Like anything else, it's all relative. You don't miss what doesn't exist. People back in the 1800's never missed air conditioning because a/c didn't exist!
Yes, I had to call the trading desk manually to place trades. It's amazing how fast one learns to dial a phone, lmao. The worst was when the market got volatile and you couldn't get hold of the desk cuz it was busy. Discount brokerages were coming to the fore. Pacific Brokerage Services had one of the best rates around in the early 90's at $6.95 a trade up to 1000 shares. They got bought out by Quick and Reilly.
The big problem was getting affordable real time data. Enter the Quotrek (pictured). Wasn't cheap, but it was awesome because it was portable and had real time info.
I had an IBM laptop running DOS back in 1988, so I was able to keep some info electronically on 3 1/2" floppy drives. The thing had no hard drive, lmao. Graduated to a 286 w/20MB HD in 1990, lol!!!