Western Electric / Lucent Pay Telephones
Here are some example pictures and technical descriptions of Western Electric (later Lucent) Pay Phones that are still found in the USA.
Webmaster's note: These pictures were found on other websites on the Internet. I do not own these pay phones.
This is an example of a Fortress pay phone. Developed in the 1960's by
Western Electric, it was later maintained by AT&T and then Lucent
Technologies. These days they are now maintained by QuorTech, a COCOT
phone manufacturer. This phone improved upon the older three-slot style
pay phone on two accounts. The first is that there is only one coin slot.
The other is the heavily armored exterior and cord.
The phone had two configurations, stand alone (model 1A1 or 1A2) or behind a metal panel (model 2A1 or 2A2). The panel just hid a regular model 1A1 or 1A2 phone, but it looked cleaner with the flush trim.
Several varieties of this phone exist depending on the vintage of the
phone. Phones made in the 1960's have the older Bell System logo. Phones made in
the 1970's through 1984 have the more modern Bell System logo (as seen on
the right). Phones made
after 1984 do not have a logo on the phone.
The coin return slot on phones made prior to 1984 say at the top "Bell
System - Made by Western Electric" (as seen on the left). Some phones made after 1984 just have
the "Made by Western Electric" part. Phones made recently do not have any
wording at the top of the coin return slot.
Phones made in the 1960s had a tapered coin return lever, later ones had a
Older phones made before the 1990's have mechanical coin return mechanisms
(they go "ker-chunk" when you move the lever). More modern
electronic ones do not
make any noise.
Though the Charge-A-Call phone does not take coins, it still qualifies as
a Pay Phone since it is used beside other pay phones and works with
primarily the same technology.
Various pictures of a Western Electric Charge-A-Call
phone, taken in May 2005.
Upper Left - Instruction Card. Upper Right - Modified for
Unfortunately, this phone never really caught on as Bell had hoped. One
thing was at the time the phone was made, people still primarily made coin
calls. Another problem was that the phone did not look like a standard
phone and scared away potential users.