Some notes on the telegraph companies of the united states their stamps and franks - rich 1900Document Transcript
1 4e Notes on the Telegraph Coll~panirsof the United States; their Stamps and Franks.
on the Telegrapll Conrlpcrlllc: r A vrc3of the Unitecl s t a t e d their Stamp: / ancl 171-ail ks.
The following notes, with sollie additions and corrections, arereprinted, from the Anrericn~tJonrtzal of ZlrillrfeQ for rooo.
Some Notes on the Telegraph Coinpanies of the United States; their Stamps and Franks. I t is a matter of history, but still of some interest a t this moment, thatthe telegraph came into existence in 1844. I shall not trouble you withdetails of the trials, experiments, failures, etc., of the beginning of this greatrevolution in communication. I t is well known that Morse spent every centh e had in t h e world experimenting a n d completing his instruments for send-ing messages b y electricity over a wire. After his return from Europe, onApril 15, 1839, h e was still working a t his idea, a n d in t h e following year, 1840, the first patent was issued to him. I n 1841, Morse wrote a letter t ohis friend, Alfred Vail, in which these words appear:-" I have not a cent inthe world." T o his partner, Smith, after still another year of poverty andanxiety, h e wrote of his trials a n d in that letter we find t h e following:-"While, so far as my invention is concerned, everything is favorable, I findmyself without sympathy or help from any who are associated with me, whoseinterest one would think would impel them, a t least, t o inquire if they couldrender any assistance. For nearly two years I have devoted all my time andscanty means, living on a mere pittance a n d denying myself all pleasures,even necessary food, that I might have a sum to put my telegraph in such aposition before Congress as t o insure success to the common enterprise. Iam crushed for want of means, a n d means of so trifling a character, too, thatthey who know how to ask (which I d o not) could obtain in a few hours.One more year has gone for want of these means." I n February, 1843, abill was passed by Congress, giving Morse $3o,ooo to build an experimentalline between Washington a n d Baltimore. hlorse was unaware of t h e vote inCongress. T h e daughter of his friend hlr. Ellsworth, Commissioner ofPatents (her name was Annie G. and I mention it because it is a name to beremembered), called on t h e Professor next morning and said t o him," Professor, I have come on purpose to congratulate you." l Congratulateme! for what, my dear f ~ i e n d c a n you offer me congratulations?" " Yhy," ,she exclaimed gaily, as she enjoyed his wondering surprise, and h e was atthe time not in the fittest mood for pieasantries, " o n the passage of your bill.T h e Senate last night voted you your money, $30,000." T h e news was sounexpected that for some moments h e could make no reply. A t length h esaid. "Yes, Annie, you are the first to inform me. I was until now utterlyunconscious of t h e fact, a n d now I an1 going to make you a promise. Whenthe line is completed t h e first despatch sent upon it from Washington t oBaltimore shall be yours." "Well she replied, " I will hold you t o yourpromise." I t was now arranged that Rlr. hlorse should be allowed a salaryof $2,500, during the construction of t h e line and the test. His assistantswere D r . L. D. Gale a n d Prof. J. C. Fisher. Mr. Alfred Vail took charge of the machinery, a n d the superintendent of construction was hir. E z r a
To Miss A. G. E. THESUN-DIAL. " Horas non nulnero nisi serenas. I note not the hours except they be bright. "The sun when it shines in a clear cloudless sky hlarks the time on my disk in figures of light. If clouds gather oer me, unheeded they fly. I note not the hours except they be bright. lSo when 1 review a11 the scenes t h a t have past Retween me and thee, be they dark, be they light, 1 forget what was d a ~ k ,the light I h0111 fast. I note not the hours except they be bright." Underdeath this Morse wrote the following note :-" I n traveling on theRhine some years ago, I saw on a sun-dial at Worms the above mot1o. T h ebeauty of its sentiment is well sustained in t h e euphony of its syllables, a n dI placed it in my own book, a n d have ventured to expand it in t h e stanzaswhich I now dedicate to my young friend A., sincerely praying that the dialof her life may ever show unclouded hours." O n April 1, 1845, the line was opened for public business. T h e op-erators were Mr. Vail a t Washington a n d Mr. H e n r y J. Rogers a t Baltimore.T h e Postmaster General had fixed the tarifl at one cent for every fourcharacters. T h e receipts during t h e first four days amounted to the magnifi-cent sum of O N E CENT. T h i s was brought about by the use of the telegraphline by an office seeker, who said h e had nothing but a $ 2 0 bill and one Gent;so h e bought a cents worth of telegraphy, the address not bcing charged forin either direction. Washington asked Baltimore,-"4 ", which in the listsignified " What time is it?", and the answer came from Baltimore-" I "-which signified that it was one oclock. I his was one character each waya n d should have cost a cent. T h e man paid his cent and was satisfied togo away without his change. O n the 5th of the same month the receiptswere 12% cents, on the 7th they ran u p to 60 cents, on the 8th to $1.32. I nthe year 1896 they were $22,612,736. T h e immense value of the telegraphbecame apparent almost a t once, a n d Prof. hlorse offered t o sell it t o theGovernment for $roo,ooo. T h e Postmaster General decided that telegramssent at the rate of postage could not produce sufficient revenue t o maintainthe line without loss, and the offer was refused. Mr. Reid in his book " T h eTelegraphy in America ", a book from which I shall quote yery freely through-out these notes a n d to which I am indebted for much of the information whichI possess o n the subject, says :-" I t was a fortunate fact for the inventor andfor the country." Ihe American telegraph grew rapidly from this time on,and long before his death, Mr. Morse had the satisfaction of seeing hissystem in use in every portion of the civilized world Having thus introduced you t o the telegraph in general, I will proceedt o take u p the companies in chronological order.
