UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Powered By Google Custom Search Vintage Radio Service Data

Go Back   UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum > Specific Vintage Equipment > Vintage Telephony and Telecomms

Notices

Vintage Telephony and Telecomms Vintage Telephones, Telephony and Telecomms Equipment

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
Old 20th Nov 2009, 6:10 pm   #21
Station X
Moderator
 
Station X's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4, UK.
Posts: 15,197
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

See post #12.
__________________
Graham. Forum Moderator

Keep the soldering iron hot.
Station X is online now  
Old 20th Nov 2009, 7:34 pm   #22
Boom
Nonode
 
Boom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Westbury, Wiltshire, UK.
Posts: 2,451
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanBeckett View Post
David,
Were the A/B boxes really more secure, or were people just more civilised in those days?
Alan
I don't really think people were basically any more honest than now Alan. A lot of it was that people kept an eye on the phone boxes and didn't want them damaged. Few people had a telephone in their home in those days (50s) so it was in their own interest to look after them and their kids knew it so left them alone.
__________________
Dave
--------------
A lovely childhood. Just me, my mother and the voices.....
Boom is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2009, 8:05 pm   #23
paulsherwin
Moderator
 
paulsherwin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 18,575
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilley View Post
I don't really think people were basically any more honest than now Alan. A lot of it was that people kept an eye on the phone boxes and didn't want them damaged. Few people had a telephone in their home in those days (50s) so it was in their own interest to look after them and their kids knew it so left them alone.
Many were also located next to sub post offices rather than in the middle of nowhere or in rough estates, as increasingly became the case in the 70s as the post and telecoms businesses drifted apart.

Paul
paulsherwin is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2009, 8:51 pm   #24
hamid_1
Hexode
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: High Wycombe, Bucks. UK.
Posts: 415
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Going back to the original question, I understand the last A-B coinbox was removed from the Isle of Rum in the inner Hebrides, possibly in 1994. Apparently it went straight to a museum somewhere. This information came in 1995 from a stallholder selling antique phones and a decimal-converted A-B box, who told me that the last one was removed a few months earlier.

There is a web page here which shows the later version in use in 1994. Certainly I remember the later model, often with a separate 700 series handset, was quite common until the late 1980s. The earlier version is described here.

It seems there were a lot of dishonest people about. I often used to see vandalised payphones with the coinboxes ripped out. I suppose it was seen as a victimless crime, since the phones were owned by the government, then BT who were seen as a huge faceless company making vast profits.
hamid_1 is offline  
Old 21st Nov 2009, 9:18 am   #25
Darren-UK
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Blackpool, Lancashire, UK.
Posts: 4,046
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hamid_1 View Post
Going back to the original question, I understand the last A-B coinbox was removed from the Isle of Rum in the inner Hebrides, possibly in 1994. Apparently it went straight to a museum somewhere.
That sounds familiar, I knew it was either the Shetlands or the Inner Hebrides but I can't be sure of the date. Google or one of the telephone websites may say; I'll have a look. I too understood the last A-B instrument went to a museum. Perhaps it was the former BT Museum which is now either disbanded or out of bounds to the public.
__________________
Darren.
Darren-UK is offline  
Old 21st Nov 2009, 10:01 am   #26
davidw
Heptode
 
davidw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK.
Posts: 524
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

The box coin collecting No 700 diagram was drawn up in 1961 and last ammended in 1978
(N1169)
In this time it became the No705 (IIRC with cosmetics designed by Lord Snowdon). The 705 was superceded by the Box Coin Telephone No21 when it became apparent that armoured cash boxes were required (same look and electrically similar). I came off the road in the mid 70s losing touch with changes.
As Graham has already mentioned armoured handset cords were a feature quite early on.
I recall being called to one as an emergency one day to find a young lady securely stuck to one with super glue. I had to dismantle half the unit to get her off to hospital with handset and cord still firmly attached to her left hand. It was quite a squeeze in there and the perpetrators watching from accross the road!
__________________
Dave G1AGK.
My perception is my reality!
davidw is offline  
Old 21st Nov 2009, 10:13 am   #27
Darren-UK
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Blackpool, Lancashire, UK.
Posts: 4,046
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Deep within this page, under the year 1925, is a comment that some A-B's remained in use in Scotland until 1992.
__________________
Darren.
Darren-UK is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2009, 10:55 pm   #28
Ragnvald
Triode
 
Ragnvald's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Fife, UK.
Posts: 10
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Speaking as an ex BT Payphones Engineer I remember the changeover to Pay on Answer was still going in 1978 when I started with the PO. I transferred to payphones in the mid/late eighties and we were ripping out the POA boxes of which there were three types the Public one piece version, the renters with separate telephone (wall or desk) and the smaller red hospital payphone which used a smaller mechanism (I think). All three types got broken into.

