Maybe you remember what it felt like, what it sounded like, to use one of these. I remember the dusty plastic cover on the heavy phone book dangling beneath the box. I remember the slight delay between picking up the receiver and hearing the dial tone down the line. I remember the automated voice insisting on more coins in the machine. I remember the road noise, the ringing phone on the other end of the line, the throat clearing anticipation. Most of those sensations are gone, but a few of the old workhorses remain, including this battered old friend rotting away at a gas station just below the campus of Florida A&M University.
Inspired by 2600 Magazine’s longtime obsession with these beautiful, hackable old devices, I keep an eye open for them and try to grab pictures when I can.
There was no dial tone when I placed the dangling speaker to my ear and picked up the other end, but I did hear a strange clicking sound. That may have been the sound of wires striking metal, or the death rattle of the ancient and destroyed mechanism.
1 thought on “Old Friends: Payphones of Tallahassee”
I remember, Our roads were more safer when these were in use for sure, well unless it was late at night and you broke down and no phone close by. Cell phones have put an end to these, but if you remember these life was less chaotic, or just less socialized.
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