Stock Certificate, specimenLate 1900'sAmerican Bank Note CompanyThe item shown is representative of the piece you will receive
In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell
shouted to his colleague through a revolutionary communications device; one year later, Cleveland, Ohio, installed its first telephone. The first phone service in that city was provided by the Western Union Telegraph Company
, but that company soon withdrew from the business after a patent dispute with the Bell Telephone Company
, the organization formed to oversee and market Alexander Graham Bell's technology. The exchange was then purchased by a Bell licensed company called the Cleveland Telephone Company. Incorporated in 1880, the Cleveland Telephone Company operated as the only local telephone company in the city for ten years.
After local phone line needs were met in Cleveland, long distance service moved into the area as well, reaching Cleveland for the first time in 1883 via a Chicago-based Bell organization. By 1893 the American Telephone and Telegraph Company
(AT&T;) was providing long-distance service to Cleveland, marking the beginning of a relationship between AT&T; and Cleveland Telephone that would remain for almost a century.
AT&T; was originally formed by Bell Telephone as its long-distance subsidiary. As Bell Telephone grew at a tremendous rate throughout the country, it found that it needed additional money to fund the expansion. However, the amount of capital it could raise and the means of raising it were restricted by the state of Massachusetts, in which Bell Telephone was incorporated. So, Bell Telephone had its AT&T; subsidiary (incorporated in New York where rules for expansion were more lenient) take over its local phone exchanges as well as continuing its role as long distance provider. With over $70 million in assets, AT&T; became the parent company of the Bell System in 1899, and the Cleveland Telephone Company became a wholly-owned subsidiary of AT&T.;
After the expiration of the Bell patents in 1894, independent phone companies began forming and the Cleveland Telephone Company met its first competition. The Cuyahoga Telephone Company, for example, offered lower rates than Cleveland Telephone and gave subscribers access to locations not reached by the Bell system. The new competition prompted Cleveland Telephone to lower its rates. However, customers of each company soon became frustrated when they found they couldn't place calls to those subscribing to the competitors' service. In fact, businesses found that communicating effectively with all their customers necessitated subscribing to the services of both companies. In 1901, to help with this problem, the two companies agreed to exchange services.
The real growth of the Cleveland Telephone Company began in the early 1900s with a name change and a series of acquisitions. In 1921, Cleveland Telephone became incorporated as The Ohio Bell Telephone Company, an identity that remained for over 70 years. Also during this time, it acquired the Central Union Telephone Company's Ohio locations, as well as the southern Ohio services of the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia. Finally, a merger with Ohio State Telephone, the country's largest independent phone company, made Ohio Bell the dominant communications company in the state.
In the late 1960s, Ohio Bell replaced the exchange numbers used since 1897 with new seven-digit numbers, and some customers also began enjoying such new services as call transfer, three-way calling, and call-waiting.
By the 1970s, customers began to wonder whether AT&T;ís grip on the telephone industry was working in their best interests, and companies with new telecommunications ideas wanted to compete. For example, an ambitious company called Microwave Communications, Inc.
(MCI) sought to provide new and less expensive microwave technology for long distance services. When MCI received permission to offer limited service in the early 1970s, it promptly filed an antitrust suit against AT&T; in 1974. A similar suit was also filed by the Justice Department during this time.
Following years in court in the biggest antitrust case in U.S. history, AT&T; agreed to divest its operations in 1982. AT&T; shed its local operating subsidiaries as part of the antitrust settlement, and Ameritech Corporation
, a Chicago-based communications company, was established as one of the seven new regional holding companies. On January 1, 1984, The Ohio Bell Telephone Company became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ameritech Corporation.
The period from the mid-1980s through the 1990s was a time of major restructuring and consolidation for Ohio Bell. In 1990, the company announced the reduction of about eight percent of their workforce, or approximately 1,000 jobs, through early retirement, hiring freezes, and resignations. Two years later, Ameritech consolidated management positions at all five of its Bell telephone companies: Ohio Bell, Illinois Bell
, Indiana Bell
, Michigan Bell
, and Wisconsin Telephone
. Thousands of positions in marketing, advertising, training, operations and accounting were eliminated or transferred into Ameritech Services Inc., the administrative division of the group. Additional cuts were made in later years. Management then announced that the Ohio Bell name would be phased out and the state company would adopt the Ameritech name. The company thereafter became known among its customers as Ameritech Ohio, retaining the Ohio Bell name for financial reporting purposes only.NY-New York Telephone/Telegraph Companies Telephone Companies Specimen Pieces Female Subject Telephone Featured Company Logo Featured