AT&T Inc. (T): The Birth of the Telecom Industry and the Accidental Nat-Gas Bonanza

Page 1 of 2

On this day in economic and business history…

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) began on July 9, 1877 as Bell Telephone Company in Boston, Mass. It was the first telephone company in the world, established only eight years after the United States had finally connected East and West with the Transcontinental Railroad. A year earlier, the country of 38 states and 48 million people had celebrated its hard-won centennial — and Alexander Graham Bell had earned the first telephone patent in the world, three days before he successfully tested his telephone for the first time. This was the patent that would help build one of the greatest communications empires the world has ever seen.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)

Prominent Americans began installing those newfangled “telephone” doodads shortly after Bell Telephone’s founding — in 1877, both Mark Twain and President Rutherford B. Hayes had telephones installed at their homes. The White House’s first telephone stood ready outside of the Oval Office, and it would be more than half a century before it would be installed in the Oval Office itself. A year later, the first phone books (phone pamphlets, really, as so few people actually had telephones) were printed out, and the first switchboards went into operation.

By 1880, already serving roughly 49,000 lines, Bell Telephone began its transformation into the Bell System by merging with other Bell companies into American Bell. By 1885, the company’s rapid growth necessitated the creation of a subsidiary to build out and operate long-distance lines — the original American Telephone and Telegraph. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) grew to surpass its parent and would become the parent by acquiring American Bell’s assets shortly before the 20th century began. By this point the Bell System was serving more than half a million telephone lines, and its growth only got faster from then on. By 1910, 5.8 million homes and businesses had phones connected through Bell switchboards. In 1915, Alexander Graham Bell himself participated in the first transcontinental telephone call at the ripe (but highly productive) age of 68. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) had established itself as the only viable long-distance telephone company in the country, and from then on it was effectively a monopoly.

A year after completing its transcontinental line, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) joined the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow Jones Indices:.DJI). AT&T was removed in 1928 in favor of several bubbly “tech” companies near the height of the Roaring ’20s (this was also the move that expanded the index from 20 to 30 components), but it returned to the index in 1939, where AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) (as well as its post-divestiture Baby Bells) has remained to the present day. When AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) began, it had a handful of customers. Today, there are more mobile phones in use than there are people alive in the world.

Page 1 of 2
blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months Click to see monthly returns in table format!

Lists

6 Films About the Financial World You Need To Watch (While “The Wolf” is Not Around)

Warren Buffett and Billionaires Are Crazy About These 7 Stocks

The Top 10 States With Fastest Internet Speeds

10 Best Places to Visit in USA in August

Top 10 Cities to Visit Before You Die

Top 10 Genetically Modified Food In the US

15 Highest Grossing Movies Opening Weekend

5 Best Poker Books For Beginners

10 Strategies Hedge Funds Use to Make Huge Returns

Top 10 Fast Food Franchises to Buy

10 Best Places to Visit in Canada

Best Summer Jobs for Teachers

10 Youngest Hedge Fund Billionaires

Top 10 One Hit Wonders of the 90s

Fastest Growing Cities In America

Top 10 U.S. Cities for Freelancers

Top 9 Most Popular Free iPhone Apps

Top 10 Least Expensive Private Business Schools in the US

Top 15 Most Expensive Countries in the World – 2014

Top Businesses to Invest In

Top 5 Things You Might Be Doing Wrong With Your Business

Top 5 Strategic Technology Trends in 2014

Top Rags to Riches Stories

Parenting Behavior That Promotes Future Leaders

Top 5 Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

Top 5 Most Common and Potentially Devastating Financial Blunders

Top 5 Highest Paying Jobs for Web Designers

Top 6 Most Respected Professions that Also Pay Well

Top 5 Pitfalls Investors Should Avoid

Top 6 Lawyers and Policy Makers Under 30

Top 6 New Year’s Resolutions for Entrepreneurs

Top 7 Locations to Check in on Facebook

Top 5 Mistakes made by Rookie eBay Sellers

Top 7 eBook Publishers in 2013

Top 6 Health Industry Trends in 2014

5 Lessons for Entrepreneurs from Seth Godin

Top 5 Success Tips from Jordan Belfort – the Wolf of Wall Street

Best Master’s in Finance Degree Programs

Top 6 Earning Celebrities Over 50

The most expensive sports to play

Top 7 Earning Celebrities Under 25

Best 7 Online Courses to Take: Free Finance MOOCs

Top 6 Bad Habits that Promote Failure

20 Most Valuable Soccer Teams in the World in 2013

12 Most Expensive Countries for Foreign Students

Top 30 Most Influential Women in the World

Top 20 Most Expensive New Year Eve Shows

Top 5 Best Vocational Careers

Top 10 Jobs for 2014 by Salary Gain (Predictions)

Top 5 Digital Trends for 2014

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!