It took a full day for news of the first transcontinental telephone call to reach readers of the Minneapolis Tribune:
Across the Continent
Talks From White House
to Exposition Chief in
Vail Talks From Georgia to
'Frisco Over 4,000-
Dr. Bell and His Original
Electrician Also Use
Washington, Jan. 26. – Yesterday President Wilson inaugurated the first transcontinental telephone system by speaking directly to President Moore of the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. With Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and President Vail of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company, cut in on the wire at different points, the President extended congratulations on the achievement.
| || |
| ||Alexander Graham Bell in about 1917. |
“It appeals to the imagination to speak across the continent,” said the President to Mr. Moore. “I congratulate you on the fine prospects for a successful exposition. I am confidently hoping to take part in it after the adjournment of Congress. May I not send my greetings to the management and to all whose work has made it possible and made it the great event it promises to be, and convey my personal congratulations to you?”
Inventor Bell Talks.
With Dr. Bell listening on the line at New York, the President then spoke to Thomas A. Watson in San Francisco. Mr. Watson was Dr. Bell’s electrician at the time of the invention of the telephone and was the first person to hear a word spoken over a telephone.
With Mr. Vail listening on the line at Jekyll Island, Georgia, the President then spoke to Dr. Bell. The President said he could hear Mr. Moore in San Francisco very clearly.
Original Telephone Used.
San Francisco, Jan. 26. – After the first successful interchange of messages between Dr. Bell and Mr. Watson over the New Yorrk-San Francisco telephone line yesterday, the original instrument used in the first conversation between the two forty years ago was cut in on the circuit and the voices still were distinct.
As a further test, an extension was set up from New York to Jekyll Island, Ga., where Theodore N. Vail, president of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company, was waiting and Mr. Watson and Mr. Vail talked over a circuit 4600 miles long.
Mayors Rolph of San Francisco and E. Mitchell of New York, and many others, exchanged messages.
New Yorkers Hear Conversation.
New York, Jan. 26. – President Wilson’s conversations from Washington with San Francisco were overheard by scores of persons in the telphone company’ soffices, including sixty officials, business men and merchants and representatives of engineering and civic organizations.
The transcontinental service will not be established for public use until about March 1. It will cost a person in New York $20.70 [that's $435.40 in 2008 money, according to the Inflation Calculator
] to talk for three minutes with San Francisco and $6.75 for each additional minute.
|A well-dressed switchboard operator routed calls at the Minneapolis Journal in about 1915. |