August 1949 Radio-Electronics
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Radio-Electronics,
published 1930-1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
highway system and telephone system are often named as two of the most important
factors in building an economy that reigned over the rest of the world.
Together, they constituted a monumental logistical synergy that enables planning
and implementing coast-to-coast transportation of goods and services that could
exploit local concentrations of talent and resources and have the capability of
distributing it across the country and around the world quickly and cheaply.
Bell Telephone Laboratories (Labs) ran many advertisements in print, on radio,
and on television pitching the major role it played in the big scheme of things.
One statement in this promo appearing in a 1949 issue of Radio-Electronics
magazine encourages telephone users to discover new ways to utilize the
equipment. Facsimile (fax)
was already in a primarily experimental mode, but shortly thereafter it became a
fundamental way of exchanging documents quickly when land and air mail was not
fast enough. Xerox introduced the first commercially available fax machines in
1964 (LDX - Long Distance Xerography). Once personal computers became readily
available in the 1980s, modems facilitated data exchange via telephone lines,
opening up another boom in phone line usage. There was a time in the middle to
late 1990s during the Tech Boom when a newly formed mass of online "day traders"
dominated phone lines by having dedicated second (and third or more) circuits to
their homes, which resulted in some people not even being able to get a single
line activated when moving to a new location. I know about that personally after
having to wait nearly two months one time in 1996(7?) just for primary phone
service to my house because there were no available circuits.
The Future Holds Great Promise
Neither chance nor mere good fortune has
brought this nation the finest telephone service in the world. The service Americans
enjoy in such abundance is directly the product of their own imagination, enterprise
and common sense.
The people of America have put billions of dollars of their savings into building
their telephone system. They have learned more and more ways to use the telephone
to advantage, and have continuously encouraged invention and initiative to find
new paths toward new horizons.
They have made the rendering of telephone service a public trust; at the same
time, they have given the telephone companies, under regulation, the freedom and
resources they must have to do their job as well as possible.
In this climate of freedom and responsibility, the Bell System has provided service
of steadily increasing value to more and more people. Our policy, often stated,
is to give the best possible service at the lowest cost consistent with financial
safety and fair treatment of employees. We are organized as we are in order to carry
that policy out.
Bell Telephone Laboratories lead the world in improving communication devices
Western Electric Company provides the Bell operating companies with telephone
equipment of the highest quality at reasonable prices, and can always be counted
on in emergencies to deliver the goods whenever and wherever needed.
The operating telephone companies and the
parent company work together so that improvements in one place may spread quickly
to others. Because all units of the System have the same service goals, great benefits
flow to the public.
Similarly, the financial good health of the Bell System over a period of many
years has been to the advantage of the public no less than the stockholders and
It is equally essential and in the public interest that telephone rates and earnings
now and in the future be adequate to continue to pay good wages, protect the billions
of dollars of savings invested in the System, and attract the new capital needed
to meet the service opportunities and responsibilities ahead.
There is a tremendous amount of work to be done in the near future and the System's
technical and human resources to do it have never been better. Our physical equipment
is the best in history, though still heavily loaded, and we have many new and improved
facilities to incorporate in the plant. Employees are competent and courteous. The
long-standing Bell System policy of making promotions from the ranks assures the
continuing vigor of the organization.
With these assets, with the traditional spirit of service to get the message
through, and with confidence that the American people understand the need for maintaining
on a sound financial basis the essential public services performed by the Bell System,
we look forward to providing a service better and more valuable in the future than
at any time in the past. We pledge our utmost efforts to that end.
Leroy A. Wilson, President American Telephone and Telegraph Company. (From the
1948 Annual Report.)
Bell Telephone Laboratories Exploring and Inventing, Devising
and Perfecting, for Continued Improvements and Economies in Telephone Service
Posted October 5, 2021