a company to build a line from New York to Baltimore a n d Washington.I t was estimated- that a line from Fort Lee, opposite New York City, orrather opposite the residence of the naturalist, hlr. Audubon, t o Philadelphia,would cost $rg,ooo. I t was with great difficulty that sufficient money wasraised in New York, b u t i n Washington there was greater success. Amongt h e names of the original subscribers t o the $rg,ooo we find t h e firm of Cor-coran 6. Riggs, $ ~ , o o o ;Amos Kendall, $5,oo; E z r a Cornell, $500; John M.Broadhead, $r,ooo; F. 0. J. Smith, $2,750. AS has been the case very oftensince, two shares of stock were issued on payment of the money sufficient tobuy one share, a n d therefore the $rg,ooo represented $30,000 of stock. T h epatentees received a n additional $30,000, a n d therefore t h e original wateredstock was issued to the amount of $60,000. T h e Magnetic Telegraph Co. was incorporated b y the Legislatureof t h e State of Maryland, a n d this was the first charter issued t o atelegraph company in the United States. T h e incorporators were S.F. B. Morse, B. B. French, Geo. C. Penniman, H e n r y J. Rogers, JohnS. McKim, J. R . Trimble, ]V. hl. Swain, John 0. Sterns, A. SydneyDoane a n d Associates. T h e route was from Merchants Exchange,Philadelphia, via the Columbia R. R. t o Morgans Corners, thence via Norris-town, Boylestown a n d Somerville t o Fort Lee by the ordinary wagon road.T h e reason that we find such a peculiar route taken is, that the railroad re-fused t h e right of way except on oppressive terms. By Jan. 20, 1846, t h eline h a d been completed t o Fort Lee. Mr. Reid became director of t h e linewith a n office a t Philadelphia. At this time, Mr. Smith of Washington, int h e emyloy of this company, invented what is to-day known as the " climber,"that peculiar instrument, which, attached to the feet of men, makes monkeysof them. Messages were sent across to New York by means of pigeons, untila lead pipe, enclosing a wire covered with cotton saturated with pitch, waslaid across the North River, under t h e superintendence of EzraCornell, from Fort Lee t o Audubons. But this proved a failure, a n d boatmen were em- ployed to carry the messages from Fort Lee t o Audubons, to be sent down T h e first office for the reception of messages was opened a t 10Wall Street. T h e operating office was located in Jersey City, where it re-mained for more than a year, until a successful crossing of the HudsonRiver, 60 miles from New York City, was made. Not long after, the NewYork office was moved t o Posts Buildings, behind the Merchants Exchange.T h e original Posts Buildings n o longer remain, but in their place to-day wefind the magnificent office buildings, still behind t h e reconstructed hlerchantsExchange, now known as the New York Custom House. At that time theglass knobs which were used as insulators,glistened in the sun a n d made finetargets for boys and rifle shooters. Occasionally a rifleman would make a nattempt t o split the wire, a n d less occasionally the rifleman was successful.Ihis, of course, caused much trouble. The great majority of people wereentirely ignorant as to the use of the mire, a n d the question of splitting thewire or breaking the insulators did not concern them. T h e first calamitywhich occured to the telegraph line was one which has been repeated manytimes since. There was a night rain and a cold atmosphere a n d the wireswere laden with ice-in t h e morning n o two poles were connected.
