What the Telephone Map Shows (Sep, 1914)

What the Telephone Map Shows

EVERY dot on the map marks a town where there is a telephone exchange, the same sized dot being used for a large city as for a small village. Some of these exchanges are owned by the Associated Bell companies and some by independent companies. Where joined together in one system they meet the needs of each community and, with their suburban lines, reach 70,000 places and over 8,000,000 subscribers.

The pyramids show that only a minority of the exchanges are Bell-owned, and that the greater majority of the exchanges are owned by independent companies and connected with the Bell System.

At comparatively few points are there two telephone companies, and there are comparatively few exchanges, chiefly rural, which do not have outside connections.

The recent agreement between the Attorney General of the United States and the Bell System will facilitate connections between all telephone subscribers regardless of who owns the exchanges.

Over 8,000 different telephone companies have already connected their exchanges to provide universal service for the whole country.

American Telephone and Telegraph Company And Associated Companies
One Policy One System Universal Service

11 comments
  1. Benzene says: May 30, 20089:42 am

    The telephone map reminds me of the Earth at night from space map. The population centers haven’t changed much in nearly 100 years.

  2. Napthalene says: May 30, 20084:59 pm

    Miami doesn’t even seem to exist.

  3. Mike says: May 30, 20085:21 pm

    That’s an interesting point.

    Most of south Florida must have been empty at that time.

    Orlando would have been all orange groves, if anything.

    No Las Vegas, either.

  4. JeffK says: May 30, 20087:35 pm

    Does that ad say they were facing monopoly charges almost 70 years before the big break-up?

    Before and after divestiture, and moving around, I lived under AT&T, Ameritech, Pacific Bell and SBC dominance. Now, every place I have lived is mostly served by…AT&T.

  5. JMyint says: May 30, 20087:55 pm

    The AT&T of today is not the same company. It is one of the former baby bells (SBC) that was created after the breakup that is slowly gobbling up the compitition including the former AT&T.

    Prior to the land boom of the 1920′s much of South Florida was considered uninhabitable.

  6. Doug says: May 30, 20088:19 pm

    In 1910, Florida had over 750,000 people, and Nevada had only 81,000…yet they seem to have similar amount of telephone exchanges. By comparison, Colorado also had about 750,000 people at the time, and it seems to have twice the amount of exchanges as Florida. Of course, Colorado was (and is) dominated by one large city (Denver), whereas in 1910 Miami only had 5,000 people! Jacksonville, which I believe was the largest city at the time, only had 58,000 (Denver had almost a quarter million at the time).

  7. Blurgle says: May 30, 200810:50 pm

    Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio are especially exchange-rich as compared to other states. Perhaps the land use of the time – small farms, small towns, but prosperous – meant that there were more exchanges in any given area than there would be elsewhere.

    The South is relatively exchange-poor, but at this time much of the rural South didn’t have telephone service yet. The same could be said of much of the inland southwest.

  8. MKremer says: May 30, 200811:13 pm

    The most obvious blank spots (or almost blank) between then and now are: Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, and (especially) the Los Angeles area.

  9. Eliyahu says: May 31, 20088:54 am

    Let’s face it — there are a few things that work better as a monopoly, and the phone company was one of them.

  10. Mark L says: June 3, 20087:59 am

    This is probably a fair representation of population at the time. It is very interesting
    to see the shift from 1910 to the present. People migrated away from the Great Lakes region
    to the west coast and to the southeast coast.

  11. George says: August 24, 20081:53 pm

    I wonder how long and hard they fought against their “agreement.” Once connected, they still didn’t play well together, though.

    In the fifties, I had friends who lived in a town 10 miles from me that had an independent phone co. It was easier, and less expensive, to call the moon than them. Sort of like roaming charges, I suppose.

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