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Quote of the Day

 

“in any company’s greatest achievements one might, with the clarity of hindsight, locate the beginnings of its own demise.”

 

-Jon Gertner, in his book, The Idea Factory.

 

January 25th – This Day in Stock Market History

 

January 25th, 1915 – Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson complete the first transcontinental phone call.

After speaking for a minute, Bell was asked to recreate his and Watson’s first telephone call (which took place March 10th, 1876). Bell told Watson; “Watson come here, I need you.” To which Watson replied “it would take me a week now.”

 

First phone call

 

New York Times Coverage of first transcontinental phone call
New York Times Coverage of first transcontinental phone call

AT&T had built the transcontinental phone line. It was a loop from New York, to Washington D.C, to Jekyll Island, Georgia, to San Fransisco. The first calls were between Alexander Graham Bell in New York, AT&T president Theodore Vail in Jekyll Island, Georgia, Watson in San Fransisco, and President Wilson in the White House in Washington D.C.

The lines took AT&T 7 years to complete. The circuit that relayed the call in 1915 consisted of 2,500 tons of copper wire, 130,000 poles, and three vacuum tube repeaters (which were only invented in 1912).

 

AT&T would soon roll out coast to coast phone service. A three minute transcontinental phone call would cost $21 at the time, or about $512 today.

 

Source: AT&T History – Transcontinental Phone Line and, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation



Best January 25th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1988 – Up 2.26%, 42.94 points.

 

Worst January 25th in Dow Jones Industrial Average History

1910 – Down 2.60%, 1.77 points.

 

 

Read of the Day

AT&T has one of the most storied histories of any American business. For decades, AT&T was given rights to a monopoly in phone service, in exchange for its research and help to the U.S. Government. Part of this agreement led to the creation of Bell Labs, which made some of the world’s most important scientific breakthroughs.

There is a great book about the history of Bell Labs, The Idea Factory.

I originally picked up the book as a way to look back about how AT&T’s stock benefited from its huge research department. (Initially I was trying to find a way to value Google’s massive research projects today). The story told of Bell Labs, from its founding to its breakup was simply amazing.
The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

 

 

<– Go To Previous Day: January 23rd 1995 – Japan’s Nikkei index falls more than 1,000 points after Kobe earthquake.

Go To Next Day: January 26th, 1989 – AT&T reports its first loss in its 103 year history