The line from Philadelphia to Baltimore was built in 1846,tract by which it was to cost $12,000, but which was slightly increasedon. All the wires were directed to be covered with tar. I shall quorethis connection from Mr. Reids book : " T h e originator of that sublime COception is unknovc. I n conformity with the order, however, a newly land1Scotchman was engaged, who, with a tar bucket slung at his side andmonster sponge in his hand, tarred the wire as far as Wilmington, Del. Thetar proved too much for him, - he went to sleep and never woke. Weburied him there. When he was gone no one would take his place. Beingthen in charge of the men, I took the bucket and sponge and lathered theelectric road to the Susquehanna. There OReilly made a bonfire of mysaturated garments. I t was a sad business. All the tavern keepers on thatroad long remembered the man with the tar bucket. At the town of North East they would not give me a bed." The stockholders met and organized on Jan. 14, 1846. T h e officers were :-President, Amos Kendall ; Secretary, Thos. M. Clark ; Treasurer, A. Sydney Doane. T h e force was as follows : Washington, one operator ; Jersey City, three operators; Wall St., one clerk and four boys; Philadelphia, three operators, one clerk and three boys ; Wilmington, one operator ; Balti- more, two operators and one boy. In those days enormous rents were paid by telegraph companies for offices. T h e annual rent of the New York office was $250, Philadelphia office $150, Baltimore $150, Washington $50. On Feb. I , 1875, the Western Union Telegraph Co., which is the successor of all early telegraph lines, moved into a modest little office at the corner of Dey St. and Broadway, measuring 75 X 150 ft. and 230 ft. from the pavement to the top, containing thirteen floors and built of iron, having three elevators and one special trunk elevator. This modest little office cost $2,200,000. Now, for the rates. T h e rates between Baltimore and Washington were 10-1. This means 10 cents for the first ten words and r cent for every extra word. New York to New Brunswick, 10-1; New York to Philadelphia, 25-2; New York to Washington, 50-5. This was considered at the time very ex- orbitant, and in connection with exorbitant rates for messages I will quote a little story from Teggs "Posts and Telegraphs ". Of course, these exorbitant rates led to the use of abbreviations and-words meaning sentences, and this anecdote will fit the case. Mr. Tegg says :-"The despatches which pass over a line in the course of a year, if collected together, would present a very curious and interesting volume of correspondence. T h e price of transmission for a message depending upon the number of words which it contains, of course renders the construction of it necessarily as brief as possible. Most despatches are contained in less than ten words, exclusive o f address atzd signature which are not chargedfor, and it is surprising how much matter is frequently contained in this small number. Among the best exam- ples of brevity which we have met with, however, are the two following : A lady in a neighboring city desirous of ascertaining when her husband would return home, sent him a message making the inquiry, to which he responded that important business detained him and that he could not leave for some days. The lady immediately replied by sending him another despatch couched in the following laconic manner :-To F.. C. P. Despatch re- ceived. Deut. XXIV: 5. Kate. T h e gentleman to whom the despatch was addressed, upon referring to the passage of scripture quoted, obtained the following lengthy and suggestive epistle: When a man hath taken a new wife he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business, but he shall be free at home one year and shall cheer up his wife
Philadelphia. I s everything 0. K.? D. T. M. T o which h e obtained thefollowing brief reply:-"Philadelphia. T o D. T. M., New York. Prov.Chap. X X V I I : 1 2 , B. C. M. U p o n referring to t h e passage indicated, t h einquiring individual obtained the following valuable advice, which it is pre-sumed he followed:- A prudent man forseeth evil a n d hideth himself ; butt h e simple pass o n a n d are punished. " O n t h e reverse of t h e envelopes, which enclosed telegrams in the earlydays, are f o u n d various seals. I t does not appear just when t h e sealing labelswere introduced, but they were probably brought into use during theadministration of Mr. Wm. M. Swain, o r possibly while he was one of hedirectors in t h e company. H e was a man of great energy, nad possibly theonly one in the corporation, a t that time, who had very clear ideas of busi-ness methods. Almost all telegraphic business management of the day wasd u e t o his energy. These seals cannot in any way be considered as telegraphstamps. A n examination of the envelopes on which they appear showsplainly what they were used for. None of t h e envelopes have a n y gum ont h e upper flap, and, the messages enclosed in these envelopes being usuallyof a private a n d confidential nature, some method was necessary to sealthem, and the four flaps at their junction were covered by a circular seal25 mm. in diameter, printed o n a very deep blue glazed paper. T h r o u g h t h e courtesy of Mr. Clarence H. Eagle I have had the privi-lege of seeing one of these envelopes, enclosing a telegram, dated Baltimore,Jan. 12, 1849, which clearly fixes its date. T h e face of t h e envelope bearsa n inscription in six lines : MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH. I N V E N T E D BY S. F. B. h l O R S E , A N A M E R I C A N C I T I Z E N Office in Washington, C O N G R E S S HALL, Pennsylvania Avenue, ojposite Nutionnl Hotel. I n the lower left hand corner, in two lines : If you desire an answer, T h e bearer will wait.
