Home:  Other Apparatus: A and B COIN PHONE RENTERS UNIT, 1960's


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This type of back board and coin box was rented for installation in public houses and hall ways, originally designed by Hall Telephone Accessories Co Ltd around 1930, the design remained the same for over 30 years, only replacing the Tulip Mouthpiece and Butter Stamp Receiver with the Neophone Desk Set 232.

This item can be demonstrated.

Your comments:

  • The video is slightly misleading in that it shows the caller dialling the number and then hanging up when they hear beeps. Only local calls could be dialled directly and these were untimed, operator calls would have 3 minute intervals with associated "beeps", but in that case you pressed button A when the operator told you.

    The need for payment could be bypassed by tapping out the dialling pulses on the receiver rest. '9' and '0' could be dialled without money as these were needed for operator and 999 calls. So a number like 290 could be reached by tapping the '2', dialling the '9' and then dialling the zero. A number like 567 would be almost impossible to tap successfully.
    .......... Peter , N. Ireland, 14th of January 2014

  • I used to repair and maintain this and similar equipment back in Rhodesia in the 60's. We soon devised a way of making free calls. A length of cotton was attached to a 5d piece and this was inserted as normal into the slot to make a call. The coin held down a lever which disconnected the transmitter. When the call was answered the A, button was pressed which swept the coin into the coin box and also reconnected the transmitter. If tension was kept on the length of cotton when the A button was pressed, the coin wasn't pushed to fall into the coin box and then all you had to do was press the B button as though the call wasn't answered and you got your 5d coin back in the refund chute.
    .......... Tony Weeks, Crayford, UK, 27th of July 2013

  • Ref the video. The caller in the video states "There are the pips - my money is running out".
    There were no 'pips' on self dialled calls using the A/B box installation as the calls were untimed. 'Pips' were not introduced for self dialled calls until the introduction of STD calls with the Telephone No 705 payphone. A/B boxes were in use until 1994 - I have the penultimate one in use from the island of Foula to the west of the Shetland Islands - the last one was on Papa Stour the following week. I also have a pre-decimal version that was still in use until the introduction of the smaller 5p and 10p coins - it was in use on the SS Canberra and used shilling/old 5p coins in place of the old penny slot at the front. The one in the picture appears to be a decimalised version.
    .......... Ian Jolly, Yr Wyddgrug, N.Wales, 26th of August 2012

  • The squaddies at a local army camp near to where I worked as mtce engineer back in the 1960's, used to block the coin shute with a cigarette packet or similar and return at a later point and collect the coins that could not be retrieved by unwitting telephone users.

    A penny was worth quite a bit back then. Five pennies would buy half a pint of beer.
    .......... Henry Street, Banbury, 30th of October 2011

  • The Jerningham Arms, Shifnal, Shropshire had something like this; it included instructions as to how to dial a number - place finger in hole containing the first numeral of the number, rotate dial until finger meets stop, allow the dial to return itself. Then repeat for the other numerals. Or something very similar, anyway!
    .......... Ant, Ellesmere, 26th of December 2010

  • As a young Production Engineer I worked at Hall Telephone Accessories Ltd
    from 1955-1958. The A&B box was still being made then. I was told it cost £8.50 to produce. I remember the great care taken to put on an rub down several coats of paint. It was all made in house including the metal pressings. I have one of the dishes which collected the money.
    Production technology has moved on. Today you could not afford to manufacture that product in the way it was then. The front cover which made it secure was fitted with a simple lock. It was around that time vandalism started. That was yesterday's world.
    .......... Ernest Wisner, Oundle. Northamptonsire, 29th of December 2009

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