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Newspaper Page Text
BIG FINANCIAL INTERESTS ARE BACK OF THE
BELL-AUTOMATIC PHONE DEAL
BY N. D. COCHRAN
Whether you now have a phone or not, YOU are interested in the Penny
Phone League, for it is fighting the battle for municipal ownership of the
automatic telephone system and a phone in every home at a penny a call
and that means YOU.
The Penny Phone League is a voluntary organization of men and
women who take an activnterest in public affairs and are willing to give
freely of their time, energy and ability to help others as well as them
selves. The Penny Phone League is composed of delegates from the following
organizations: Chicago Federation of Labor, over 50 labor bodies; Chicago
Progressive Club, Women's Civic League, Chicago Progressive Club, Fed
eration of Men's Teachers, Socialist Party of Cook County and Prohibition
Women in all parts of the city are taking an active interest in this or
ganization, because they realize that cheap phone service affects every home
in Chicago. They realize that many steps would be saved and much time
if phone service were so cheap that everybody could have a phone.
The first important work for the Penny Phone League is to sufficiently
arouse public interest to prevent the lobbyists of the phone trust and the
tunnel company (owners of the automatic phone system) from railroad-'
ing a deal through the city council in October, by which the city will con
sent to the Bell phone trust buying the automatic system and throwing it
on the junk pile.
Already the vigorous fight of Alderman Merriam and others for the
public interest has prevented this deal going through by securing post
ponements. But THE LOBBYISTS AND BIG INTERESTS BACK OF THE
PHONE TRUST HAVE BEEN BUSY ALL SUMMER, AND THEY WILL
TRY TO RUSH THE DEAL THROUGH WHEN COUNCIL MEETS NEXT
If they succeed, then good-bye to Chicago's chance to get a municipally-owned
phone system unless it buys out the Chicago Telephone Co.
To buy out that system would cost the people of Chicago close to FIFTY
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
THE TUNNEL COMPANY PROPOSES TO SELL THE AUTOMATIC
SYSTEM FOR ABOUT SEX MILLIONS.
A few earnest individuals can't win the great fight for the people un
less they have the support of the people generally.
No support can be expected from the newspapers, because the power
ful interests back of the Chicago Telephone Co. are big advertisers. The
Marshall Field estate is a big owner of Chicago Telephone Co. and Amer
ican Telephone & Telegraph Co. stock, and Chauncey Keep, trustee under
the Marshall Field will, is a director in the Chicago Telephone Co., and John
G. Shedd, president of the Marshall Field Co., is a director in the Common
wealth Edison Co.
YOU have seen the persistent advertising of the Chicago Telephone
Co., the Commonwealth Edison and People's Gas. Now see how the big
money combination works through these corporations and banks and big
Not long ago Montague Ferry, Chicago commissioner of public ser!