International Find a Pay Phone Booth Day
Date When Celebrated: March 10.
Today is International Find a Pay Phone Booth Day. It's not so easy to spot a phone booth any more. They are on the "Endangered Species" list. While they are few and far between, pay phone booths are still out there. You just have to look. Today is a call to action. Your mission today, is to go out and find one of the increasingly rare phone booths.
In the days before cell phones, you could a find phone booth almost anywhere you looked. You could find them in any city or town, on almost every street corner in America. Phone booths were in every restaurant, store, mall, and public building. For a dime, now a quarter, you could quickly and easily place a phone call.
Over the several decades of their use, there have been many variations of phone booth designs. The traditional phone booth was an enclosed, rectangular box. Original designs were wooden frames with glass walls, evolving to metal frames with glass or plexi-glass walls. Modern, indoor phone booths are an open booth, with a pay phone inside of it. (See picture below)
Did You know? The first pay phone booth was called a "telephone cabinet".
The arrival of cell phones spelled the death knoll for millions of phone booths, Yet remarkably, a few are still around and working.
If you find a phone booth today, place a quarter in the slot and call someone you know. But, be quick about it. The quarter pays for three minutes. If you want to talk longer, it will cost another quarter for just three additional minutes.
The objective of International Find a Pay Phone Booth Day, go out and find one. Then, savor the nostalgia for a moment. Take a picture, and by all means make a phone call.
BTW: We are still looking for a picture of the traditional, fully enclosed booths. If you have find one like this please a picture to us!
Phone Booth Stuffing
As a prank, on March 20,1959, twenty five students in Durbin, South Africa, succeeded in stuffing themselves together inside a phone booth. This record was recognized by Guinness Book of World Book of Records. This wild stunt quickly caught the attention of people, mostly students, across the world. Phone Booth Stuffing became a worldwide craze.
In England, it was called "Telephone Booth Squash". A few other groups of students claimed to have broken the world record, but were determined to have cheated. One of these groups used an extra large phone booth. This resulted in a set of rules for Phone Booth Stuffing. The 25 person record stands to this day. As quickly as this craze began, it died out in late 1959.
Alexander Graham Bell was granted the first official patent for his telephone on March 7 1876. He fought years of legal challenges to his claim that he was its sole inventor.
After years of work, Alexander Graham Bell made the world's first telephone call on March 10, 1876.
Oddly, Alexander Graham Bell refused to have a telephone in his study. He feared it would distract him from his scientific work.
In 1878, Thomas Doolittle created the first telephone booth. Originally called a "telephone cabinet", users could place calls between two towns for 15 cents. It was patented in 1883.
In the United States, it took 44 years for the automobile to gain 25 % market share. The telephone reached 25% market share in 35 years. The Internet took just 7 years to reach this benchmark.
Several days after the famous "Mr. Watson come here ...." Bell was testing his instrument over a longer distance. Bell and Watson were upstairs with one instrument while Charles Williams was using the other instrument downstairs. Someone called for Bell from another telephone. As he went to the other room, he handed the instrument to Watson and Bell said "here, hold this"; thus the term "putting someone on hold" was born.
The first telephone exchange opened on January 28, 1878, in New Haven, Connecticut.
Phone service was established at the White House one year after its invention. President Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to have telephone phone service.
In the early days of telephone booths, some phone booth users did not like them, as the doors often got stuck.
In the 70's and before, all phone booths would take incoming calls. People could wait for a call, or call back. Sometime in the 80's the phone company stopped this service, claiming it helped drug dealers.
In the 1990's, before cell phones became popular, there were and estimated 3,000,000 pay phone booths in the United States alone.
Origin of International Pay Telephone Booth Day
This special day was created in 2018 by Bob Matthews of Rochester, NY. Stumbling upon an increasingly rare pay phone booth in a local shopping mall, Matthews recognized the importance to recording this soon to be relic, before they completely disappeared..
This special day is defined as an "international" day. The importance and popularity of pay phone booths was truly global.
March 10th is designated "International Pay Telephone Booth Day". This is the date Bell made his first telephone call to his assistant, Mr. Watson.
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