I n the lower right hand corner in two lines : No charge for Delivery. T h e seal on the back reads, in circle : hlAGNETIC T E L E G R A P H CO. I n the center in four lines : OFFICE Cor. Louisiana Avenue & Six St. Washington. I n August, 1847, the construction of this line was be un. T h e route Kwas by the public roads from New York through Harlem. W ite Plains, SingSing, Peekskill, Newburgh, Goshen, Middletown, Honesdale, Montrose, Bing-hampton, Ithaca, Dansville, Nunda, and Pike, to Fredonia. The line was440 miles long. A line from Ithaca to Binghamton was incorporated withthis. The construction price was $250 per mile for the first wire and $tooper mile for each additional wire. T h e company was organized October I ,1849, as the New York & Erie Telegraph Association. It was expected thatthis line would be a wonderful success, but, to use the words of a writer : " Itwas a great artery, but had no vitality for propelling blood. I t soon becametributary to other companies." A seal was used by this company which is al-most a perfect duplicate of that used by the Magnetic Telegraph Co. T h eonly difference is in the words of the inscription. In this case there are, in acircle: " New York 8 Erie Telegraph Co."; inside of this circle, in four horizontal lines : OFFICE No. 5 Hanover Cor. Beaver St. NEW YORK. (No. 5 Hanover St., by the way, was Posts buildings.) The seal is printed on deep blue, surface-glazed paper, exactly like theother, and is placed on the envelope in the same manner as the previouslydescribed seal. Organized under an Act of the Legislature of Connecticut, passed inthe session of 1845-46, with a capital of $r75 ooo. On February 2 1 , 1846,the line between Boston and Lowell had been completed, and Miss Sarah G .Bagley was appointed operator at the Lowell depot. She is the first womantelegraph operator on record. By March 22d the line had been extended toSpringfield, by the 26th to Hartford, by the 1st of May to New Haven. NewYork was reached on the 27th of June, 1846. T h e office in Boston was inthe Merchants Exchange Building; in Worcester in a building of the same
name; in Springfield it was in Massasoit Row (probably that ugly row of build-ings which to-day is known as the Massasoit House). T h e New York officewas in Posts buildings. I n t h e New P o r k office a single messenger was ablet o d o all t h e work of delivery. T h e line was subject to many delays, owingt o poor construction, a n d this became very annoying to those who found itnecessary, for business reasons, to use the telegraph. At this time hlr. Smithstepped in a n d spent $25,000 on improvements on the line and in making itt h e best in those days. Just then another company was looking for thebusiness from Boston, a n d Mr. Smith threw down the gauntlet, in the formof a letter t o the opposition company, which is of sufficient interest to quotein full :- " T o - d a y 1 bring out an offer in Boston. I propose t o deposit$1,000 in t h e Merchants Bank in Boston, against $ ~ , o c o , that my Durhambull, weighing over 2 500 lbs , will carry a message of 1000 words fromBoston to New York, in less time than the House Patent c a n carry it; and Igive t h e House instruments the Boston wires gratis to try on, a n d Octobera n d November to accept the offer in. If this offer dont get the public right, I dont know how big a bull they want to d o that for them. Let this propo- sition have a good run through t h e United States, as it certainly will, if its mixture of t h e serious, ridiculous a n d sublime mill make it take, and Housea n d his Cincinnati coadjutors will run bull mad." (Signed) F. 0. J. Smith. AiIuch amusement was caused b y this challenge. T h e rate between NewYork a n d Boston was 50 cents for each ten words, and n o reducton to thepress. Mr. Alexander Jones in his Nisforiral Sketch oJ the Electric Tele-g r p h , written a n d published in 1851, writes : " W e early invented a kind ofshort-hand system, o r cipher, inttnded greatly t o abbreviate comn~ercialnews transmitted by telegraph, a notice of which appeared in the Herald in1847. T h i s was so arranged, that the receipts of produce a n d the sales a n dprices of all leading articles of breadstuffs, provisions, &C., could be sentfrom Buffalo a n d Albany daily, in twenty words, for both cities, which,-whenwritten out, would make one hundred o r more words. This plan of ab-breviation, or some modification of it is continued on the same route, besidesothers, to the present day. Copies of the cipher, either in manuscript o r inprint, were placed in t h e hands of correspondents who should either com-pose or translate messages for the press. Another party also contrived acipher, but on a n entirely different plan. O u r first effort was found, in itsdaily use, t o be imperfect, a n d we soon prepared a second edition. W e com-menced sending a n d receiving commercial reports by it early in 15-17, be-tween New York, Baltimore, Boston a n d Buffalo, and subsequently between New York a n d Cincinnati, New Orleans and St. 1,ouis. Mr. F. 0. J. Smith, t h e controller of the New York and Boston hIorseline, established his charges a t fifty cents for each ten words. W e received adaily report from Boston of the markets over his line, of ten words in c u r cipher, which, when translated for the press, made at least from fifty to sixty, Mr. Smith, thinking we were getting more than our moneys worth, decided that five letters constituted t h e average of English words, a n d directed that all the letters, in a message sent in cipher, should be counted, and the whole divided b y five f o r t h e number of words, and charged accord- ingly. W e then, thinking other lines might follow his example, set down and ransacked Walkers Dictionary for a collection of short words, a n d in n o case, as far as practicable, did we select one with more than five to six letters. After much labor we had a new cipher ready for the press. IVhen printed
