AT&T Ad: Cave Life or Civilization (Apr, 1916)

AT&T’s monopolistic motto “One Policy One System Universal Service” sounds an aweful lot like the “One ring to bind them” stuff from Lord of the Rings…

Cave Life or Civilization

Civilized man is distinguished from the cave man by his habit of co-operation.

The cave man lived for and by himself; independent of others, but always in danger from natural laws.

To the extent that we assist one another, dividing up the tasks, we increase our capacity for production, and attain the advantages of civilization.

We may sometimes disregard our dependence on others. But suppose the farmer, for example, undertook to live strictly by his own efforts. He might eke out an existence, but it would not be a civilized existence nor would it satisfy him.

He needs better food and clothes and shelter and implements than he could provide unassisted. He requires a market for his surplus products, and the means of transportation and exchange.

He should not forget who makes his clothes, his shoes, his tools, his vehicles and his tableware, or who mines his metals, or who provides his pepper and salt, his books and papers, or who furnishes the ready means of transportation and exchange whereby his myriad wants are supplied.

Neither should he forget that the more he assists others the more they can assist him.

Take the telephone specialists of the Bell System: the more efficient they are, the more effectively the farmer and every other human factor of civilization can provide for their own needs and comforts.

Radio Beam Guides Girls in Blindfold Race (Sep, 1934)

Radio Beam Guides Girls in Blindfold Race

Five blindfolded co-eds at the University of Cincinnati recently competed in an odd foot race, guided only by the beams from a radio beacon set up on the campus. Each girl taking part in this unusual contest carried a small receiving set and wore earphones through which the guiding signals were heard. The signals transmitted were of two kinds like those used to guide planes on commercial airways, one indicating to the contestant that she was following the true course and the other telling her that she was wandering astray. The girls had little difficulty finding their way to the spot where the transmitting antenna had been temporarily set up.

Invading Sailors in Gas Masks Carry Radio Transmitter (Dec, 1936)

Invading Sailors in Gas Masks Carry Radio Transmitter
Playing at “war” on the English coast, a landing party of sailors representing the invading enemy donned gas masks and went ashore at Studland Beach near Swanage, to be met by a small defending party of British soldiers. The sailors carried a portable radio transmitter with a self-contained receiver to maintain communications with their supporting navy.

Army’s Nerve System (Aug, 1941)

Interesting article about all of the communications demands (radio, telegraph, crypto, etc) of an army division during WWII.

Army’s Nerve System



THE heavy tanks and dive bombers hit the line, smash an opening. Through the gap rush the armored divisions, the light and medium tanks and armored cars, fanning out, a fast backfield running interference for the infantry.

Fifty miles, 100 miles and more a day the mechanized columns speed over the vast grid map of battle. Their slashing end runs flank the enemy at 35 and 40 miles an hour. In Flanders, France, Greece, Libya, the dashing pace of modern war has come more and more to resemble football in a broken field.

But the comparison breaks down completely at one point: there is no time out for a huddle between plays. Signal communications, the army’s nerve system, must be maintained at breakneck speed continuously. Observation planes, bombers, scout cars, tanks, artillery, infantry must remain in quick, instant contact with the high command; otherwise an integrated, intelligent striking force becomes a disjointed rabble. The marvels accomplished by the German Army in the last two years have set our political orators shouting for tanks, planes, guns—a cry with which everybody agrees. But every military man knows that the real marvel of the German assault has not been merely its preponderance in engines of war, but also the precise coordination with which this vast amount of equipment and manpower was used.

The remarkable transistor observes its 10th birthday (Jun, 1958)

The remarkable transistor observes its 10th birthday

In 1948, Bell Telephone Laboratories announced the invention of the transistor. In 1958, the transistor provided the radio voice for the first United States satellite.

To advance the transistor to its high level of usefulness, Bell Labs solved problems which, in themselves, approached the invention of the transistor itself in scientific achievement.

