In 1844 Samuel Morris invented Morris Code. Several years after someone invented the dial telegraph system; a circular disk that rotated which had a slot to put your finger in for each letter of the alphabet and 0 to 9, this made it possible for anyone to send a Morris code message without having to know Morris code. This saved the officer from having to get someone run to the police station for help.
Call boxes have three numbers on the front door to indicate location. First number is the District, the next two identify the beat. Most were cast iron as on display. Some were mounted on poles with Fire Alarm Box on the other side. Cincinnati was the first city to put telephones in their callboxes in 1887. Watson, who worked with Alexzander Gram Bell came to Cincinnati and with the help of an engineer by the name of Armstrong, who was on city council, installed phones in all of the callboxes and built a telephone exchange all in eight days.