Pay Phonesby Tyler Woods on May. 16, 2012, under Life
The other day I had an 9 year-old walk into my office while texting on their iphone. I am a psychotherapist. One thing a person does not do when walking into their therapists office is to be texting on your phone. But wait, this child was not texting on a regular cell phone, it was an iphone. I was unclear why an 9 year-old would need an iphone. I asked the mother and she said, well in case they need me and this got me thinking…
I have a droid phone. I have not graduated to an iphone yet, and I like my droid for the most part. I have two offices and I can pretty much keep all my client files in my phone which is linked to my tablet so I can carry all my work in my purse. It works well for me and much lighter than a laptop. My cell phone is my office phone. I am on call pretty much 24/7 as I do a lot of work with suicide prevention so I need to be contacted. Before cell phones I had a pager. They worked well. I would get the page and get to the nearest phone, which was normally a pay phone and make the call. I always kept enough change on me to be sure I could make up to a half dozen calls a day if need be.
Pay phone were on every corner and sometimes four and five pay phones on each corner. There was an abundance of pay phone on every street block, in every store, in every school. That way 9 and 10 year-olds did not need an iphone. Today, seeing a pay phone is a rarity. You don’t see them much and when I see a payphone, I have memories and digging for my quarters to make a call. So where did pay phone come from and where did they go?
Pay telephone stations began in 1878 and were maintained by attendants who collected the money due after people made their calls. Then in The first unmanned “pay phone” was created by William Gray in 1889 and it was such a hit that within twenty years, pay phone were everywhere.
Thomas Watson who helped Alexander Graham Bell invent the telephone created the first telephone booth. Watson designed a booth built of wood with a domed top with a ventilator, windows and screen. In the 50s, the glass phone booths started to appear. That is also when the fad of phone booth stuffing began. Those wild and crazy college students of the late 50s would stuff as many as 25 people in a small booth. Who would have thunk?
Now by the beginning of the 60s, over a million pay phones existed and more was to come. It is hard to imagine that for some people, but for me, phone booths were an essential part of our lives. Pay phones made life a little simpler back then. You could call home, take care of business, and when you think of it, the pay phone was cheaper than cell phones.
With cell phones everywhere, there is no real need to pay phones as much and you do not see them as often or as many of them. I still will never understand why a 9 year old needs a iphone. If parents are concerned, there are cell phones age appropriate that allows the child to call the parents or emergency services only. The average age for a child to get a cell phone according to studies ranges from 11-13 years-old. What I would love to remind these young kids of is how well we survived without them, as well as how important they are to us today.
Do you recall using pay phones? I sure do!