By Mike Davis, ATCA #2022


This article features two Bell System paystations, the models 210 and 212. The reason I am covering both of them together is that they are so similar. While they work identically electrically, the only real differences are mechanical. The 212 has washer rejecters as well as a coin return button. The 210 doesn’t. These paystations are dial post-pay which are not very common among Western Electric payphones. The instructions on the phones usually say something like “Lift receiver, wait for dial tone, dial the desired number, when a second dial tone is heard deposit one dime or two nickels. These phones were made to operate on an initial deposit of 10 cents, but could be set up to work on a 5 cent deposit.

Both look the same from the exterior

There is no coin relay on the hopper, once a quarter, dime or 2 nickels are dropped in the slots, they can not be returned. If one nickel is dropped in it will be returned if the phone is hung up. All there is on the hopper is a set of contacts that are connected to a resistor. Some phones also have a RF filter. Once the second tone is generated by the switching equipment the user drops in the coin and as it goes thru the hopper it momentarily opens the contacts that are across the resistor. This momentarily puts the 4300 ohm resistor in series with the payphone and one side of the phone line. The central office equipment senses this resistance and the call is connected.  These models do have a coin return bucket. They have an open coin return chute. Aside from the configuration of the hopper, the 212G is very similar to a 233 (pre-pay). All of these models would be connected to a 685 Subset.

The 210 on the left and 212 on the right

Close-up of the lower housing of the 212

Close-up of the lower housing of the 210


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