TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Telephone Dialing in Old Movies, Police Radio

Re: Telephone Dialing in Old Movies, Police Radio

Paul Coxwell (
Fri, 18 May 2007 09:43:57 PDT

> Cities had massive networks of telephone lines to street corner call
> boxes. I wish someone would compile a history of such systems.

London and other British cities had blue police call boxes, now famous
by way of the sci-fi series Dr. Who which started in 1963. These had
lights on top to signal to beat officers that tehey were needed, as
well as a phone which could be accessed by the public via a little
door to call for police assistance.

This article has some interesting background:

There were also street corner boxes acting as fire calls at one time.
My mother once recalled how she was sent to use one as a child in
1930s London.

> Also, I used to hear the Los Angeles police dispatch on the "police
> band" right above the AM broadcast band. I suspect this was a one
> way dispatch to the cars and the officers would go to a call box
> when they needed to talk back to the dispatcher.

I have a Star communications receiver, built in the 1960s for the
North American market and it has the band from approx. 1.6 to 1.7MHz
marked as "Police," so presumably it was still in fairly widespread
use at that time.

There is some interesting background on earlier police radio systems

And more specific details about VHF radios used by the California
Highway Patrol from the 1960s onward here:


Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: T: "Re: Telephone Dialing in Old Movies, Police Radio"
Go to Previous message: USTelecom dailyLead: "IPTV Offers Opportunity For Broadband Providers"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page