The pay phone had a little box built in for the Coin change to fall in and for AT&T Bell to send their guys around and collect. They were not private then. There was only one phone company, for the whole country and there was no competition.
You would dial the number, using a rotary dial, then listen for the operator to tell you how much to put in. If it was local, i.e., your town, it was a dime. Otherwise, it was so much more fun cause you got to dig around for the right change combination to make a long distance call.
The really cool pay phones back then were in private boxes, usually indoors somewhere, that had doors and a chair. There might have been a phone book, but it wasn’t attached. People didn’t cut the cords to things then, or steal the books or rip out the pages, so it was all very orderly.
Another machine that was incredibly cool was a music machine. The were called Juke Boxes. They were originally free standing and were in the more popular hamburger eateries and diners. They were loaded up with 45 sized records and the labels on the machines allowed for you to select the song, press the button and rotate the machine around. You would then put in your money, and get your song played. Since there were no portable music devices, this freed you from the car to listen to music in other places. Music wasn’t played then through speakers in every imaginable place. You either listened to it live, had a phonograph player at home or an AM radio in your car. FM hadn’t been invented yet.
These machines were the epitome of cool. If you could afford to serenade all your friends and the rest of the public and you could do so with music you selected.