Author Topic: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)  (Read 4637 times)

Offline Payphone_Guy

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Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« on: April 24, 2016, 11:55:57 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I'm new on the forums and I'm hoping some people might be able to help me.

I'm a Ph.D history student currently completing a material culture study on the payphone.  I have found a wealth of fantastic information through the Internet, message forums, and various sources, however I have two questions I am very much hoping people can help answer.  Help with the first I fear is unlikely, however the second I hope will be more accessible!

First, does anyone know anything about the payphone that was situated at 6377 Quarry Road, Spring Valley, CA, 91977?  This location is a large parking lot known primarily for hosting the weekly "Spring Valley Swap Meet."  I have managed to obtain some information from local newspapers, and I have posted on the Facebook pages for the event asking for any stories or recollections of the phone.  However, perhaps unsurprisingly, I have not received any replies.  Any information on the payphone or the event would be hugely appreciated, however small it might seem!

Second, would anyone be willing to contribute some general stories about payphone use?  I am looking to engage with as many oral histories as I can, and I am searching for any information regarding the industry, or personal stories of using payphones.  If anyone would be interested in providing such information, I would be hugely grateful.  I am of course very happy to discuss these stories on the forum, via email, phone, or via Skype/Google Hangout if this would be preferred.  Anyone who would wish to contribute would obviously receive full credit and acknowledgement (unless they wish to remain anonymous of course).

Thank you very much for any help at all, I hugely appreciate it. :)

unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2016, 08:33:35 AM »
Welcome!
I suppose you have visited the place already, haven't you?
Just like in archeology, visiting the place might be a good continuation after education.
What is this structure by the road side?  It seems to be a likely candidate for the location.  Is it supposed to be on the south side of the road?
There are parking lots everywhere around.  Wondering, who needed so much parking space? There are no large buildings there anymore.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 10:33:11 AM by unbeldi »

unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2016, 09:17:22 AM »
Next I would to try to narrow down the telephone numbering plan for the area.

The numbering plan area (NPA) history of southern California is as follows:


1947   1950  1951   1957  1959   1982  1984    1991  1997 1998 1999  2004   [overlays]
|      |     |      |     |      |     |       | |   |    |    |     |
                                                 1992


213__________213____213________________2 13_____213________213___________________ __________
             |      |                  |       |          |
             |      |                  |       |          323_____________________________
             |      |                  |       |
             |      |                  |       310___310___________________2006:[310,424]_
             |      |                  |             |
             |      |                  |             562__________________________________
             |      |                  |
             |      |                  818___________818___________________2009:[818,747]_
             |      |                                |
             |      |                                626__________________________________
             |      |
             |      805_____________________________________ ___805________________________
             |                                                 |
             |                                                 661________________________
             |
             714_________________714_____________714_ _____714______________2008:[714,657]_
                                 |               |        |
                                 |               |        949_____________________________
                                 |               |
                                 |               909_________________909_________________ _
                                 |                                   |
                                 |                                   951__________________
                                 |
                                 619_________________619_______619_______ _SPRING VALLEY___
                                                     |         |
                                                     |         858________________________
                                                     |
                                                     760___________________2009:[760,442]_



This shows that the entire southern part of California was assigned area code 213 in 1947.  In 1951, area code 714 was split off and from that 619 was split in 1982.  Today, Spring Valley is still located in area 619, although 760 and 858 were split off in 1997 and 1999.

So, now you need to asked yourself which time frame this pay phone may have been at that location and the answer tells you the area code that the phone would have used, either 213, 714, or 619.

Next you can research the central offices that could possibly have been the wire center for this telephone.  My guess is there are only a few candidates, either in La Mesa or another eastern outskirt of San Diego.  This will provide you possibilities to determine the central office code, i.e. the next 3 digits of the 10-digit telephone number.  You probably want to consider only central office prefixes that are still in control of the incumbent local exchange carrier, e.g. Pac Bell.

 
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 09:53:52 AM by unbeldi »

unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2016, 10:17:34 AM »
From data bases, such as www.telcodata.us, you can find central offices.
The few that pop up as primary candidates are those in National City (to the west), La Mesa (to the north), and perhaps in Chula Vista (south).

Here is a map, but I didn't extend it far enough to include Chula Vista.
La Mesa is about 4.5 miles north, and the National City rate center is even closer to the west.

National City: 2228 Saipan Dr, San Diego, CA
Building code: SNDGCA05
Prefixes:  267 470 472 475 479 731

La Mesa: 4711 Spring St, La Mesa, CA
Building code: LAMSCA01
Prefixes: 337 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 469 589 644 667 668 697 698 740


There is another very valuable tool, the Telephone Exchange Name Project which lists the old central office names from the time when telephone numbers consisted of letters and digits (up to the 1960s).

