Gray 07 Coin Collector

Published: October 2010

Being that a long time has passed since I wrote this column I am going to start again “from the beginning”. I find the progression of payphones over the years to be very interesting. From the very beginning until the very end you can see the minute changes that took place. It is like looking at the individual frames of an old movie film and seeing the very slight changes from image to image. I am going to move from the 1890s this month to the 1960s at some point in the future. I have many payphones in my collection many are similar to each other and at the same time they are all different.

This month we are looking at a very early Gray #7. It is a very basic machine from the 1890s. It mounted to the front of a wall phone. The transmitter arm from the phone was removed and the collector was installed in its place. The #7 has a transmitter arm similar to the WE #5, the base of which is molded right into the cast iron. The single wire that connects to the transmitter is located outside of the arm, there is one eyelet near the transmitter to support it. The collector has very basic lead chutes that using gravity to bring the coins from the slots down to where they hit and bounce off of bells and a gong. They then fall to the coin drawer at the bottom. A nickel and a dime when dropped hit bells of different tones, a quarter hits a cathedral gong which makes a different sound. When the operator was on the line she could tell what coins were dropped by the different sounds. There is even a coin return chute to return coins that were dropped into the wrong slot. There was no other method for returning coins once they were dropped. The calling instructions above the transmitter arm are cast right onto the housing. In the front of this type #7 there is a 3/8 inch hole right in the area of the coin drawer. This hole is used for mounting the collector to the phone. Unlike later collectors the coin drawer opens to the right not to the front. When the drawer is removed access is given to a mounting hole that goes through the rear of the housing. To install the collector a bracket is screwed to the front of the phone. A hook at the top of the collector fits into the bracket which allows it to hang from the phone. Then 1 screw is installed through the back of the #7s case and into the phone securing it in place. The screwdriver goes through the hole in the front of the collector which is in perfect line with the screw being tightened. Once that is done the coin drawer can be installed. Note that the Gray 7A is a similar collector as the Gray 7 but it has an extended coin drawer allowing it to hold more coins.