Thursday, March 02, 2006

3 March 1885: Happy Birthday, American Telephone & Telegraph

AT&T's lines and metallic circuit connections. March 1, 1891.
Image source: Wikipedia

In my recurring "00:01" series -- a pursuit to provide a memory of important things we should not forget in technology -- I give you todays entry.

By the way, should you ever feel inclined to do so, you can always search for previous "00:01" entires by searching for them in the little blue "blogger search" toolbar in the top panel of the blog.

Just search for "00:01".

One additional note -- I'm so pissed off at the telcos right now, for various reasons, I almost used this graphic instead of the one above. Acually, this one is pretty good, too.

Via Wikipedia.

American Telephone and Telegraph was incorporated as a company in this day in 1885.

The formation of the Bell Telephone Company superseded an agreement between Alexander Graham Bell and his financiers, principal among them Gardiner G. Hubbard and Thomas Sanders. Renamed the National Bell Telephone Company in March 1877, it became the American Bell Telephone Company in March 1880. By 1881, it had bought a controlling interest in the Western Electric Company from Western Union. Only three years earlier, Western Union had turned down Gardiner Hubbard's offer to sell it all rights to the telephone for $100,000.

In 1880, the management of American Bell, created what would become AT&T Long Lines. The project was the first of its kind to create nationwide long-distance network with a commercially viable cost-structure. This project was formally incorporated into a separate company christened American Telephone and Telegraph Company on March 3, 1885. Starting from New York the network reached Chicago, Illinois in 1892.

Bell's patent on the telephone expired in 1894, but the company's much larger customer base made its service much more valuable than alternatives and substantial growth continued.

On December 30, 1899, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company bought the assets of American Bell--this was because Massachusetts corporate laws were very restrictive and limited capitalization to ten million dollars, forestalling the growth of American Bell itself.

National long distance service reached San Francisco in 1915. Transatlantic services started in 1927 using two-way radio, but the first trans-Atlantic telephone cable did not arrive until 1956, with TAT-1.

More here.


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