TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Color 3 Slot Payphones?

Re: Color 3 Slot Payphones?

Mr Joseph Singer (
Tue, 25 Jul 2006 17:46:40 PDT 24 Jul 2006 08:59:44 -0700 wrote:

> An old "Brady Bunch" episode showed the parents using 3 slot pay
> phones in a fancy restaurant. They were beige.

> While the vast majority of Bell System 3 slot pay phones were black,
> in some places they did use colors; I've seen beige in many places.

> In rare instances, 3 slot phones had Touch Tone.

> Some 3 slots were "modernized" by use of a flat panel front, but it
> was the same phone behind it with chutes to route the coins.

> Would anyone know what how common colored 3 slot pay phones were, and
> if any were other than beige? Also, how common were Touch Tone 3 slot
> phones?

> I've seen single slot phones in a dark green instead of heavy gray in
> a few places. I think all rotary models were converted to TT.

Myself I've only seen colored three-slot coin phones in beige and
olive green.

I can't recall ever seeing that many color three-slot coin phones.
The ones that I saw were either beige or olive green. The touch-tone
three-slotters had a brushed metal front panel surrounding the keypad.
I never saw very many three-slot coin phones perhaps because
touch-tone itself only started to come into common use in the early to
mid-sixties and the at the time "new" fortress (big boxy style single
slot) style payphones both in dial (Very often grey dial surround and
grey handset with blue "strain relief" and an armored cable between
the handset and the body of the fortress) and touch-tone models. With
that in mind the life of three-slot touch tone models was likely

Speaking of fortress style pay phones how many times have you seen a TV
or movie that has someone using a fortress style pay phone and when the
coins are inserted you hear a ding-ding?! When three-slotters were
replaced by single-slot fortress phones there *never* was any external
sound. At the outset when coins were inserted the operator could hear
beep for a nickle or beep-beep for a dime or beep-beep-beep-beep-beep
for a quarter which was on later models just a feed to the operator's
console indicating how much had been inserted.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: But occassionally even later on, an
operator had to manually collect the money by listening to the beeps.
The 5 and 8 keys (or maybe it was the 6 and 9 keys) when pressed
together very rapidly once or twice or five times in a row gave the
audible sound required to simulate a nickle, dime or quarter quite
well. PAT]

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