Found: two more vintage wood phone booths

They’re rare, but a few are still out there: the lovely wood booths New Yorkers used to slip into (closing the hinged door behind them for privacy and not to disturb anyone) to make a phone call.


Old bars are a good place to look for them. The Ear Inn, on Spring Street, is one of the city’s oldest taverns—and right inside the front door is a beautiful vintage booth (above) with a stool, overhead fan, and a stand that supports an ATM machine.


In better shape but also lacking a phone is this wooden booth, located on the second floor of the magnificent headquarters of the General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen, at 20 West 44th Street.

PhoneboothpatentmechanicsThe door is also hinged, and there’s a little stand where the phone once sat.

A label inside actually notes that the booth was patented in 1919 and lists a phone booth distributor in Brooklyn called the Turner Armour Corporation.

The phone is lovely, but the building itself is a marvel of wonderfully preserved wooden book cases, light fixtures, interior detailing, and a soaring staircase out of the movies.

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10 Responses to “Found: two more vintage wood phone booths”

  1. Edward Says:

    Ah, for the days when a phone call was a private affair. Can’t tell you how much I love hearing other people’s disjointed conversations as I walk down the street…NOT.

  2. ninagrandiose Says:

    One of the first phone booths to appear in NYC is located in the Appellate Division Court of the state of NY, right behind Madison Square Park. You will love the sign there that explains how to use the phone because it is one of the earliest and few people knew how to make a call. The building dates from 1900 and is open to the public. It is over the top,ornate and magnificent.

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thank you….I will take a look!

  4. Ellen Levitt Says:

    New-York Historical Society has one. Not sure if it works.

  5. Clark Kent Says:

    I miss those old phone booths, for obvious reasons.

  6. walt neal Says:

    I’m restoring one of these and missing a seat would anyone have a picture so I can make one? pictures of these old things are hard to find

  7. Don Says:

    I have a phone and booth from Couch of Boston, circa 1900, solid oak, given to a retired judge as a present, looking to sell, excellent shape.

  8. Cyndee Baldwin Says:

    I have one that is mint. Light works when door is closed, comes with refurbished working cast iron pay phone. In Michigan. Beautiful hammered tin interior original beveled glass in doors, dear and wire for phone book.

  9. Mark Olson Says:

    We have one made by the Jordan cabinet corp. it looks just like the one pictured above with the green interior. Can someone give me a value range?

  10. The wooden phone booths inside a private Midtown clubhouse | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] These old wood phone booths are a rare find in the contemporary city, but discovering and documenting them allows us to time travel back to a much different New York City. […]

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