Travelling back in time

Unused public phone

In former times, it was very complicated, expensive or impossible to perform non-verbal communication. It took ages until letters reached the recipient since horses brought them or they were shipped over the seas of this world. Over time, not only the way of post delivery changed and became more pleasant for all persons involved. The rapid technical developments of the last 200 years also brought us the possibility to talk over distance with others by the usage of a tool which is called phone.

As in most of the cases, groundbreaking inventions are only accessible for those who have enough bills to pay for it. And this was also true for phones. However, also those who did not have the right income wanted to use this service. So, it was bound to happen that the first public phone was made available in 1878.

Sure, that the prices were still high, but it was chic to use the new invention and therefore cities started to have more and more public phones. Over time, they became the “meeting spot” for everybody who wanted to see and be seen.

However, time went by, and the private phone became more and more affordable in the 1990ies. I remember how much I adored this incredible machine when I was a kid. The more people got a private phone, the less public ones were needed. The final change to individual devices came when mobile phones became more and more present. Today, almost nobody is using public phones, even though they still do not give up and try to go with the time in many countries. In particular, this means that they also offer SMS and internet these days.

When I came by this phone, I had to laugh a little. Knowing that it was probably not used for making a phone call for a long time, I thought that it was very amusing, that it was reused as a kind of table trash bin for used cups and tetra packs. Somehow, I was expecting it to ring. But I guess my phantasy was going “wild” a bit because of all of the movies which give the public phone an important role.

At the end, it was somehow sorrowful to see this poor public phone. It was painted amateurishly, stood there all alone, being unemployed, not used, needed and wanted with trash on its head, waiting to die.

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