it made about 70 or 80 pages octavo, and altogether, the edition comprisingonly a few hundred copies for private use, cost us a considerable sum ofmoney, on account of the large amount of figure work. Mr. Smith soonafter decided that three letters made an English word, and we then abandonedreceiving markets over his line from Boston, but supplied some of the papersin that city for some time with New York markets prepared by it, a n d alsoused it o n lines leading to Baltimore, Cincinnati, a n d Buffalo." This " kind of short-hand system, or cipher," invented b y Mr. Jones in1847, is probably the origin of all our modern elaborate telegraph a n d cablecodes. I n July, 1852, this company absorbed its competitor, t h e New York PrNew England, a n d a single company, under the name of t h e New York & New England Union Telegraph Co., was formed. We find that the New York &Boston Magnetic Telegraph Association used, in 1850, a seal which is almostan exact duplicate of the two seals previously described, except that the wordsin the circle were changed t o fit the name of this Association, a n d read asfollows : " N e w York & Eoston Magnetic Telegraph Association." T h i s isprinted on deep blue, surface-glazed paper. N E W YORK & N E W E N G L A N D N I O N TELEGRAPH U CO. T h i s company was organized in 1849. I t established a line in opposi~ion to the New York and Boston Magnetic Telegraph Assn, which used the Morse system of telegraphy. U n d e r the influence of Genl. Lefferts, the capital, which was fixed at $ ~ o o , o o o ,was subscribed. T h e route was along t h e Pawtucket pike road from Boston t o Providence, thence it followed the railroad t o Olneyville a n d southward, b y the New London, Middletown, Norwich and New Haven pike, to Eighth Avenue, New York I t was built of a single line ofNo. 9 galvanized wire A peculiar insulator, known as the Leffert blockinsulator, was used. T h e system was a chemical one a n d was supposed t o bethe invention of a Mr. Bain, but the evidence is in favor of his having stolenwhatever ideas he may have had on the subject from Mr. Morses early in-struments, because he was unable to obtain a patent in the United Statesfor his invention. T h e company established neat offices, well located and attractively fitttedup. I will quote a few words as t o the employees : " T h e receivers wereselected for their politeness, were well dressed a n d silver tongued. A largebusiness was offered a n d was promptly a n d skillfully handled. T h e receiptsfor the year ending March 30, 1851, were $34.529 24, t h e second year theywere $41,521.-3r." T h e company, that is this Merchants Line-the name bywhich it is generally known-and the New York P: Boston Magnetic were at continual warfare, and suits for infringement of patent were broughtagainst the Merchants Line. This resulted in the union of the two com-panies, under the title of the New York S: New England Union Telegraph Co. T h e general director was Thos. hI. Clark, whose business methods led to many economies. O n e was an order that " all Morse operators be in- structed to copy their own messages as they receive them, and this led t o what is known to d a y as sound reading, in order that they might save themselves the trouble of making two copies. I have a little story to record in connec- tion with sound reading which I have stolen from Tegg, who stole it from the London Times. It is as follows :
that there must be some mistake, a telegraphic repetition was at once de-manded. I t has been received to-day (11th inst.), a n d shows that the wordsreally telegraphed b y the Reuter agent were : Governor-Queensland-Turns-Firzi-Sod, alluding to the Maryborough Gympic R. R. in courseof construction. T h e words in italics were mutilated by the telegraph intransmission from Australia, a n d reaching the company in the form men-tioned, gave rise to t h e mistake." I t will be noticed from what I have stated just before, that the linespassed through certain cities. W e know seals used by this company in NewYork, Providence and New Haven. T h e r e is every reason to believe that aseal will some day be found bearing t h e name of the Boston office. I t is, ofcourse, out of the question t o consider t h e seals of this company as stamps.T h e r e is not the slightest evidence that they were ever used either t o pre-pay a message o r t o pay for carrying a message from the telegraph office t othe point of destination, or that they were used as franks. I have had theprivilege of examining a number of these seals, some in t h e collections ofMr. Clarence H. Eagle a n d Rlr. H. E Deats, I have also three in my owncollection, and have seen quite a number within the last ten years, in thehands of dealers. I n n o instance have I found t h e slightest trace of gum onthe upper flap of any of the envelopes sealed with these Merchants Line seals.T h e y are n o moIe telegraph stamps than the circular labels of the MagneticTelegraph Co. T h e New York & E r i e a n d the New York Sr Boston bothhave exactly the same status; nothing more, nothing less. T h e label of theRlerchants Line is a copper plate engraving, a n d consists of an eaglecouchant with spread wings, on a double line shield. I n the shield is a six-line inscription ornamentally arranged : Merchants Line Telegraph 29 Wall St., N. York."" 23-Canal St.