American Telephone and Telegraph Company before 1970s

Alexander Graham Bell patent applications were approved in 1876-77 and he promptly sought financial backing to build a company to collect patent license fees.

On 27th February 1875 the Bell Patent Association was formed. This organization became the Bell Telephone Company (from 9th July 1877) and then the National Bell Telephone Company (from 13th March 1879).

Alexander Graham Bell received help from his father in law Gardiner Hubbard (for finance) and Theodore N. Vail (organizational expertise) in leading the Bell Telephone Company to victory over Western Union by 1880, thereby establishing a virtual monopoly over telephony in America.

From this point, the company developed quickly, based upon Vail’s management expertise and far-sightedness.

A further reorganization, on 20th March 1880 the American Bell Telephone Company was formed.

Later on 3rd March 1885, American Bell Telephone Company became American Telephone and Telegraph Company.

Vail imposed his own design on the company, transforming it into a system rather than just a telephone company.

In 1885, the company builds and manages the long-distance network, started operations in New York; the long-distance network reaches Chicago by 1892.

In 1925 American Telephone and Telegraph Company joined with Western Electric to form the Bell Laboratories that enhanced communications with such inventions as the facsimile machine, radio astronomy, stereo signals, speech synthesizers etc.

The first overseas radio telephone service was opened in 1927 between New York and London by American Telephone and Telegraph Company.

The company at its peak in the 1970s was the largest company on earth. It had more than 1 million employees and was active in every state of the union.
American Telephone and Telegraph Company before 1970s
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