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American Telephone and Telegraph
August 11, 1917 - The Saturday Evening Post

The Saturday Evening Post
August 11, 1917November 6, 1948 The Saturday Evening Post Cover - RF Cafe

[Table of Contents]  These articles are scanned and OCRed from old editions of the The Saturday Evening Post magazine. Here is a list of the The Saturday Evening Post articles I have already posted. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.

The American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) was founded as part of the Bell Telephone System to build a nationwide wired, long distance communications service. When this advertisement was printed in a 1917 issue of The Saturday Evening Post magazine, many American households still did not have a telephone installed, and most of those that did subscribed to "party line" hookups. Party lines were a service sharing agreement whereby multiple users were connected to the same telephone number and agreed to share the line. The upside was a discounted phone bill, but the downside was the any other member of the "party" could listen in on your conversation. I remember back in the 1960s when our house had a party line. My sister and I (both preteens) would sometimes carefully pick up the phone receiver and listen in hopes of eavesdropping on a neighbor's Art Blattenberger Evening Capital Newspaper - RF Cafebusiness. I don't recall ever getting caught or even doing it often. Those were the days when all the mothers on the block were housewives and were home all day, so the opportunity for mischief was not as great as with latchkey kids of today. By the late 1960s, my father's position as the manager of the classified advertising department of The Evening Capital, in Annapolis, Maryland, required that he be available to take phone-in ads from people in the evening, so at that point we had private service (I assume the company paid for it). Come to think of it, I also remember my sister and I being taught to take down ad details from callers, thereby giving my father a break from the unpaid overtime. 

Note in the photograph that the president at the time was Woodrow Wilson, steamboats docked at the nations' ports, and airplanes had two (or more) wings.

American Telephone and Telegraph Advertisement

American Telephone and Telegraph from the August 11, 1917, The Saturday Evening Post - RF CafeAnswering the Nation's Call

In this "supreme test" of the nation, private interests must be subordinated to the Government's need. This is as true of the telephone as of all other instrumentalities of service. The draft for war service which has been made upon the Bell System is summarized in a recent Government report. Government messages are given precedence over commercial messages by means of 12,000 specially drilled long distance operators all over the country. The long distance telephone facilities out of Washington have been more than doubled. Special connections have been established between all military headquarters, army posts, naval stations and mobilization camps throughout the United States. More than 10,000 miles of special systems of communication have been installed for the exclusive use of Government departments. Active assistance has been given the Government by the Bell System in providing telephone communications at approximately one hundred lighthouses and two hundred coast guard stations. Communication has been provided for the National Guard at railroad points, bridges and water supply systems. A comprehensive system of war communication will be ready at the call of the Chief Signal Officer, and extensive plans for cooperation with the Navy have been put into effect with brilliant success.

As the war continues, the demands of the Government will increase. And the public can help us to meet the extraordinary conditions by putting restraint on all unnecessary and extravagant use of the telephone.

American Telephone and Telegraph Company and Associated Companies

One Policy One System Universal Service



Posted July 17, 2019


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RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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