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Newspaper Page Text
CHICAGO MAKES THE BEST TELEPHONE IN THE
WORLD, BUT DOESN'T USE IT WHY?
BY N. D. COCHRAN
While the automatic telephone is manufactured in Chicago and shipped
to all parts of the world the people right here really know little about It.
It does not appear that the interests that got a telephone franchise
and installed the automatic ever gave the phone trust any real compete-
tion, but devoted their energies to building up an underground freight rail- ,
way which was what they were after when they asked council for what
purported to be a telephone franchise that would insure phone competition
Anyhow, it is known that the promoters DID develop the freight sub- i
way and that they now ask the city's permission 1o sell out the automatic
phone system to the phone trust.
FOR THE CITY TO DO THIS WOULD BE AS BAD AS REFUSING TO
USE ELECTRIC LIGHT IN ORDER THAT A TALLOW CANDLE TRUST .
MIGHT ENJOY A MONOPOLY OF SELLING TALLOW CANDLES.
The Penny Phone League calls attention to the advantages of the au- ., ,
tomatic telephone over the phone YOU are now using.
Engineers the world over recognize the automatic as the coming sys
tem. In the annual report of the Postmaster General of Australia, 1912-13,
page 37, the chief electrical engineer of the public telephone system qf Aus
tralia, after studying the most recent developments in the leading countries
of the world, says:
"The consensus of opinion of the world toward this question (Auto
matic Exchange) has undergone a marked change In the last few years,
and it is now accepted that the future telephone switching mechanism for
large networks must be automatic. This tendency is shown in the action
recently taken in England, Germany, Bavaria, Austria and Holland, In all
of which countries automatics are either in use or contemplated."
The advantages of the automatic over the Bell manual are many.
Connections are practically instantaneous if your party isn't busy. No mis
takes are made unless you make them yourself. There is no giying you the
wrong number, or waiting for the operator. No operator can ring you off
while you are talking. Your conversation is secret. Nobody can listen on
the line. Disconnection is immediate, not ,at the convenience of the oper
ator. The instant you are through with one you can make another. If
your party is busy you know it immediately.
Stockholm, Sweden, has 350,000 population and I5Q.Q00 telephones.
The special report prepared by direction of the U. S. Postmaster General
as Senate Document 399 (See page 66), says the average charge for a
local call in Sweden is ONE-HALF A CENT.
There are but three countries in which the average charge for a local
call exceeds the letter rate, and the United States is one of them. In other
countries the local call rate runs lower than the letter postage rate. In the
United States it runs with the nickel street car fare and is often greater.
It is- claimed for automatic exchanges that they can be divided into
smaller units because of the absence of operators, which means shorter
lines and reduced cost of outside line construction. In. congested districts
it will be possible to do away with party line telephones.
In this connectipn it is interesting to know that the present owners of
the Chicago automatic system hold an option on 51 per cent of the Auto
matic Electric Co., which owns the automatic patents and manufactures