Author Topic: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)  (Read 4226 times)

Offline poplar1

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2016, 08:44:54 AM »
Just to clarify, many places did not require additional coins to be deposited for "overtime" for local calls, regardless of the length of call. This would include many cities (Atlanta, for example) and all areas wirh Western Electric CDOs (Community Dial Offices).
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2016, 09:40:55 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. 

Yes, they were. And they were also used for legit commerce.

Having had the privilege to be in sales and having to cover first the nation by flying and then 5 wholes states by driving, all in the 80s and early 90s, payphones were essential to commerce. I remember the 80s and being at major trade shows or conventions halls or hotels with conference rooms and at each break, the room would run to a bank of phones, a large room with 10 to 20 payphones lining the wall, to call the office for messages, a customer or a lead for an appointment. Would have to wait in lines 3 or 4 deep to make a call.

Then, while traveling, a payphone at a gas station just off of a major interstate was the only link to call the the office for messages, a customer or a lead for an appointment. Pull up next to it, roll down the window, grab the receiver, dial the number and roll the window back up to cut out the road noise, and on some days the rain or snow.

And airports would have multiple payphones in one area for the same reasons but without the waiting lines and many of these had seats. Making a connection from one flight to another always included a stop at a payphone to check in or make appointments.

It wasn't until about 1991 that cell phones came into being, the floor mounted car types which came with very costly roaming charges when out of home area. Initially so costly that pay phones along the road were till the first choice to do business. I got my first Motorola flip phone with extra batteries in about 1993 or '94. From that point on, it seemed, in retrospect, to be downhill for the payphone.

Highway and hotel payphones were rotary and required a small handheld DTMF device to get into ones tape driven answering machine for those messages. Eventually, they converted over to touch tone payphones.

That's about all I remember from my days of being a road warrior, except, yes, you would always check the change return because you might find a dime, or more. Call doesn't go through, the caller rushed off, and whatever was deposited for a long distance call was returned, and sat there waiting for the first coin return checker to hit the jackpot.
            John . . .

              

Offline poplar1

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2016, 10:33:36 AM »
Highway and hotel payphones were rotary and required a small handheld DTMF device to get into ones tape driven answering machine for those messages. Eventually, they converted over to touch tone payphones.

In some places, Touch-Tone payphones were converted back to rotary, in an attempt to prevent drug dealers and others from being able to call pagers. Or, at least those dealers not smart enough to have a pocket DTMF dialer.

Other places, such as Québec (City), restricted the lines to outgoing calls only. Other than semi-public phones (where they were installed inside businesses, and listed as the business number in the directory), I never understood why most pay phones were equipped for incoming calls, since, other than the rare "collect to coin" calls, incoming calls provided no revenue.
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2016, 10:48:09 AM »
Ok,  you're most welcome.

I think, the key to the reason for that pay phone location appears to be the original use of that parking lot.
Quarry Road is relatively short, a connector between other, more major roads in the area.  The name suggests that the road may have served as access to sand pits.   What else, other than sand, could be found there in the desert? :)  The only reasonable location for such pits would be the location of those parking lots on both the north and south side of the road.

Continuing the speculation... When the pits were no longer needed they may have been filled in, and the terrain leveled.  As San Diego expanded farther and farther out into the desert eastward, This may have become a valuable location at the intersection of two major road ways.  Perhaps there was a small mall on the triangular plot on the west side of the parking lot, that is now a barren tract?  Pac Bell must have had an incentive to place a pay phone, a place where many people would go and likely where they could park.  I doubt they would have placed a coin station at the private parking lot of a corporation, most people who would park there, would likely rather use a more convenient phone in the offices, or a private pay phone in the lobby.

Given the type of coin collector that you found, it is likely that it was installed from the late 70s or early 1980s onward.  I am not sure of the exact introduction of the D series of pay phones.  The 1D1 was the rotary version, and 1D2 touch-tone.  The 2D1 and 2D2 were the corresponding panel types, rather than the box form.

I suspect that the central office switching system was probably either a No. 5 Crossbar, or a No. 1AESS system, although by ca. 1974 AT&T did not list an 1AESS installation there.  Today it is a No. 5ESS system. These became available in 1982; the roll-out of these systems was very slow, leaving the market open for competitors, especially to Northern Telecom, and indeed another central office in National City (NTCYCA11) at 716 Highland Ave, still has a DMS-100 system installed today, serving the prefixes 292, 336, 474, and 477.

Based on these dates, it may be that this pay phone was only ever in service in the 619 area code, but perhaps there was an earlier type at that location. Perhaps it was upgraded when the central office switch was upgraded. Pay phone types have some prerequisites in terms of equipment needed at the central office.

