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Old 20th Nov 2009, 3:16 pm   #7
Station X
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4, UK.
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Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

If DES did mean grey (STD) payphones there were two versions. The one with the integral handset was used in public kiosks and the one with a separate telephone (usually wall mounted) was used in pubs, clubs etc.

The kiosk versions ended up with armoured handset cords to make it difficult for vandals to cut them. This made the cord so stiff that lead weights were fitted in the handset to make it sit firmly on the switch hooks. The mechanism and coinbox had locks with different keys. Linemen only had keys for the mechanism. The coinbox contained a cash box which locked itself when removed. A special tool was required to open it. These cash boxes were collected by postmen on their rounds. Some coinbox lids were fitted with alarms monitored at the exchange. Later the entire compartment was made from armoured plate and the lid recessed to prevent the use of a jemmy.

Special "fake" coins were supposed to be used for testing, but most line men blocked the chute between mechanism and coinbox so they could use a normal coin. If they forgot to remove the blockage, coins would build up in the mechanism and jam it. This would result in a second "unable to insert coins" maintenace visit.
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