Searching for Spring Valley, I found this entry by Hugh Hamilton:

47   GR   GReenfield   Spring Valley   CA   USA   Personal knowledge   Hugh Hamilton <hamilton

This tells us that the central office (exchange) name was Greenfield, and telephone numbers would be written as GReenfield X-XXXX, and  dialed as  47X-XXXX.  GR stands for the digits 47.

Comparing this with our exchange list above, we have a match on the National City rate center:

470, 472, 475, and 479

These prefixes are owned by Pacific Bell, which is indeed an incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC).
So, with some degree of likelihood,   SNDGCA05 is indeed our central office building of interest, responsible for any pay phones in that area.

Now, you could simply look up the telephone number for that central office and explain your project. [hmm, not sure whether that can indeed be obtained... more research...] Perhaps they can help you locate that pay phone and perhaps even the telephone number.


« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 12:08:13 PM by unbeldi »

unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2016, 10:29:02 AM »
Here is a picture of that central office.  Looks like someone is parking in the lot, so perhaps someone might indeed be there to answer a telephone call, of course if you are close, you could just make it a field trip, but it doesn't look terribly inviting, I don't see any door bells.


We have some of the best pay phone history experts on this forum, I am sure you will locate them stuffly with a bit of searching.
I am sure many here would be interested in your pay phone research, and I am sure it would stimulate many good discussions.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 09:39:53 AM by unbeldi »

unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2016, 05:37:31 PM »
Some small business establistuff just down the road has the telephone 475-1005 at 6301 Quarry Rd.
The self storage place has a number in the 479 prefix, 479-1977.

So that should be good enough to confirm the central office assignment.


So, what is so special about that pay phone ?

I would try to call that number 475-1005 and ask if any one knows anything about that pay phone.  Seems like that shack has been there long enough.

PS:
the number belongs to:
Ervin Rubey
Sweetwater Auto Wrecking
6301 Quarry Rd
Spring Valley, CA 91977
Phone: 619-475-1005


I have also found addresses with the  267 prefix on Quarry Rd, but it is the same CO.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 06:15:56 PM by unbeldi »

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2016, 11:58:10 PM »
You're enjoying the hunt, aren't you Unbeldi? ;D

Welcome to the forum, Payphone Guy! As Unbeldi said, it all depends on timeframe. If it were installed in the '80s or '90s, it was most likely a 1D or 1C-style touch-tone single slot phone (probably the most likely guess). If it were installed in the late '40s to mid '60s, it would probably be either a Western Electric 3 slot or an Automatic Electric 3 slot payphone.

The difference between being manufactured by Automatic Electric or Western Electric mostly depends on the telephone company each manufacturer had contracts with; AE built most of their phones for General Telephone Co (GTE), and WE built most of theirs for Bell System, a much larger company who probably had territory in that region (each company had their own territories, and didn't share service, or overlap, in any areas of the US, unlike cell service today).

Chances are, if it was around by the '90s or so, it's very likely a single slot payphone, similar to the 1st picture attached. The 2nd picture shows a basic 3-slot payphone design (WE) that could have been built anytime between 1945 or so until about 1975, and 3-slot service was gone by the late '70s; someone help me if that's incorrect.

Do you have a picture of it? That would really help us out in determining which type it is, when the picture was taken, etc. I'll let the real payphone guys help you out in the technical department! ;)
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2016, 09:19:00 AM »
You're enjoying the hunt, aren't you Unbeldi? ;D

That's what happens when you start looking for pay phones in the desert.

Offline Matilo Telephones

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2016, 09:31:32 AM »
I think that the topic starter is very intimidated by all this information. He has gone very quiet. :-)
Groeten,

Arwin

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And I am on facebook too: www.facebook.com/matilosvintagetelephones

unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2016, 10:44:41 AM »
I think that the topic starter is very intimidated by all this information. He has gone very quiet. :-)

Likely that also is a result of looking for pay phones in the desert.

Offline andre_janew

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2016, 12:02:41 PM »
Or perhaps in National City looking for Supergirl.

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2016, 07:50:07 PM »
I think that the topic starter is very intimidated by all this information. He has gone very quiet. :-)
Not to break the string of humor, but it looks like he hasn't been active since he first posted his questions. He still hasn't read Unbeldi's Helpful Information of Doom yet! ::)
Christian Petterson

"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right" -Henry Ford

Offline Payphone_Guy

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2016, 12:10:35 AM »
Wow!  Just Wow!

I'm not quite sure what to say other than a huge thank you to everybody for such great help (and humor!).  I apologize for the delay in replying (I'm finishing all sorts of essays right now, so my work schedule is rather, well, chaotic).

The information here is fantastic and I'm going to try and contact the central office tomorrow.

In answer to the other queries...

I'm interested in that payphone, simply because I actually have it!  I was able to purchase it for relatively little money and part of my coursework is to write its history.  I have attached an image of the phone which I hope is helpful!  From other documentation I've looked at I believe the phone is Western Electric 1D2 model.  I know the location as it is printed on the phone itself (which one of the reasons I decided to purchase that particular phone).

