History--60 years ago [telecom]

Happy New Year, everyone!

2016 will mark the 60th anniversary of two momentous events in telephone history:

January 1956: AT&T settles anti-trust suit with Justice Dept. It would license existing patents without royalty, and future patents at reasonable royalties. AT&T would exit all businesses not related to the communications field (other than government work), such as Westrex motion picture sound equipment. Last, Western Electric would maintain uniform cost accounting to ensure fair prices for its products sold to Bell companies.

One key patent now royalty free was for transistors.

--New York Times, Jan 25, 1956, pg 1.

(Also, in 1956, IBM settled an anti-trust with the Justice Dept with a Consent Decree. Among other terms, IBM would also license out its patents for free or reasonable royalties.)

September 1956: Inauguration of transatlantic voice cable. This allowed much more reliable overseas telephone calls than the radio system then in use. Originally it had 35 voice channels and 1 telegraph channel (for 22 telegraph lines). At the end, through various means, it had 72 voice channels.

It was retired in 1978.

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***** Moderator's Note *****

Ah, the good old days of TASI and telegraph. I can feel the heat of the soldering iron and smell the rosin!

Sometimes, I wish there were no Clark Belt, no LNA's, no DS3 lines, no fiber optic. The technical world of telephone used to be limited to L-5 and SF units and negative-impedance repeaters and the soak currents of relays I knew how to adjust and repair.

Bill Horne Moderator

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