I didn't find one at all for the 212 version but maybe it's an unlisted number.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think that is the button one pushed to have coins returned. I had forgotten about that.

NYC had at least eight HA exchanges at one time. None were Hamilton. There was HArlem, HAvemeyer, HAlifax, HAddingway and several others from what I have found.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think on the tip of the button itself is the word PUSH. Just in case anybody was confused what to do and tried to pull it. LOL :D

The label above the button says COIN RELEASE - we just can't see the word COIN from this angle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PS: I just noticed the coiled cord on the receiver. That is proof we were a bit more civilized. People just didn't do as much damage in public places as we would see in later years. Last time I was in a telephone booth, the phone had a metal cord so tough and so theft proof that a bomb blast wouldn't harm it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You always wondered what these looked like inside, right? The closest most of us got to that was walking by a 'bank' of them as kids (7 or 8 in a row) and checking the coin return compartment in every one of them, for forgotten change. :D

Wayne, we'll expect you to have this re-wired in 10 minutes to play the Greyhound Escorter horn jingle. That would make a pretty good Candid Camera gag, wouldn't it?

MVC-074F_zpsb257fb26.jpg

You can see the copper-colored metal clip which the Coin Release button depressed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rewire, eh? Have to look up the drawings. :D

There were spoof specs for chime ringers. As I recall, "At customer request, may be wired for 'bing bong', 'bing bing', 'bong bong', but not 'bong bing'." I recall no specs allowing the Greyhound sequence. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the website does not clarify where those exchanges were located. In addition, many cities used the same exchanges. But the ones I listed above were from NYC from about 1930 on until using letters in the exchange was discontinued. I could not determine the geographic location of this particular number. The site is called New York City Telephone Exchanges After 1930.

There were some exchanges that clearly signified the geographic location. MUrray Hill is the most famous.

There are other sites, but this one was the most informative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PS: I wonder who would answer if that number was dialed today. HA9 is now part of a 429 exchange.

According to that reverse search for telephone numbers, 429 (in area code 212) was introduced in 1994. It covers zip codes 10005, 10001. 10019, 10036--evidently all in Manhattan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Jim. I took a quick look at the site and it says HA9 was indeed in Queens. It would be interesting to know where the phone booths were, in the Bell building or elsewhere, but I doubt we'll ever know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must have read it incorrectly. In any event, it is now 429 and in Manhattan. It is really quite remarkable how the telephone companies can create so many numbers. NYS now has fifteen area codes with a sixteenth coming next year. I guess cellular service has increased the need for new area codes faster than anybody imagined.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's just what happened in the mid 1980s when fax machines became a necessity, they never planned for homes to have more than one telephone line and all of the extra fax lines in businesses. They weren't prepared for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had 699-4084 or OX(ford) 9-4084 in Corona (which is listed as a Manhattan exchange) which we had long before the WF. Maybe the old exchange rules were changing in the '50's and '60's with increasing numbers of phone company customers such that it would be harder to determine the location by the first two phone numbers alone. It didn't have to be FAX machines only as there was a great deal of development in northern and eastern Queens during the 50's and 60's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just Googled 212-429-9307 but the only informative result I found was this (not overly helpful to the layman):

http://payphone.wikia.com/wiki/212-429

Did you know that you can Google a phone number?

A couple years ago I looked up the number that Disney had in their New York office in 1964 and today, it's a chain of gas stations (or something like that).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be cool if your phone number had previously belonged to Walt Disney, and you had 1963 Disney letterhead to prove it! I think I may have sent a link to the people at that gas station company.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted in another thread about buying the negatives for the phone booth sequence at the start of this thread. I thought folks might like a closer view of the phone.

phone-booth-4.jpg

June 16, 1963

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×