In terms of my examination of the phone itself, I am trying to understand how the payphone (which, at this stage in the project I am essentially using as a broad representation for other payphones), functions within four networks of experience:

Ergonomic exchange (how people physically interacted with the phone and what this means)
Socio-cultural exchange (how the phone has influenced the behavior across the variety of its users, and how the phone has been appropriated as a social and cultural node by those users)
Capital exchange (how the phone works a node of capital exchange including payment, protection of funds, collection of funds, etc.)
Spatial exchange (how the phone might collapse notions of space and time in unique ways such as altering the notions of private and public space)

Such analysis is of course a long-term project, and at this stage I am starting with the basic factors of payphone operations, identifying who the users might have been, and the environmental factors of its existence.

In light of this any information (obviously including that above) is hugely appreciated.  I've been able to obtain sales cards, operations manuals, and various internal company documents from online archives which people have so thoughtfully assembled, and I have gleaned a lot from the Payphone Project and similar sites, but getting to the real exact details is always hard!  I've also done some analyses on local newspaper stories relating to the Spring Valley Swap Meet, and used historical census data to estimate use of various demographics.  Once I've pulled this altogether into some more coherent assessment, I'd be very happy to share it if people wish me to do so!!

Thank you so much again to everyone!

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2016, 01:14:42 AM »
In terms of my examination of the phone itself, I am trying to understand how the payphone (which, at this stage in the project I am essentially using as a broad representation for other payphones), functions within four networks of experience:

Ergonomic exchange (how people physically interacted with the phone and what this means)
Socio-cultural exchange (how the phone has influenced the behavior across the variety of its users, and how the phone has been appropriated as a social and cultural node by those users)
Capital exchange (how the phone works a node of capital exchange including payment, protection of funds, collection of funds, etc.)
Spatial exchange (how the phone might collapse notions of space and time in unique ways such as altering the notions of private and public space)



Welcome to the forum:

Other than how did I use the phone, I am afraid I don't much understand the other three bullet points, but let me try to answer if I can.

Interaction:  Pay phones used to be everywhere.  I don't think many people gave them much though unless they didn't work or if there was a waiting line.  I would say that the experience was about as fulfilling as when I currently use the office vending machine to buy a candy bar or soda.  Ergonimically, they were  cramped and for all but the real older ones you had to stand and use the phone.  In my earlier life, you did not see a pay phone that was friendly to disabled people.  Often times they were so noisy that you could not hear the other person if you were on a busy street somewhere.  It also wasn't until later models that they used amplified handsets.

Socio Cultural.  I am afraid I don't know what you mean by "how the phone has been appropriated as a social and cultural node by those users"  What I do know is that the payphone made it possible for people "on the go" to remain in contact with the world and to have access to the phone system usually wherever and whenever they wanted.

Capital exchange?  Unless I am totally misuderstanding what you are asking, the pay phone was set up to collect money for the call, and the coins collected were held in a vault in the base of the phone and then a person would physically go out to the phone and collect the money and take it back to the phone company periodically.  There were many security measures built into that activity.  Phones were built like tanks because people would try to break into them and steal the money.  Repairmen (yes "men") who serviced the phone itself only had access to the upper housing and had no access to the vault.  Those who had access to the vault were under much scrutiny and dual control.  There has been much written on the security aspects of pay phones.  There were also measures built into the way the phone initiated a call in order to keep people from getting free calls.  When I was probably 12, someone told me how to take the cover off the subset of a payphone that was usually screwed to the under side of the shelf that held the directory.  Once the cover was off, a 1,000 ohm resistor from the tip side of the line to ground would give dial tone and a free phone call.   I successfully did this often from one particular phone that was in the parking lot of a shopping center along my paper route.   It seemed that many people knew how to do that, but the phone company let that "freebie" go on for a long time before they did something about it.  At least where I lived.  It probably cost them more to solve the problem than the problem was costing them at the time.  They were probably busier trying to catch the Captain Crunch guys.  (Another topic).

Spatial Exchange - I don't recall any collapse of space and time.  I do know they were cramped.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 01:18:38 AM by Phonesrfun »
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Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2016, 08:02:31 AM »
There was a certain level of seediness and desperation associated with using a payphone.  People with no fixed address, or who conducted business on the street (drug dealers, prostitutes), or didn't want their call traced (bomb threats, anonymous tips, etc) and people who were stranded and needed a ride would use pay phones.  In order to use a payphone you needed to have change, in order to sustain a conversation longer than a few minutes you needed more change.  It wasn't like today when people just casually call or text one another without a second thought.  You used a payphone out of necessity, not for fun.  In order to use a payphone you needed to have change, in order to sustain a conversation longer than a few minutes you needed more change. There is another reason payphone were armored other than to protect the cash: desperate people would take out their frustrations on the phone in the form of violence. 

You would always check the change return, however, because you might find a dime.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 08:06:54 AM by Sargeguy »
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