-Providence. " 146-Chapel St.-New Haven."T h e whole design is surrounded by a single lined rectangle, having the cornersbroken I)y small quarter circles, a n d measuring 19x24 mm. in theNew York stamp, 18Gx25 mm. in the Providence stamp, a n d the same in theNew Haven stamp. T h e y are printed on a heavy, surface-glazed paper a n dare trimmed to measure about 20x25 mm. I n the majority of cases thecorners have been cut off diagonally, making a n irregular octagon. Theywere used in 1850. T h e labels of the Merchants Line Telegraph are in bad repute, becauseof some of the things which are known about them. F o r many years t h elabels held a n honored position in the catalogues a n 2 at one time were~ r i c e d high as $5 per copy. But one day a firm of stamp dealers, of as
(I wonder how that discovery was made) that the long accepted stamp wasonly a label for sealing the envelopes, a n d the firm of stamp dealers wereobliged t o disgorge. My copy cost me $20, a n d I know a man who paid $50for one not much better. T h e r e is an old Spanish proverb which applies tothis case, " I f fools went not to market, bad wares would not be sold." W emust therefore, conclude that the long-listed first issue U. S. Telegraph stampis not a telegraph stamp at all. T h e list of varieties of this label, s o far a s known, is as follows : New York, black on red glazed paper 6. rr r r vellow M 61 Providence, r I " "i green " r‘ r ;ed r "r c 1 (?) " " yellow " " New Haven, " " red " " T h e City and Suburban, as it is known t o collectors of stamps, but properly, T h e New York City PL Suburb- an Printing Telegraph Co., was t h e first telegraph company to d o a purely local business. I t was organized in 1855. I t grew from the practice, origisated in 1849 by Col. R. M Hoe, of having the business office a n d factories of the same firm con-nected by a private wire. ?he company began business with a central officein a deep basement in Chambers St., near Broadway. T h r e e wires radiatedfrom there t o Chatham Sq., East Broadway a n d Pike Slip,-to a basementopposite t h e St. Nicholas Hotel,-to the Astor House a n d 2 1 Wall St. T h etariff was 10 cents for 10 words. Messages were few a n d far between a n dthe scheme was a failure. H e n r y Bentley had been general manager, con-structor, repairer, batteryman a n d cashier. T h e company having failed,h e leased the lines from the stockholders, agreeing to pay them 25 per cent.of all h e made. H e arranged for office rent free in a number of hotels a n df o r board, without charge, for an operator. O n these terms h e opened offices at the Metropolitan, New York and St. Germain hotels. H e also establishedoffices at the Broadway Post Office, near Canal St., Broadway & 17th St.,Fourth Ave. & 26th St , Crystal Palace, a n d a t two other points o n the eastside of the city. Immediately a fine business sprang up. I now quote from Reids book " T h e Telegraph in America ": " While thus carrying out his project of a City Telegraph, Bentley started a system of message depositories where messages might b e left, called for and carried by messengers to the telegraph offices. F o r this purpose he had stamps of various denominations in the form of a small shield engraved, which could be purchased a n d affixed to a dispatch when deposited. Boxes for the reception of dispatches were left with druggists and others. Messengers called at stated hours and carried them to the telegraph stations. Rut, spirited as all this was, it would not work. Wrong tariffs were paid. Illegible messages were dropped in the boxes. Answers, also, were received with imperfect addresses, which made delivery impossible. All this soon raised a storm, and claims for damages became unpleasantly frequent. U n d e r such circumstances the boxes were withdrawn, a n d the experiment has not been
In connection with these telegraphic arrangements, Bentley started t h eMadison Square Post Office, soon after known as "Bentleys Dispatch ", fort h e delivery of letters in the city a n d for deposit a t the General Post Office.T h e r e were, a t that time, n o auxiliary post offices. Letter carriers were rareand deliveries few. Letter writers had to go o r send to t h e General PostOffice to deposit their letters. Bentley offered to d o this for a cent each.T h e project was well received a n d thousands of letters were brought to himdaily. T h i s was maintained for several years with great success a n d profit.At last Bentley sold out a t a large price. I11 health also induced him t odispose of his telegraphic arrangements a n d lines to the American TelegraphCompany b y whom they were, subsequently, greatly enlarged." T h e stamps issued were of three values, r , 2 a n d gc, a n d were printedin sheets together. Just how many were in a sheet is unknown. Thelargest number ever seen together is three, the I , 2 a n d 3c, in a horizontalstrip. Probably they were printed in sheets of roo stamps and, as t h e tariffis known t o have been 10 cents for ro words, two gs a n d two 2s would answer that purpose. T h e extra cent was probably used in case the words ran over t h e ten. These stamps, for a long time, were supposed t o have been Telegraph Delivery stamps, a n d were believed to have been used b y the Western Union Telegraph Co., doing business under the name of the City & Suburban Telegraph Co., in Brooklyn; a n