They were replaced with pushbutton payphones which were susceptible to many frauds and modifications were required to overcome them. Very good for overtime. The last generation of PB payphones had the most break ins, having the largest capacity for cash. Soon people will say what is a payphone never mind a coin box.
Ragnvald is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2009, 7:56 pm   #29
Brased
Hexode
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: London, UK.
Posts: 314
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren-UK View Post
That sounds familiar, I knew it was either the Shetlands or the Inner Hebrides but I can't be sure of the date. Google or one of the telephone websites may say; I'll have a look. I too understood the last A-B instrument went to a museum. Perhaps it was the former BT Museum which is now either disbanded or out of bounds to the public.
The former BT Museum is now represented by BT Connected Earth. Parts of the collection have been re-housed in various existing museums including Amberley where BT have funded a new building. This building houses part of the former national collection as well as items collected locally.

http://www.connected-earth.com/Daysout/index.htm
http://www.connected-earth.com/Dayso...eums/index.htm

Edward
Brased is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2009, 10:38 pm   #30
kalee20
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Lynton, N. Devon, UK.
Posts: 5,147
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren-UK View Post
That sounds familiar, I knew it was either the Shetlands or the Inner Hebrides but I can't be sure of the date.
I thought it was the Shetlands, not the Hebrides, too.
kalee20 is offline  
Old 25th Nov 2009, 10:32 am   #31
Station X
Moderator
 
Station X's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4, UK.
Posts: 15,197
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Discussions about fraud, even in the past, aren't appropriate to these forums. Please stay on topic.

One post deleted.
__________________
Graham. Forum Moderator

Keep the soldering iron hot.

Last edited by Station X; 25th Nov 2009 at 11:04 am. Reason: Previous post removed.
Station X is online now  
Old 23rd Dec 2009, 11:26 am   #32
PaulR
Nonode
 
PaulR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Southport Lancashire, UK.
Posts: 2,028
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

I went to the tram museum at Crich in Derbyshire a few years ago and they had what they reckoned to be the last working A-B type phone. It was housed in a beautifully preserved telephone box complete with mirror, directory holding unit and that chromium plated thing which looked like it was intended to hold spare change, but was usually used as an ash tray.

Paul
PaulR is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2010, 8:18 pm   #33
DAVEHALL
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Coventry, Warwickshire, UK.
Posts: 339
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard_Newman View Post
Another point that I don't think has been mentioned is, as far as I remember, there was no limit to the length of the call! You could talk as long as you wanted for fourpence. Am I right or was there a limit?


Rich.
Seem to remember that is correct .Not that I ever did .( In Auto area).Insert key J ,take front of box ,move dial disable lever .Dial .On connection ,press buton B.
Bit different in manual area -the operators all knew me as staff.
The thing to watch out for was stacks of coin ,neatly layed out .In that case ,lift handset ,dial 0 ,and ask operator to witness found coin going in box .In most cases these coins were left as bait by By GPO investigation branch .
DAVEHALL is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2010, 8:34 pm   #34
DAVEHALL
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Coventry, Warwickshire, UK.
Posts: 339
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren-UK View Post
Deep within this page, under the year 1925, is a comment that some A-B's remained in use in Scotland until 1992.
That seems a more reliable date. Long before then the island exchanges (electronic units with a single connect path internally, with level 0 on a single channel VHF parented on Mallaig) such as RUM/Eigg/Muck/Canna, as part of the Highlands and Islands scheme had their radio links relocated with the abolishment of Mallaig manual exchange) to another manual exchange. I think it was Oban.

From memory this was pre 1978. In remote parts, the sub PO had one line, which also was used for the phonebox, via an isolating switch. What could have delayed some of them was the fact that a lot were Coronation boxes - placed on site in 1953 and requiring a lot more than just to be a lossmaker to be removed.
DAVEHALL is offline  
Old 7th Jan 2010, 12:39 pm   #35
beery
Heptode
 
beery's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Ware, Hertfordshire, UK.
Posts: 710
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Hi All,
whilst I can't actually answer the question directly I can point out that the change over of any particular coin box occured when the local manual exchange went automatic or the automatic exchange was replaced/enlarged.

However, even after the country became entirely STD in 1979 there still may have been AB boxes around, but it would have meant having to have a central suite of operators to time the STD calls. Does anyone know if this happened?

