typically a coin-operated public telephone

A payphone is a telephone that lets the public make phone calls if they pay for them first. Many payphones accept coins, but some can accept credit cards, debit cards, and phone cards as well. In the 20th century they were very often used, especially in cities. When people used more mobile phones, payphones quickly became rarer in small towns, and later also in cities.

A payphone in the United States.

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