I think this is a great idea for backyard urban exploration. I don’t own or use a cell phone so I do still think about payphones, notice where they are and I’m glad to still see them around, and functional.
The classic steel/aluminum phone booth that we all remember was invented and manufactured by Benner-Nawman. In 1948, the Pacific Telephone Company had their corporate headquarters in San Francisco. They called Rollie Nawman and asked him to design and produce a telephone booth made of aluminum and glass to replace the wooden phone booths that they had in service at the time. With Pacific Telephone’s adoption of the very first design the company began making thousands of telephone booths and enclosures used by every major Telephone Company here in the United States and in 45 other countries; many of those enclosures are still in use today. With the advent of the cell phone, payphones were on the decline, and with them, the phone booth itself. In 2005, Benner-Nawman sold off all remaining stock and got out of the phone booth business. Myrmidon-PBG bought most of B-N’s stock, presumably for servicing old booths.
The above information is from the Flickr group for Phone Booths.