Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Transcontinental Telephone System

It was in 1876 that Alexander Graham Bell, experimenting on the telephone in his Boston lab, spoke those famous words to his assistant in the next room:  "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you!"  It was almost 40 years later that Professor Bell spoke those same words to Mr. Watson.  Only this time, the two men were on either side of the North American continent.




Alexander Graham Bell, co-founder of AT&T, demonstrating on a prototype of the original telephone courtesy www.wired.com.



With the 1915 World Exposition coming up in San Francisco, the AT & T company president thought it would be a good idea to mark it with the opening of a transcontinental telephone system.  The question the president faced, however, was how to amplify sound.  He hired Dr. Harold Arnold to work on solving the problem.  In 1912, inventor Dr. Lee de Forest had invented the audion.  ON the advice of Arnold, AT & T bought the rights to the audion and successfully implemented it in the telephone system.



Map of transcontinental telephone line courtesy www.theatlantic.com.


In the Fall of 1913, construction began on the North American intercontinental telephone line.  Work went quickly -- so quickly, in fact, that the line was completed by June 17, 1914 well before the Exposition was set to begin.  Therefore, AT & T delayed the official opening of the telephone line by six months.



(Photo of erection of final pole construction in Wendover, Utah, June 17, 1914.)

Final pole completed at Wendover, Utah on intercontinental telephone line circa 1914 courtesy www.corp.att.com.



The first transcontinental phone call would require a speaker phone, involving four parties:  Alexander Graham Bell in New York City, AT&T President in Jekyll Island, Georgia, President Woodrow Wilson in Washington D.C. and Thomas Watson in San Francisco.  Professor Bell proclaimed those famous words:  "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you!"  Only this time Mr. Watson's response was different:  "It would take me a week now."  And the rest is history.


(Photo of Alexander Graham Bell and other AT&T executives preparing to inaugurate transcontinental telephone service, January 25, 1915.)

First intercontinental phone call courtesy www.corp.att.com.

3 comments:

  1. Really a great blog with a best thoughts and ideas are shared thanks for sharing such an interesting article about history of Telephone system. Also i respect all the members who included in this research.

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  2. Mr. Watson, come here, I want you!" It was almost 40 years later that Professor Bell spoke those same words to Mr. Watson. Only this time, the two men were on either side of the North American continent. mypbx

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