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Bell Telephone Company album

Creation: circa 1930
 Collection
Accession: 2021-228

Abstract

Bell Telephone Company was a telecommunications company that led the Bell System of telephone services throughout North America between 1877 and 1983. This small collection of photographs documents the company's line-laying equipment and process; several images show workers driving tractors, digging trenches, and laying telephone lines. These images would be of interest to scholars of the history of technology and early telecommunications.

Dates

  • Creation: circa 1930

Extent

1 volume(s)

Physical Description

1 album : containing 52 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. Removed from binder for preservation purposes. Original binder has not been retained.

Historical Note

Bell Telephone Company was a telecommunications company that led the Bell System of telephone services throughout North America between 1877 and 1983. The company, founded in 1877, was named after telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922). Licensed telephone exchanges were established in major cities across the country, known as franchises. These franchises and the parent company became known as the Bell System. The American Bell Telephone Company was established in 1882 as the parent company and American Telephone and Telegraph Company as a subsidiary in 1885. Bell Telephone Company was also a subsidiary of the American Bell Telephone Company until 1899, when American Telephone and Telegraph Company became the parent company.

The electrical engineering and manufacturing company Western Electric Company became the primary telephone equipment supplier, manufacturer, and purchasing agent for the Bell System from 1881 to 1984. Western Electric was a wholly owned subsidiary of Bell Telephone Company (and later AT&T).

Antitrust suits were brought against Bell Telphone Company in 1949 and again in 1974. The first lawsuit resulted in a 1956 consent decree that limited the company's network and contracts. The second lawsuit was settled in 1982, and divestiture took place in 1984. The Bell System ended its operation. In its place were seven new regional companies and a new AT&T that retains its long-distance service, manufacturing, and research and development operations.

Scope and Contents

This small collection of photographs documents the company's line-laying equipment and process; several images show workers driving tractors, digging trenches, and laying telephone lines. Equipment shown includes a Christie-White truck; Caterpillar tractors; Western Electric reels; air compressor; trenching machine; and coil cases. These images would be of interest to scholars of the history of technology and early telecommunications.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Language of Materials

English

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Bell Telephone Company album
Author:
Laurie Sather
Date:
2021
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400