What follows are public telephones created in a time when phones did not roam freely and in pockets.
To make a call, one would either enter a specially-created booth (or box), or simply stand close by as the receivers were tethered to the phone unit by a short cord, then insert a variety of coins depending on the location called (local, domestic or international) or in some cases, use a purpose-made phone card, or even a credit card (though doing so often exposed one to fraudulent actors).
Perhaps you have already imagined the unsanitary nature of sharing a phone handset (placed next/close to ear and mouth of course) with strangers – though perhaps this increased “herd immunity” despite being rather unpleasant. Note that oftentimes the coin return slots were checked for forgotten change but the miner was surprised to find discarded chewing gum, or even-less-savoury items, instead.
This gallery is simply random examples, captured “in the wild” in various locations globally. Additional volumes of similar collections provide additional examples – both international and domestic (to Canada / USA), as well as hotel house phones.
This scrapbook is really a large notepad I suppose. Made from repurposed LP cover of The Ramones “Rocket to Russia ” (the inside vinyl as well as the cover arrived damaged and was replaced).
The folio-style front cover interior is decorated with the album’s damaged liner notes which is also used to cover the binding over the sewn-in pad of Hilroy Typewriter paper (found in my Mom’s stuff, probably leftover since the 1970/80s).
Barely started to use this one (mostly wrote letters and tore out the pages) and as such, sits in a storage locker waiting its turn to fulfil its noble purpose.
Driving across the United States mid-west region (Iowa and Nebraska, July 2015) I snapped photos with Lomo La Sardina (Sardine Can) camera loaded with expired 35mm film, directly out the moving vehicle window each :15 minutes for a full roll. The results are here, unedited, glitches and all – order is unintentionally scrambled but that’s not really the point.
A rather large batch of handmade cards made from excerpts from my Fck Stats, Make Art dossiers (heroes and metaphors), scraps for poetry, and pre-franked stamps from Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North), collaged on white stock, with personal (albeit cryptic) notes scribbled, and sent somewhat anonymously (with assistance from a friend) to unsuspecting folks who seemed in need of a little pick-me-up parable to remind they are remarkable and executing noteworthy import-ness.