Studying the urban development of the region would be useful to figure out what happened at this location.

Does the phone not have a label for its telephone number?  Public phones were indeed used not only to call out from that location, but often people would wait there at an agreed-upon time to receive a phone call. I don't know whether this was possible at all pay phone installations.

Some databases exist that list the installation date of central office prefixes, I used to have access to one some years ago, most free services now only list these dates starting with ca. year 2000.   I think, even the official NANPA website only lists the more recent ones, but I may not have looked into that enough.

I found this listing:   https://www.reversephonenumberlookup.me/phone/619-475-1005/
It states that the NXX prefix 475 was installed on 1994-02-04.  When playing with that site, it turns out that it also lists all the other 47X prefixes as being installed at that time, as well as 267.  The prefixes of the DMS-100 system in National City were also installed on 1994-02-04, if that site can be trusted in terms of accuracy.

From the TENP database we do know that 47X was available already in the 1950/60s in Spring Valley, so perhaps these dates can't be trusted that much, who knows when these databases were created and under what circumstances.


 



unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2016, 11:00:08 AM »
Perhaps you noticed the graffiti (art?) on the parking lot (now made famous!):


« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 11:02:52 AM by unbeldi »

unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2016, 08:47:07 AM »
During my little excursions into the desert :-) I learned a bit about local history as well, and it seems to relate to telephone history in one aspect.

The area was well known already in the 18th century by the local natives and the Spanish for its natural spring of fresh water, known as St. George's spring (transcribed),
In the 1800s it was settled and someone owned much of the area as a ranch. It was sold to the family of the founder of the magazine Scientific American and  named Spring Valley, although it was still known for some time as Helix, including the post office.  The ranch became one of the largest olive ranches in S.Cal.

It appears, the spring gave rise to the little lake south of the area, Sweetwater Reservoir, the name of which can be found in many places there, including the little automobile wrecking business next to the parking lot, as mentioned in an earlier post.

The spring can still be seen in arial maps in Google Earth, it is clearly highlighted by a line of trees along its bed, actually appearing to flow right south of our famous parking lot.

And this spring may also be the reason for the name of the central office and exchange, Greenfield. Surely the water may have been beneficial for anything living and green in the immediate vicinity.  GReenfield is one of the officially sanctioned central office names promulgated by AT&T in 1955 (Notes on Nationwide Dialing).  This does not mean the central office was renamed at that time, it could well have been in place before, and it would be interesting to find some newspaper articles, classified ads. or an old telephone book of Dan Diego, dated prior to 1955.

Turns out I have a personal experience from Spring Valley.  A long time ago, I was on a business trip to San Diego, and my host lived in Spring Valley. On the weekend he insisted to take me boating in the Bay. We drove out to his house in Spring Valley, it was hot and dry, it really felt like the desert out there, and we hooked the boat trailer to the car and made the journey down to San Diego Bay, to launch the boat. We actually got out of the Bay just into the open Pacific Ocean, the waves were horrendous, and I remember clinging onto the boat and in my mind to my life.  His wife was with us too, and they seemed to be doing a lot better than I was feeling.  Anyways, we turned around, and were promptly stopped by the water police patrol, who inspected the boat for safety equipment and what not.  Something was missing, I don't remember what, and he got a citation written up and they let us go.  Then we still had to haul that boat out of the water onto the trailer and haul it back to Spring Valley.  A lot of work for an hour or so on the water and having basically a terrible time, which of course I didn't mention.   I am having a better time in Spring Valley right now.

« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 09:03:43 AM by unbeldi »

Offline Payphone_Guy

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2016, 09:49:47 PM »
This is superb!  Thank you so much to everybody for helping out.  I really appreciate all the ideas and information.  When I first got into history I read this great book (The Historian's Craft, by Marc Bloch which is one of the landmark books of the discipline) in which, in part, he argues that historians are detectives.  I think this thread is perfect evidence of that!  What a great chase it's set up to be!

I'm doing as much research as I can on the area however, being on the opposite coast access to information has been limited - until now!  The quarry aspect is an interesting one and something which I will certainly refer to once I'm able to actually visit some nearby archives (likely next summer at the earliest).

The information on the central office is also vital as this places the payphone with an information network which fits perfectly with my method.  Should it be of interest, the telephone number on the phone is (619) 470-9728.  The listed call rate is 35 cents.  Based on some other information and the stamping on the coin return door, I believe the phone was manufactured between 1984 and 1990 (whether it was the first phone to be installed at the site, or whether the location and number existed prior to its installation still remains unclear).