d it is also reported that these were checks given t o messenger boys as a fee for the delivery of telegrams in various parts of t h e City of Brooklyn, a n d that, on Saturday nights, they were cashed. Hence, so few are to be seen. T h e y may be described as follows : -Two concentric horizontal ovals, the outer being scalloped and measuring 30x20 mm. Between the two concentric circles the name, " T h e City & Suburban Telegraph "; in the center the value, " One Cent " (z cents-3 cents), with ornamental dashes ; printed on a thin white wove paper, T h e City & Suburban Telegraph Co. I C black 2C I A fairly well made counterfeit is in existence, also a poorer madecounterfeit which is printed in blue. CALIFORNIA STATE TELEGRAPHCO. If there was any portion of t h e United States which, in the early 50sfelt the need of the telegraph more than another, it was California, a n d thefirst movement to establish a line was made b y hfessrs. Oliver C. Allen andClark Burnham, of New York. In 1852, these gentlemen obtained from theLegislature of California the right t o operate a line between San Francisco,San Jose, Stockton, Sacrament0 and R t ~rysville,on condition that the lineshould be finished by Nov. I , 1853. The California Telegraph Co. wasorganized in t h e fall of 1852, but the line was never completed on account oft h e price of money, which at that time was worth from 5 to ro per cent. amonth in California. Early in 1853 another unsuccessful attempt was made.I n the meantime, however, J. E. Strong h a d obtained sufficient subscriptionsfrom the mining towns of Nevada, Grass Valley a n d tluburn to erect a wire
upon trees between these places. I t went into operation in July 1853, a n d 1was the first line of telegraph erected upon the Pacific coast. I n 1853 t h eCalifornia Telegraph Co. was re-organized a n d re-incorporated, t h e namethis time being t h e California State Telegraph Co. T h e old franchise a n dthe material of t h e old company were purchased. This new company meantbusiness. 2nd :rn:;lediately they made arrangements t o build a line of twowires to fnllom the stage line t o hlarysville via Sacramento. T h e two wireswere, on? for " u p " a n d the other for " d o w n " business. T h e duplexs y t e m v a s not then in use. T h e builders of this line h a d n o perception of thevalue of their work, as the line was built of very indifferent material. T h efi-st section was from San Francisco t o San Jose, a n d it was not then realizedthat this was the beginning of a union of t h e East and the West by means ofthe telegraph wire. T h e line was completed to Marysville b y Oct. 26, 1853.T h e tariff was high-$a for ten words between San Francisco, Stockton,Sacra.mento and Marysville, a n d $ I between San Francisco a n d San Jose.When it is remembered that San Jose is but a few miles from San Francisco, it will be understood how high this tariff was. Another line was built in California not long after, known as t h e Alta Telegraph Co. T h i s was, at first, in competition with the California State Telegraph Co. and was finally absorbed by it. I n 1856 t h e Northern Telegraph Co. was organized to construct a line between Marysville a n d Yreka. T h i s was also, after competition, absorbed b y the California State Telegraph Co. I n 1860 an agent of the Western Union Telegraph Co. arrived in San Francisco, with t h e intention of starting a movement for a telegraph line across t h e continent. A few weeks after his arrival t h e North- ern Telegraph Co. h a d been absorbed. T h e Atlantic c9r Pacific, another line which had been built in California, also came under t h e influence of the Western Union, and the Placerville & H u n ~ h o l d tTelegraph Co. was also taken into this friendly family (all by means of union with t h e California State Telegraph Co.) with a united capital of $r,a5o,ooo. I t was in 1866 that the Western Union Telegraph Co. really absorbed t h e California State Telegraph Co. by purchasing the control of its stock. I n January, 1867, t h e Western Union Co. decided to take direct control of t h e lines, a n d George H a r t Mumford, who was afterwards Vice-President a n d Secretary of the Western Union Telegraph Co., was put in charge. I t would appear, therefore, that the franks of the California State Tele- graph Co. were really issued by the Western Union Telegraph Co., as t h e Western Union was then in control of its lines. I t would also appear to b e safe to speculate upon the Western Union Telegraph franks having their origin in the telegraph franks issued b y t h e California State Telegraph Co., as we find that this company was the first t o issue a frank, which is dated " 1870." I t may be interesting, in this connection, t o state that the T r a n s - Atlantic Cable might not have been necessary, had a scheme, which was pro- posed in California in 1861, gone through. T h e scheme was ~ l o t h i n g less than to build a telegraph line from S a n Francisco along the coast to Alaska a n d Behring Strait, crossing that by a cable 39 miles long a n d sunk only to a depth of 160 feet, thence, b y Asiatic Russia (known t o us as Siberia), into Europe. I t was estimated that this line would not cost very much. Russia h a d guaranteed t o build from Moscow to the Pacific; t h e line from San F r a n - cisco to Vancouver had already been built; it lacked only 1800 miles t o Rehring Strait: A t a n estimated cost of $100 per mile, the total would only have been $180,000. T o this amount must b e added $roo,ooo.for a survey a n d other expenses.
