Before cellphones, smartphones, and wireless everything, we relied upon stationary devices such as public payphones or phone booths to communicate when out and about. Movies and TV programs featured scenes of reporters rushing to payphones to report breaking news or of shadowy spies and secret agents making clandestine calls from a phone booth in the dark of night…etc., etc.
A phone booth in Petaluma…note the rotary dial.
If you don’t know what a rotary dial is, ask someone over 50
Payphones, of course, still exist but they are few and far between. It is my understanding that they are somewhat more prevalent in larger cities. For a quick history and report on their current status (including interesting photos from New Cork City) see Don’t hang up yet: Pay phones are still a fixture in U.S. culture (Columbia School of Journalism). Google (Who else?) also has plans to use payphones as Wi-Fi hotspots. For details go to Google May Transform NYC Pay Phones Into Wi-Fi Hot Spots
In my wanderings around Petaluma’s downtown, I did notice some of these old units still in existence, although one clearly was not operational. However, it still serves a purpose as a trash receptacle…
This unit might be operational…if you use both hands…
Related Article: Payphone…May it RIP