I'm beginning to write up the project and will definitely be using all the information everyone has provided.  Please let me say thank you so much again to everyone on the board who has helped.  This is one of the most difficult projects I've undertaken and everything here is invaluable.  If the project remains as exciting as it is currently, I think it might turn out to be the best project I've ever undertaken!

Thanks again and I look forward to reporting back as things continue! :)

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2016, 10:00:18 PM »
Quote
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.

Did you get the keys for the phone locks when you purchased it? Just curious.
            John . . .

              

Offline RotarDad

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2016, 10:09:12 PM »
I thought I would share some small payphone memories:

During the 70s/early 80s, I would always carry a dime in my wallet so I could make a call.  I remember the dime would indent the leather over time, so you could easily see it from the outside.   I became interested in collectable 3-slots WE payphones, because I used one at the bowling alley to call mom to come pick us up.

As an adult, I vividly remember the trepidation one often felt with outdoor phones as you approached.  Will it work?  Is it clean enough to "risk" making a call?   One always kept the handset as far away from one's mouth as possible to avoid contact.  The cords were short, so the ergonomics weren't always the best.  And then there were all the numbers you had to enter to use a credit card to make a call.  As Teleplay mentioned you did always check the coin return.....

I also remember the sales meetings in the '90s where the hotel payphone banks would fill during meeting breaks, and then empty again.  Now I feel compelled to announce a payphone to my kids whenever I see one, (and often wonder out loud how long it will be there).   Even though most of us would not want to go back to a world w/o cell phones, I do lament the loss of all those "friendly" (and some not-so-friendly) payphones that used to be nearly everywhere......
Paul

unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2016, 10:13:28 PM »
Great, I frankly have been enjoying the journey so far myself,
but I am not planning on working on a second Ph.D. for myself yet, LOL.

Having had that telephone number in the beginning would have saved some work, but now it is a confirmation of the work.

The office code 470 is indeed one of those in that central office.

It is also interesting that the number in one of the upper 9XXX ranges, 97XX.   Starting in 1955, the Bell System traffic engineers recommended (as written in Notes on Nationwide Dialing, AT&T 1955) for new installation that coin lines should preferably be assigned numbers in the 9XXX thousand block, because it would automate the detection of calls from pay phones, so that the operator didn't have to determine whether the caller was on a pay phone.

When you look at the map, you find that previously to being a built-out road, it was just Quarry Trail, and this still extends Quarry Road today for some distance in the terrain, without pavement.

So, have you called that number ?

Have you got your pay phone to work ?    These are collectors on this forum, and we make almost all of our phones work again.

A pay phone can be made to work again too, even correctly with a pay phone controller that generates the right signals that are needed.



Offline Payphone_Guy

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2016, 10:34:32 PM »
Hi again,


Having had that telephone number in the beginning would have saved some work, but now it is a confirmation of the work.


Sorry!  I should have thought about that! - I apologize for the inconvenience! :-[


So, have you called that number ?


Yes I have.  It's been disconnected.  I've not been able to find anything more as yet (at least which is reliable information).


Have you got your pay phone to work ?    These are collectors on this forum, and we make almost all of our phones work again.


Not yet, though I'd love to.  Part of the reason it was cheap was because the keys are inside (you can hear something which is not coins when you tip the phone up).  I would love to access the inside, however from my research I am certain this will involve drilling and I just don't have the resources or tools (yet...) to do so.  As a former band technician I'd love to get involved with the mechanics and electronics however this will have to wait until a bit later unfortunately!

Thanks so much again for the help and sorry for not providing the phone number earlier in the thread!

Offline poplar1

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2016, 11:15:13 PM »
I would love to access the inside, however from my research I am certain this will involve drilling and I just don't have the resources or tools (yet...) to do so. 

Since you know where the phone was installed, it's likely that you can get the correct 29A key for the upper housing, so drilling of that lock may not be necessary.

The vault locks, on the other hand, are individually keyed.
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline Payphone_Guy

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2016, 12:08:39 PM »
Hi again everyone,

My apologies for the delay in replying - being the end of the semester, last week was rather crazy.

I just wanted to say thank you again to everyone who helped me out.  I massively appreciate the help and the information provided was invaluable and yielded many excellent references for my paper.  Most importantly, it has made for an excellent start to a larger project which I will continue to develop.  My goal now is to refine my ideas, work out how the structure of the project will look as it expands, and then seek new information accordingly.

I will keep everyone updated as things develop and thank you all very much once again. :) 

unbeldi

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2016, 03:43:45 PM »
So, how is this old pay phone doing now?

Offline timmerk

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Re: Request for Payphone Project Help (Ph.D Student)
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2017, 02:00:45 PM »
Any updates?