Btw I have a working AB box. It is very well made, but mine had a refund chute that had been bent with a crow bar. It did not help access to the money though. I had to have the spot welds re-made.
The post payment box uses a dial-type mechanism driven by a weight which was raised by putting a coin. Essentually the 5p being smaller in diameter raised the weight to a lower height than the 10p. The only reason for having the two separate coin slots was to measure that the diameter of the 5 and 10p coins were within tollerence.
The weight would drop back, regulated by a govenor and would dial a number of earth pulses which would tell the exchange the amount paid.

Also, if you remember there was a lock on the coin slot, which opened upon the line current reversal which happened when your call was answered - time to put the money in.
Then, as you time ran out, do you remember the pips? A very faint memory for me. I assuming they were based on the flicker earth from the exchange, 0.2 sec on, 0.2 sec off. I will have to recreate it on my own exchange.

Cheers
Andy

Cheers
Andy
beery is offline  
Old 7th Feb 2012, 10:04 pm   #36
Pellseinydd
Hexode
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Flintshire, UK.
Posts: 457
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Just stumbled across this thread.

To correct the record - the last few were; Muck, changed over in Late 1993. Canna, Soay and Foula followed in July/August 1994.

The very last A/B box was on the island of Papa Stour, one of the Shetland Islands in on the 25th August 1994. The last phone call using the A/B box was made a Mr Ted Gray (aged 57) to his daughter on the Mainland of Shetland (They could only dial local calls). The A/B box 'disappeared' so the Payphone Manager told me at the time but I have the notices from the frames in the Kiosk. On the back of one of them is written 'Papa Stour 1' - the original number before Papa Stour got its own exchange.

I've also got the A/B box from Foula - acquired when I recovered the Foula exchange for preservation in mid July 1995 - the last electro-mechanical exchange in service in the BT network. Foula had its own STD code until 1995 - 0393 3 and although the numbers were shown as four digits in the directory, the islanders only dialled two digits to reach each other and calls were untimed. You can hear an excerpt from a BBC Radio 4 programme 'The Secret Life of Telephone numbers' on 01595 780222 about the Foula kiosk and numbers.

I've also got the A/B box from Canna, also acquired when I recovered Canna exchange in 1997 a couple of years after it had been replaced. Canna never appeared as an exchange as it was part of the Mallaig 'Linked Numbering Scheme, so had a Mallaig number.

Incidentally although the replacement STD payphones were known as 'Pay on Answer' payphone there several types of A/B box; some were 'Pre-payment' and those on certain manual exchanges were known as 'Post payment', easily recognised as they looked like an A/B box but no button A or B.

There is one A/B box still on the public network in a 1920's K1 type concrete kiosk at the Tramway Museum at Crich where it has been in service since the 1960's but it is technically a 'preserved' one looked after by the Museum.

Ian J
Pellseinydd is offline  
Old 16th Feb 2012, 11:45 am   #37
D.Finney
Tetrode
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Wigan, Greater Manchester, UK.
Posts: 99
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

The last time I recall seeing one of the old A B type phones was on Morecambe Railway station, that was about 1973-74.
D.Finney is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2012, 10:10 pm   #38
Andy Green
Pentode
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Waterford, Republic of Ireland
Posts: 241
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

The Black button A/B phones were still in use in the Republic of Ireland well into the late 80's, after moving here in 1981 from the UK it was strange to use them again - I also recall re-using the 'tapping out the number' ruse which I had learnt as a 9 year old in Sussex, just before the grey box was installed in my local village phone box!
Incidentally you couldn't (officially) direct dial the UK from Ireland back then, although if one wrote down the routing that the operators used when placing a call (Manchester Guardian was involved as I recall) you sometimes could dial yourself. Although tapping was theoretically possible, the chance of a mistake on a long string of digits was almost certain!!
Andy Green is offline  
Old 16th Mar 2012, 9:07 am   #39
vosperd
Hexode
 
vosperd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Bristol, UK.
Posts: 322
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

The black boxes probably contained mainly old pennies, probably of liitle interest to vandals as you needed a lot of them. The grey boxes had not only the old threepenny bit but sixpenses and shillings as well which would have been quite a haul.
Don

Last edited by vosperd; 16th Mar 2012 at 9:21 am.
vosperd is offline  
Old 16th Mar 2012, 2:13 pm   #40
DAVEHALL
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Coventry, Warwickshire, UK.
Posts: 339
Default Re: 'Button A-B' and grey payphones.

Pellseinydd. Very interesting, that piece, as I was usually sent to accompany the Mallaig linesman when he did maintenance visits, way back in the late 60's early 70's.
DAVEHALL is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:09 pm.


All information and advice on this forum is subject to the WARNING AND DISCLAIMER located at https://www.vintage-radio.net/rules.html.
Failure to heed this warning may result in death or serious injury to yourself and/or others.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2002 - 2019, Paul Stenning.