Ma Bell Calling - Alexander Graham Bell
On March 7, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell received a United States patent for the invention of the telephone. By 1877, he formed the American Bell Telephone Company and the first exchange opened in New Haven, Connecticut. In a few fleeting years, local exchange companies were launched in every major city throughout America.
There were four major divisions of the American Bell Telephone Company; The American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) that had been created by American Bell Telephone Company to provide long distance calls and to interconnect between New York and Chicago and beyond; Western Electric Company, Bell's equipment manufacturing arm; Bell Labs, that conducted research and development for AT&T and finally, Bell operating companies, providing local exchange telephone services.
By 1899, AT&T would acquire the assets of its parent American Bell Telephone Company. AT&T then became the parent of American Bell, and thus the head of the Bell System. This acquisition was put into place, it's reported, to take advantage of the leaner regulatory and tax rules in NYC which were leaner in New York than in Boston, where American Bell was headquartered.
Following a government anti-trust suit and the Kingsbury Commitment, by 1913. AT&T agreed to the Kingsbury Commitment in which they would sell their reported $30 million in Western Union stock, allow competitors to interconnect with their system, and not acquire other independent companies without permission from the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC)
At the end of 1934, AT&T was regulated by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The company was to become the largest corporation in the world until its divestment by the United States Department of Justice in 1984, at which time the Bell System ceased to exist.
The Bell trademark pictured above was used from 1921 through 1939.