On the other hand, when someone from the town had the opportunity to test the crude reality of the telephone installed in the railroad station, which was thought to be a rudimentary version of the phonograph because of its crank, even the most incredulous were upset.
I AM NOT A TEACHER BUT HOPE THIS MIGHT HELP YOU OUT .
Crude reality mean simplicity .
"Crude" has a long list of synonyms. One should choose one meaning or the other according to the context.
In this context, I think of crude as "harsh", even "hateful", since the actual quality of the telephone did not meet their expectations.
I am not a teacher, by the way.
When something is crude, it is simple, not fancy, and probably out of date, used in olden days.
So the "crude reality" of the phone was that it was not fancy, just a basic crank-up phone, not modern.