When I was a kid, if you were away from home and needed to make a call, you had better have had a quarter on you for the payphone.
- Fact 1: The first public payphone, invented by William Gray, was installed in a Hartford, CT bank in 1889.
- Fact 2: The use of payphones peaked around the year 2000, with more than two million phones installed in the US alone.
- Fact 3: The rise of mobile phones has caused a steep drop in payphone use; In 2008, the number of payphones in the US fell 58 percent.
- Fact 4: While reformulating metal coins in 1964, the US Treasury worked with Bell Labs to ensure the new coin would still work in payphones.
- Fact 5: Until electronic systems arrived in 1965, inserting a coin into a payphone rang a bell to signal the operator to connect the call.