Hello to the people in the future,
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 primarily Japan phones but also a few from Whidbey Island, Washington State USA which surfaced in my vast archive – and both current working pay-phones (though i did not test this assumption) and two units which i am not exactly sure of purpose or operation – one on a sorta desk panel and another looking like a field unit of sorts.
Additional volumes of similar collections provide additional examples – both international and domestic (to Canada / USA), as well as additional examples of hotel “house” phones, various antique and historic specimens the world-over.
Note: now that i am living in Japan with minimal international travel planned, this may be the last collection for a while, or it may not – who’s to say?