For a long time the telephone was a luxury item. It was the latest technology, the only means that allowed you to talk remotely with another person and live. At the end of the 19th century, some devices were installed in the headquarters of the ministries and in the Royal Palace. Soon after, the invention reached the homes of the wealthiest of the privileged class. And it would take until 1928 for the first phone booth to open in Spain .
In reality, the term phone booth is not entirely accurate for the phone that was installed in 1928. It would be correct to say that it was the first pay phone for public use . This is how Pablo Soler, one of the authors of the blog Histories of Telephony in Spain, tells it: «The first telephones that had something special were the prepaid telephones. You bought a token and with that token you no longer needed an operator who had to be on the lookout. That phone was already connected to the central. If the call was urban, local, it was all automatic, while if it was long-distance, it was by operator ”, explains Soler.
This is how the telephone was installed at the end of the 1920s in the booth of the then Vienna Park (now Florida Park) , in the El Retiro park in Madrid. It was a device that was located inside a kind of box, which was opened to access the telephone. It was not yet the cabin concept we know, but it did have an important novelty. Pakistan Email Address He did not need an operator to be in front of the phone and control the extension of the call.
a journey through history and technology
It was not the first phone to be installed in Spain, far from it. For that you have to go back to 1883 , just seven years after Alexander Graham Bell’s famous distant phrase . For this advance to be used publicly, almost four decades would have to pass.
The telephone for public use was born even before the National Telephone Company of Spain (CTNE) itself, in 1924. The Guipúzcoa telephone network had already installed some since the early 1920s. “It was the same telephone as a normal one, but in very small towns, where you only put a phone.
“There began to be call centers in which the operators themselves who attended, also controlled the extension of the call and then charged the user,” adds Soler in reference to the people, generally women, in charge of supervising these telephones. mobile lead Its location was public places, such as a railway station.
the last phone booth in Spain: a journey through history and technology
Keep in mind that the invention of the telephone itself was still in a rudimentary phase. Even pay phones, like the one in Vienna Park in 1928, needed staff to answer them . But, in addition, in the telephone switchboards through which calls were conducted there was a swarm of operators.
They are those scenes that we have seen in the cinema, of rooms full of operators, who connect and disconnect cables to redirect calls. «In the 1920s all calls were manual. They had to go through an operator who was at the headquarters, in the building. And when the network begins to be automated, only the service within the same location is automated, ”says Soler.
If the call was long-distance, the action of an operator was required. To contact these operators the old telephones had a crank . With it, the user notified the central operator to get a line.
We have become used to calling any public telephone booths. Such has been the popularity of this telephone format in the last decades of the 20th century.
However, as the name suggests, a phone booth was literally a narrow, enclosed space. This provided the appropriate intimate environment for making calls. The first phone booth that can be called that, with all the letters, was installed in Spain in 1963 . “The cabins are already out in the open,” says Soler. “They are no longer a box but are a whole casing where you put yourself inside”
But soon they will become part of the urban and rural landscape of the country. And they will be part of everyday life. So much so that by 1972, the short film La Cabin , starring José Luis López Vázquez, could cause a good deal of astonishment.