Seattle 1978

Seattle 1978

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Western Electric and theTelephone

March 7, 1876 - four days after his 29th birthday, Alexander Graham Bell received his telephone patent. Three days after that on March 10, 1876, Thomas A. Watson heard A.G. say, "Mr. Watson—Come here—I want to see you" in the first telephone transmission.

So Happy 136th Birthday to the telephone!

Western Electric was founded in 1872, a few years before this first successful transmission.  Apparently one of the early partners was one of the several who filed against A. G. Bell over the telephone patent.  Eventually Bell Systems (named for Alexander Graham Bell but in my quick research, he doesn't appear to have much to do with the company) acquired Western Electric in 1881 - they had become the manufacturer of Bell Systems equipment meaning (among other things) the telephone.  For the telephone's birthday enjoy these ads from their early maker.

February 24, 1947 Life Magazine
The text of this reads:
His genius gave wings to words
It was an historic moment, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone had just spoken its first words – “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you!”
That evening in Boston – March 10, 1876 – Dr. Bell’s crude instrument transmitted his voice only to the next room. But out of it was destined to come a whole new era – the era of quick, easy nation-wide telephone, of radio telephony in all its varied forms of talking pictures, voice and music reproduction systems and electrical aids for the hard of hearing. Few inventions have played a greater part in shaping the world we live in!
Since 1877 – just one year after Bell’s long experimentation was crowned with success – it has been Western Electric’s privilege to help carry forward his great idea which gave wings to words. In that year Western Electric made its first telephone. More than 45,000,000 have followed it – over 4,000,000 of them in 1946 alone.
Today, from coast to coast, in factories, offices, distributing houses and central office installation crews, there are more than 110,000 Western Electric workers. Imbued with the Bell System spirit of service, they are helping to provide equipment in record quantities to meet telephone needs far beyond any envisioned by the inventor.”

August 27, 1945 Life Magazine

February 1955 Life Magazine
What a great idea!
From Vintage Goodness
March 28, 1955 Life Magazine

February 13, 1956 Life Magazine
(a little disturbing they included a map to tell enemies where to start looking to take down Air Force communications)

March 26, 1956 Life Magazine

February 1957 Life Magazine

February 10, 1958 Life Magazine

March 24, 1958 Life Magazine

February 15, 1960 Life Magazine

March 21, 1960 Life Magazine

February 23, 1962 Life Magazine

February 22, 1963 Life Magazine

I missed this one for A. G. Bell's birthday post with the other Bell Telephone System ads; it's an awesome birthday party one so I will include it for the telephone's birthday!

March 19, 1956 Life Magazine
Pin It


Matt said...

Interesting stuff here, as usual. I'm a little surprised that the military let Western Electric run these "war" ads.

Jana said...

Thank you, Matt for commenting. I suppose it's vast enough to not be able to pinpoint secrets but I found it a bit disturbing because "loose lips sink ships"