Five interesting facts about pay phones

September 5, 2018

Relatively few remain

In 1999, you still could plunk a coin into one of 2 million phone booths in the United States. Only 5 percent of those are left today. About a fifth of America’s 100,000 remaining pay phones are in New York, according to the FCC.

Cellphones bring drop

The demise of pay phones is an unsurprising result of cellphones in 95 percent of Americans’ pockets, according to Pew Research.

Glass gained ground in ’50s

In the 1950s, glass outdoor telephone booths began replacing wooden ones.

BellSouth 1st to back out

On Feb. 2, 2001, BellSouth announced it was getting out of the pay phone business. That would make it the first major phone company to do so.

Hartford had 1st

In 1889, the first public coin telephone was installed by inventor William Gray at a bank in Hartford, Conn. Gray’s previous claim to fame was inventing the inflatable chest protector for baseball.

Sources: cnn.com, telephonetribute.com

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