IN CHICAGO IS TELLING ITS READERS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE
SCHEME TO TURN THE AUTOMATIC OVER TO THE BELL COMPANY?
DO YOU KNOW THAT THE BIGGEST JOB AGAINST THE INTER
ESTS OF THE PEOPLE OF CHICAGO IN THE TOWN'S HISTORY IS
A'BOUT TO BE PULLED JOFF?
If you don't, then The Day Book will tell you. I have already explained
the workings of the deal to junk the automatic and give the Bell trust a
monopoly. Now I have asked a telephone expert to give the people of Chi- tP
cago the benefit of his experience and wide knowledge of the telephone
I have invited Harold D. Stroud, who recently resigned as commercial j
superintendent of the automatic 'phone plant of the Illinois Telephone and
Tunnel Co., and organizer of the Chicago Telephone Users' Association, to
show the people of Chicago how they can have PENNY TELEPHONE
SERVICE, WITH A 'PHONE IN EVERY HOME.
Mr. Stroud has been In telephone and electrical work since 1893. He 1
has been in the employ of the Thompson-Houston Electric Co., the Standard
Telephone Co., Northwestern Telephone Exchange Co., Western Telephone i
Construction Co., Chicago Telephone Co., Controller Co., the Western
Electric Co., and the Illinois Telephone and Tunnel Co., until recently ;
when he resigned to take up the fight to save the automatic telephone sys
tem from the trust's junk heap for the people of Chicago. 1 i
Mr. Stroud tells me that the cost of giving secret automatic telephone
service is one cent, as compared with three, cents for non-secret manual
service; that the average time saved with automatic service is 30 seconds I
per call; that automatic service would save 16,666 hours per day, or 8,333
hours for each million calls.
He says that manual service, with the regular 'phone, will be non
commercial with 600,000 'phones in the Chicago service, while automatic
service is capable of serving over 1,000,000 subscribers.
He tells me a Chicago factory is working full force, night and day, to
supply automatic telephones to England, Canada, Cuba, Australia, New
Zealand, France and the Argentine Republic, as well as the United States.
Mr. Stroud says that if Chicago had even 100,000 automatic 'phones
and service was all measured, we could have 300 per cent better service than
at profit under Bell service, at a cost of one cent for two minutes.
If this be true, and I have no reason to doubt its entire truth, every
citizen oj. omcago is interested in the subject. If we could have a telephone
service with rates so low thajthere could be A TELEPHONE IN EVERY
HOME, Chicago would have the greatest telephone system in the world,
and the benefit to the people would be incalculable.
The argument advanced for telephone monopoly is that two telephones
are a nuisance and that the telephone business is a natural monopoly.
IF THAT BE TRUE, THEN I FAVOR THE PEOPLE OWNING THE
MONOPOLY THEMSELVES. FOR THEN IT CAN BE RUN AT COST
AND EVERYBODY GIVEN THE BENEFIT OF THE LOWEST POSSIBLE
A TELEPHONE MONOPOLY OWNED, CONTROLLED AND OPER
ATED BY A PRIVATE CORPORATION, MEANS THAT TELEPHONE
USERS PAY THE INTEREST ON WATERED BONDS, THE DIVIDENDS
ON WATERED STOCK AND MUST STAND FOR WHATEVER EX
ACTION THE MONOPOLY MAY SEE FIT TO MAKE.
AND IT MEANS THE ROTTEN SERVICE EVERY CITY GETS
WHERE THERE IS A MONOPOLY CONTROLLED BY PRIVATE CAPITAL.
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