The Phonebooth
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The Phonebooth is a great source of historical telephone related information. We feature information about the Bell System and it's companies -- including Western Electric and Teletype Corporation.

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This site features a growing collection of advertisements including some related to telephone booths and the Bell System. You can also find some general information about pay telephones, including several pictures of 3-slot coin collectors, single slot pay telephones, and coinless payphones.

A section focuses on telephone booths that are still located in Iowa and other sections have telephone booth photos and news reports related to telephone booths. There is another section with "How to use the..." and "How to use your..." instruction manuals for Western Electric telephones and other equipment (including a fun to read manual about operating a cord switchboard).

If you have any site suggestions, please feel free to send an email to [email protected] or use the form on the Contact Us page.

Site Contents

Telephone Advertisements

Our collection of vintage telephone advertisements covers a wide range from telephone sets, the convenience of public telephones and telephone booths, the Bell System's role during wartime and many, many more. The advertisements range from the early 1900's to the mid 1980's. There are even a few radio advertisements in MP3 format available for download.

Bell System Advertisement

Pay Telephones and Telephone Booths

Public telephones are constantly diminishing in number as a result of the convenience and availability of mobile telephones and the increased costs of providing public phones. This section covers pay phones and phone booths and includes many photos of telephone booths from the Iowa Phonebooth Project -- a search for the remaining telephone booths in Iowa.

3-slot Payphone

Telephone Central Offices

While searching for remaining telephone booths, I found that many times they were located at or near the town's telephone central office. This was especially true for towns and cities that were formerly part of the Bell System. This caused me to start the search of each town at the telephone central office. As a result, I found that I had pictures of many of the telephone central offices in Iowa. I share those pictures in this section of the site.

Telephone Building


Years ago I had a model 35 ASR Teletype that I had to get rid of because of space limitations. It was truly a mechanical marvel to me. Recently I was able to purchase a model 28 KSR Teletype and I am slowly getting it back to operating condition. While the model 35 could operate at 110 baud, the model 28 tops out at a whopping 75 baud. With a gear change, it can even operate at slower speeds. In this section, I have pictures of my Teletype and most of information and documentation I have been able to get my hands on.

Teletype Machine
1A2 Key Telephone Systems

The standard of the 70's and 80's, the traditional 1A2 key telephone systems are quickly becoming history. This section provides a bit of background on the 1A2 key system in general, and lists information about most of the Key Telephone Units (KTU's) available for the 1A2.

Key Telephone


Lots of documentation.

Much, much more...

You can find a copy of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell's original patent for the telephone, pictures of various telephone company items, a telephone timeline, telephone intercept recordings and more.

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