Phone Booths And Pay Phones 1940's to 1980's

If was not that long ago that no one had cell phones. I can remember the famous private-eye from Washington DC Nick Beltrante telling me that in the 1970's he was offered at job with the George McGovern for President Campaign as director of security after he debugged the Watergate building. He took the job because he was issued a car cell phone. In you had a car cell phone at that period of time, you were really somebody. Investigators carried around rolls or quarters so they could use payphones to stay in constant contact with their clients and run down skip trace leads via pay phones. You had to pay a quarter a call and then insert a bunch of coins to make a long distance call. If your long distance calls ran over the amount you prepaid you had to inert more coins into the darn thing to keep talking. You can talk with any private-eye of the time and they will tell you that they always had three or four rolls of quarters for this activity. By the time they paid out their yellow page ad fees to he phone company and paid for all those quarters going into all those payphones, there was hopefully enough still in the pot to pay the rent and eat. If not, the private-eye just hoped the next case would soon walk in the door with another small retainer to keep going.


Need to make a phone call? There was a time when private-eyes looked for this sign to find a payphone.

From The Ralph D. Thomas PI Vintage Collection
P O Box 82148, Austin, Texas 78708
Showroom: 9513 Burnet Road, Austin, Texas 78758
Phone 512.719.3595 Fax 512.719.3594

What's New Books Equipment Software Links
NAIS Find A PI Certifications Resources Clothing
Badges ID Cards Cop Shop Members Our Staff
PI News PI Daily PI Radio Show Gift Ideas Become A PI

Return To The Spy And PI Vintage Pages

Copyright: 2006, Thomas Investigative Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Thomas Investigative Publications, Trademark, 1981.
National Association Of Investigative Specialists, Inc, Trademark, 1986.
Spy Exchange, Trademark, 1999