Federal Internet Law & Policy
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AT&T 1922 - 1948

Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY

AT&T: Electrical Transmission of Speech (1920s)
AT&T: That Little Big Fellow (1927)




1926: Bell Labs and Western Electric made the equipment for sound motion pictures. [Iardella 32]




"Radio-telephone service to Hawaii began in 1931, and to Tokyo in 1934" [AT&T: History: Early Intl]

1933: Western Electric's sales $70 m; 6000 employees. [Porticus Western Union]

1934: Thomas Watson dies. [Brooks p 57] [Braintree]

The Communications Act of 1934 and The FCC

"The system made steady progress towards its goal of universal service, which came in the twenties and thirties to mean everyone should have a telephone." [AT&T : History: The Bell System]

1935: First round the world telephone call. [Iardella 34]

1936: First coaxial cable put into service between New York and Philadelphia. [Iardella 34] [AT&T: History of Network Transmission] "The first coaxial cable experiment opened between New York and Philadelphia in 1936. One pair of coaxial units simultaneously carried 1,860 telephone conversations or 600 conversations and two TV programs. Each of these 1,860 voice pathways were equipped to provide up to 18 telegraph circuits. Commercial service was inaugurated between Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941. Coast-to-coast service was inaugurated in 1951 when the Japanese Peace Conference in San Francisco, California, was televised."

1937: Clinton Davisson of Bell Labs receives a Nobel Price. [Iardella 19]

1939: Telephone is deployed as "a weapon of preparedness." [Porticus Western Union] Western Electric manufactures Signal Corps sets in preparation for the war. [Iardella 34]

World War II: Western Electric builds US military's radar system [Brooks p 11] [Iardella 35] Between 1942 to 1945, West Electric sales to USG more than $2.3B. [Iardella 35]

During World War II, AT&T ran ads asking consumers to not make long distance phone calls in order to keep the load on the network - which could not be expanded during the war - down. [AT&T Ad Encouraging Consumers to Limit Long Distance Calls]

1940: Western Electric sales to USG $3.5m. [Iardella 34]


AT&T: Telephone Courtesy (1940s)
War and the Telephone 1943

1943: The first African American, Gloria Shepperson, is hired in the Bell System helped by Fair Employment Practices Executive Order 8802 (1941) banning hiring discrimination. [CWA History]

1945: AT&T leases 600,000 new phones in the first few months of peace. By years end, 27,946,000 phones in US; 22,446,000 are Bell telephones. [Iardella 36]


1947: Bell Labs


1949 :: Antitrust II








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