Rotary Pay Phones, Encyclopedias and Other Relics

By McIntyre, Doug | Pasadena Star-News, March 5, 2014 | Go to article overview

Rotary Pay Phones, Encyclopedias and Other Relics


McIntyre, Doug, Pasadena Star-News


The phone was ringing and I scrambled from room to room unable to find it. This is exactly what wasn't supposed to happen after I sprung for a new cordless phone system with five handsets.

FIVE and I still couldn't find the damn phone!

So I took a step back in time and bought a restored 1940s coin- operated rotary pay phone and stuck it up on the kitchen wall.

Problem solved.

This telecommunications relic turned out to be a practical antidote to the physics of cordless telephones, the mysterious force that makes all cordless handsets gravitate to the farthest corner of the house or hide between the sofa cushions.

The pay phone in the kitchen isn't going anywhere.

As long as I can find the kitchen - and if you've seen me recently you know that hasn't been a problem - there's at least one phone in the house I can always find.

When friends come over they always ask "does it work?" and can't resist a nostalgic spin of the dial. If you're a boomer or above you grew up feeding nickels, dimes and quarters into rotary pay phones.

Not so Sean Sullivan.

Sean is 12 and occasionally stops by with his parents for a visit. Like all proper American 12-year-olds he has never owned anything that doesn't come with a charger. All the telephones in Sean's life have been smartphones. Yet, upon seeing our fire-engine red 1940s rotary pay phone, a staple of my analog childhood, Junior Sullivan's face lit up like Og the Caveman seeing fire for the very first time.

"How does it work?" he asked.

And after extracting a nickel from him, I was happy to demonstrate. I made 70 cents during that visit. I wish the Sullivans would stop by more often.

Of course coin-operated pay phones have nearly vanished from the American landscape along with other once-commonplace domestic items rendered obsolete by our obsession with the digital revolution.

I have two shelves worth of encyclopedias.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Rotary Pay Phones, Encyclopedias and Other Relics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.