I can't say I really miss the pay phones in the US, but when I read that cell phone use is making the red phone booths in Britain obsolete, I got a little melancholic. I mean, the booths are not just cute places to have a conversation or have your photo taken— they're landmarks. Did you know the signature telephone box was the result of a competition in 1924 to design a kiosk that would be acceptable to the London Metropolitan Boroughs? In 1925 the winning design was reproduced 1,000 times, but by 1980 there were 73,000 of the design throughout the UK. That's a piece of geeky history right there! Here's more:
Britain has more cellphones than people, so the use of pay phones has dropped by half in the past three years, according to British Telephone. BT has removed about 30,000, or a third of all pay phones, from the streets since 2002. Of the remaining 61,700 phone booths, 12,700 are the old red kiosks made of wood or cast iron that are so identifiably British.
The old booths are being bought up for $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the make, year and condition. Apparently regular Joe and Jane Does and celebrities are placing bids for their own little booth. Talk about a vintage geek collectible!