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U.S. PAYPHONE

units

 
Name Western Electric Charge-A-Call
Maker
Date
Though the Charge-A-Call phone does not take coins, it still qualifies as a Pay Phone since it is used beside other payphones and works with primarily the same technology.

The Charge-A-Call phone was Bell/Western Electric's answer to making a cheap pay phone where people would only make calling card or other operator-assisted calls (collect, 3rd number, etc). These phones were invented in 1978 and made until AT&T's divestiture in 1984. All of these phones are blue. Only touch-tone style phones were made. The phones made for Bell companies are embossed with a 1970's Bell logo on the bottom of the body (as this picture shows) while ones made for independents do not have an embossed logo.

Unfortunately, this phone never really caught on as Bell had hoped. One thing was at the time the phone was made, people still primarily made coin calls. Another problem was that the phone did not look like a standard phone and scared away potential users.

Some of these phones are still in use, but are grandfathered in place. No new installations have been made in many years.