Gray 34 A-11

Published: Sept 2012

Mike’s Vintage Payphone by Mike Davis This month’s example is a Gray 34A-11. This is a beautiful telephone that I restored several years ago. It is another one of the full size paystations. The paystation has no internal ringer or talk circuit, it connected to a subset. This phone has an Automatic Electric 34 type spit cup handset. It was made for the Strowger System or Automatic Electric. It has a semi-post-pay coin relay that does not hold a coin in escrow. All coins dropped into the proper slots are directed into the vault. Coins would not be dropped in order to get a dial tone. As the instructions say, a coin is dropped once the called party answers. Until a coin is dropped the called party is unable to hear the caller. This model as well as some others I have, have a very thin coin return chute (see photo). The reason they could get away with the thin chute is that only a coin that was dropped into the wrong slot would be returned, that being the case only a single coin would be returned at a time. In pre-pay models many coins that were held in escrow. If the connection wasn't made all the deposited coins would be returned at once. That would clog this type of chute. These chutes were used on only a few models and then discontinued, I am sure even with one coin at a time traveling through they were troublesome. The body of the paystation is made of steel with a cast coin gauge, it is painted bronze in color. The AE dial is mounted within a cast metal shroud with a nice “daisy face” porcelain number ring. The wood strip mounted to the backboard is the central connection point for the different components of the paystation, the handset and wiring to the subset connect to it. This paystation is mounted to a 139a countertop mount. I have another Gray 34 A-11 in black which has the more standard large open coin return chute. You can view it on my web site