First, there had to be germanium of flawless structure and unprecedented purity. This was obtained by growing large single crystals —and creating the “zone refining” technique which reduces impurities to one part in ten billion.

The junction transistor, another radical advance, spurred transistor use. Easier to design, lower in noise, higher in gain and efficiency, it became the heart of the new electronics.

An ingenious technique for diffusing a microscopically thin layer on semiconductors was created. The resulting “diffused base” transistor, a versatile broadband amplifier, made possible the wide use of transistorized circuits in telephony, FM, television, computers and missiles.

In telephony the transistor began its career in the Direct Distance Dialing system which sends called telephone numbers from one exchange to another. For Bell System communications, the transistor has made possible advances which would have been impossible or impractical a brief decade ago.



Lenses Promise No-Hands Phone (Oct, 1949)

Lenses Promise No-Hands Phone

BEING a good engineer, Dr. Winston E. Kock is a lazy man. He thinks it’s too much trouble to lift up a handset every time you want to talk over the telephone. His idea of a telephone is a little black box you never touch—just talk and listen to.

Since Dr. Kock is a physicist-engineer for Bell Telephone Laboratories, he did something about his idea. He developed lenses that focus sound, a necessary preliminary to the lazy-man’s telephone. The telephone itself is still only an idea, but the lenses have been made and should have many uses.

You can understand why lenses are necessary if you’ve ever held an old-fashioned telephone receiver near the transmitter. The transmitter picks up the receiver’s sound, which keeps going around the circuit until it is a howl. A lens would direct the receiver’s sound at the user and keep it away from the transmitter. (“Intercom” systems do have combination receiver-transmitters, but you must press a switch to talk—more work than holding a handset.

Personal Opinion Telegram (Oct, 1982)

“Public opinion is everything.”
—Abraham Lincoln.

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Be silent no longer. Call Western Union. (The number’s in the telephone directory.)

And send for our informative booklet, “Speak and Be Heard.” Write to Rusi Patell, Dept. G10, The Western Union Telegraph Company, One Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458.

Personal Opinion Telegram
Call Western Union, day or night.

Broadcasts Game as He Plays (Jun, 1939)

Broadcasts Game as He Plays

A PLAY-BY-PLAY account of a basketball game, broadcast by one of the actual players during the contest, recently went on the air at Cleveland, Ohio. For the radio stunt, the player-announcer carried a short-wave transmitter that required no trailing wires, and the central radio studio picked up and rebroadcast his exciting description of his own plays and those of his team mates and opponents. The picture shows him in action.

Rockets Lay Phone Lines (Apr, 1948)

Rockets Lay Phone Lines

SIGNAL Corps linemen are adding rockets to their tool kits. The fiery missiles pull telephone wire from a new type of dispenser across streams, ravines, and other obstacles. One man, equipped with the dispenser, a few rockets, and a field telephone, can now set up communications in rough terrain faster than a large crew using conventional methods.

The new wire dispenser was developed from a model used during the war. With it. the wire-laying rocket may be fired without a launcher. The rocket is set off in the original cardboard packing case, which is placed in a wedge-shaped hole dug in the ground. Even when fired in this manner, the rocket will carry wire as much as 150 yards.

Edison’s Magnificent Fumble (Feb, 1947)

Edison’s Magnificent Fumble


AMERICA’S No. 1 inventor just missed one of the greatest inventions of all time. But he discovered the clue that enabled others to perfect it.

Most of those who currently celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Alva Edison at Milan, Ohio, on February 11, 1847, remember him for his electric light, talking machine, and moving pictures.

Many recall, too, his stock ticker, multiplex telegraph, storage battery, fluorescent lighting, and Portland cement.

Perhaps few, in contrast, ever heard of the Edison effect, to which we owe the vacuum tube and the marvels built around it—radio, television, radar, electron microscopes, atom smashers, and unknown wonders still to come.