Friday, February 12, 2016

11 Telephone Kiosks in Copenhagen - forge iron details

The old Telephone Kiosk on Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen, Denmark from 1913.  Notice the aeroplane. It is a tribute to the first flight over Copenhagen in 1910.
A telephone kiosk was a type of building that housed the first actual payphone. Unlike the later phone booth, the telephone kiosk was operated by a person, and you could purchase kiosk products. It could also have other functions and be provided with advertisements. They were built in national romantic style with the copper, cast and wrought iron and hardwood.

There are 11 of them left in Copenhagen. Originally there were around 30 of them in use. They were built between 1896 and 1915. They a located at Kongens Nytorv (King's New Square), Gammel Torv (Old Square), Rådhuspladsen (Town Hall Square) and Nørrevoldgade (Northen foundation street), followed by seven later designed in Gyldenløvesgade (Golden leaf's street) on Grønningen, Vesterbro Torv (Vesten Street Square), Sølvtorvet (Silver Square) by Dronning Louises Bro (Queen Louise Bridge) and Sankt Annae Plads and another on Lille Triangle (Little Triangle). One is moved to Sanks Hans Torv.

Vesterbros Torv in Copenhagen

This beautiful telephone kiosk (Telefonkiosk) in Copenhagen is from 1896
This beautiful telephone kiosk (Telefonkiosk) in Copenhagen is from 1896. It is located on Vesterbro Torv in Copenhagen. Old posters from the 1930s give the area an amazing atmosphere. You can see the cast iron Vikingships just under the green copper roof.

The same telephone kiosk (Telefonkiosk) from the other side
The construction contains most elements in Danish architecture from around 1900: a granite base, cast iron ornamentation, copper spire, and a relatively small scale.

Kongens Nytorv (King's New Square)

On the square stands an old kiosk and telephone stand from 1913. It is built in Baroque Revival style with a copper-clad roof and hand-carved ornamentation. It also used to offer the first public telephonic connection in Copenhagen from where it was possible to call every day except Sunday from 10 AM to 8 PM. Today it houses a small café with outdoor service.
The old Telephone Kiosk on Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen, Denmark from 1913.  Notice the aeroplane. It is a tribute to the first flight over Copenhagen in 1910.

"The Coffee Tower" at Nørre Voldgade, Nørreport. 
At Nørrebro, Sanks Hans Torv

The design

The architect Fritz Koch was chosen to design the kiosks, and in 1896 four were placed around the city. The kiosks were distinguished representatives of national romanticism craft details. The houses were hexagonal, nine meters high with a copper roof and top lanterns. The pavilions are decorated with motifs like Viking ships, tools, phones dignitaries, etc.

Koch was praised by contemporaries for his kiosks. The slender and richly detailed ornamented telephone kiosks were even more "pleasing to the eye" than similar buildings in cities abroad.

In 1905 Koch died, and his office was 1913 taken over by architect Martin Jensen. Jensen drew a new model, which was somewhat larger than the original model and more heavy in the neo-baroque expression. In 1932 they were replaced by a modernistic kiosk designed by the municipal architect employee Curt Bie.

How they were used
At this time, there were only 4,000 subscribers of private telephones in the capital. Telephone Kiosk worked like this:

you went and talked to the person at the kiosk (often called kiosk lady as a distinctly female job). So the customer was admitted, and paid the kiosk lady. Next, the customer got permission to use the phone, installed indoor. If you owned a phone, you could call the telephone kiosk and leave a message for the kiosk lady. She would arrange to send a bike messenger out with the message. This method of sending messages was somewhat faster than sending a letter, but also more expensive.

Inside the hexagon (six times of about 1.5 m, i.e., 5.43 m2) the kiosk lady sat with its goods, its stock of newspapers, magazines, stamps, etc. So she could keep an eye on everything and she could charge and receive payment of 10 cents per. conversation. Kiosk ladies were adept at keeping track with the click that indicated each new phone.

Telephone kiosks were open from 7:00 to 23:00 in the summer and from 8:00 to 22:00 in winter.

At Poul Henningsens Plads. Østerbro, Copenhagen. The Building in the background is from 1907. The telephone kiosk almost looks like it felt of from the building in the background.

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