- - There are now 855,900 telephones in the Bell Telephone
1901 - - First transatlantic signal as Marconi signaled the letter "S" across the Atlantic from England to Newfoundland. The first radio message is send a year later.
1902 - AT&T authorizes its Engineering Department to develop a 10,000 line machine switching exchange. It is suggested that a study of the Strowger system would serve as an aid to discovering what difficulties must be overcome.
1903 - - Coin collecting pay telephones are introduced in New York, The collector was a single slot model and the charge for a local call was ten cents.
1905 - - There are now 2,241,367 telephones in the Bell Telephone System.
1906 - - First telephone directory featuring classified business advertising on yellow pages issued in Detroit by the Michigan State Telephone Company.
1908 - - The term "Bell System" is introduced in national advertising. The theme "One Policy, One System. Universal Service" is originated within AT&T to express the policy of eliminating dual telephone services wherever possible. Dual services were a result of competition which had been active since the expiration of the original Bell patents in 1894.
1910 - - There are now 5,883,000 telephones connected to the Bell System. - - AT&T acquires control of 30 percent of Western Union Telegraph Company stock by purchase on December 20th.
1911 - - The Bell System announces plans to consolidate its associated operating companies into state-wide or territorial units - - the beginning of the pre-Divestiture (1984) setup of operating companies. - - November 2nd marks the organization meeting of the Telephone Pioneers of America at the Hotel Somerset in Boston. Alexander Graham Bell and 246 members are present at the first meeting.
1913 - - (December 13th) AT&T commits to the Attorney General to dispose of its telegraph stock, provide long distance connection to Independent telephone systems and not to purchase any more Independent telephone companies except as approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission. This letter from AT*T to the Attorney General of the U.S. is referred to as the "Kingsbury Commitment".
1914 - - AT&T sells its holdings of Western Union Telegraph Company stock to comply with the "Kingsbury Commitment". - - On June 17th, the last pole of the transcontinental telephone line placed at Wendover, Utah on the Nevada, Utah state line.
1915 - - January 25th marks the official ceremonies to open the first transcontinental line from New York to San Francisco. Alexander Graham Bell, in New York, speaks to Tom Watson in San Francisco repeating the first complete sentence transmitted by telephone..."Mr. Watson - come here - I want you!". By August, the first trials of transmitting speech across the Atlantic begin. And in November, the final incarnation of Western Electric is incorporated under the laws of the State of New York and takes over the business of the Western Electric Company of Illinois.
1916 - - New engineering and scientific discoveries continue within the Bell system including development of new magnetic alloys, and the condenser microphone which revolutionized the radio and public address systems.
1917 - - The U.S. is at war with Germany and Austria-Hungary and Bell system engineers demonstrate one way radio telephone transmission from airplane to ground. By August, two way, air-ground communications is maintained for the first time and communication between two airplanes is also demonstrated.
1918 - - President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation assuming control of the telephone and telegraph systems in the United States, placing them under the direction of the Post Office Department as of July 31, 1918. This proclamation is issued under authority of a joint resolution of Congress.
1919 - - The Bell System announces plans for the introduction of machine switching (dial telephones) in its exchanges. Cost studies have been underway since 1884. In January, certain long line rates are increased by 20% by order of the Postmaster. On July 30, Postmaster General A.S. Burleson signs an order returning the telegraph and telephone systems to private ownership. On November 8th, the first large machine switching exchange in the Bell system is brought into service in Norfolk, VA. This exchange uses the step-by-step system and is installed by the Automatic Electric Company of Chicago for the Bell System. Finally, Theodore N. Vail retires as president. Harry Bates Thayer is elected as president.
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