I n examining the franks of t h e California State Tele- graph Co., we find that there are three types. T h e first was issued in 1870 and consists of a label 25x30 mm. I t is type set. I n the centre is "r870"; above this, in a curved line, i n R o m a n capitals " C A L I F O R N I A STATE TEL. CO."; below i: " F r a n k No." and dotted line; at t h e " Frpp Business stamp"; a t the bottom, in two lines, "gee, E. Mamford, Prest."; t h e whole surrounded b y a single lined rectangular frame, measuring as above stated; all printed over a background of ornamental type set diamonds. T h e control number is printed in red T h e highest control number seen is " I o r ". T h e y S of at least six stamps a n d perforated. 1870. N o value; black a n d blue on white. Second type, 1870, lithographed. T h e design consists of a central oval printed in red, a n d bearing, in colorless charac- ters, l 1870"; just above this, in a n ornamental frame, t h e word " Frank "; in two curved labels, one above a n d t h e other below, the words " Cal. State" a n d " Telegraph "; in a colorless label, below t h e lower curved label, "G. H. h4um- ford, Prest." T h e corners are occupied by ornamental scrolls. T h e design measures 22x26 mm. a n d is printed in black on wove paper, perforated. 1870. N o value, black a n d red on white, perforated. T h e third design is very similar to the second, a n d any description of it would coincide with that of t h e second type of 1870. T h e main difference is that the central oval lacks any color, and that the label above the central oval, bearing the word " F r a n k ", is of a more ornaniental design. T h e date is printed in salnlon, vertically, and across this t h e control n u m b e r ; the highest number seen being T h e years following, namely, 1872, 1873, 1874 and finally, 1875, are allsimilar, though not the same, and vary in the color of t h e impression as wellas in the color of t h e date printed in the central oval. 187 1 no value black a n d salmon on white wove, perforated 6 ll " green and red " " red a n d salmon " Cl l blue and salmon " l 6 l " brown a n d green " 1 g< I n 1875 there was also issued a form of telegraph " pass ", which, itseems, accompanied the book of stamps, if they were issued in book form.01 course, this cannot b e considered in a n y sense a frank o r a stamp. I merelyrefer to it because it has come under my notice. WESTERNU N I O N TELEGRAPH CO. rn Union Telegraph Co. had its origin in two inventions, both orse system of telegraphy. Of these two t h e more important Printing Telegraph. Ihis instrument was patented in 1846 e appeared to be t h e highest product of the human mind, as
applied to telegraphic invention. T h i s was owned b y t h e American iel-egraph Co. T h e other competitor was the Hughes instrument, also ownedby t h e American Telegraph Co., a n d upon which its business ca.reer depended.I n 1847 H u g h Downing, of Philadelphia thought that h e saw a fortune int h e House patent and bought a trifling interest in it, and in 1849 constructeda line from New York to Philadelphia, called t h e " New Jersey MagneticTelegraph Co." T h e capital was $roo,ooo. T h e line was along t h e turnpikebetween Philadelphia and Fort Lee, a n d across the Delaware, Raritan a n dNorth Rivers by the use of masts. Mr. Downing was a very industrious a n dactive man, but indiscreet and self-willed, a n d thereby lost a great deal ofbusiness. H e n r y J. Rogers was appointed superintendent, a n d the companybuilt u p a large a n d prosperous business. I n fact, it became s o prosperousthat the greatest mass of business of t h e press was taken from t h e Magnetic Telegraph Co. and given t o the House Printing Co. I n 1859, it became con- solidated with t h e American Telegraph Co. I n 1849, there was organized in t h e state of New York a line known as the " New York State Telegraph Co.". The line ran from New York to Buffalo and was to cost about $roo,ooo. O n April 1, 1851, a number of gentlemen from New York and Rochester organized the New York 81 Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Co., with a capital of $360,000. T h e route was to b e through t h e state of New York, from Buffalo t o Pennsylvania, a n d along the south side of Lake Erie, a n d thence t o St. Louis. I n April, 1854 these companies agreed to consolidate. O n April 4, 1856, a charter was granted in New York state t o the Western Union Telegraph Co., this being the name which Mr. E z r a Cornell, who was a large owner of the stocks of the corporations, insisted the new combination should bear. T h e headquarters of the Western Union Telegraph Co. were at first located a t Rochester, N. Y. Shortly afterwards it moved to New York and established itself a t 145 Broadway. It will b e unnecessary to go into its further history. I n 1871 this company began the practice of issuing franks-to its stock- holders, t o members of t h e press, to politicians who might grant it favors, to railroad officials whom it desired to own. These franks may b e described as follows : I n the center are t h e words " FRANKa n d " No." in solid let- " ters; under it in red or other colors is the surcharged control number of t h e frank, and this number usually has in front of it a serial number o r letter, all of which is in a square, the ground of which is made up of "Western Union Telegraph Co." repeated many times. Over this square is a double curved solid tablet, on which are the words "Telegraph Co." in white letters, and above this, in a solid arched tablet, " Western Union" in white letters. Directly over the word " Frank" is a white, geometric ornament. Below t h e square is a n oblong tablet containing the name of t h e president in script, and the word "President" at the base of the tablet in solid letters. T h e ground- work of t h e tablet is " Western Union" many times repeated, in a series of geometric curves in color. T h e entire engraving is o n a tablet of vertical parallel lines; at the base of the design is t h e word "Complimentary" in white letters on a solid ground. Engraved by the National Bank Note Co., a n d printed on white wove paper, perf. 12; size 2 5 x 3 0 s mm. T h e franks of 1870 were probably printed in blocks of eight, two of these blocks being enclosed in a cover bearing the title of t h e company and other information, including the conditions upon which the frank was issued. I n 1872 they were bound in covers of a smaller size, in blocks of four, a n d this form has been retained u p to the present day. T h e first four used did not bear a n y date, a n d are known only by their color.
Printed by the National Bank Note Company. 187 I , n o value, green, IVilliam Orton, Prest. 1672, I vermilion, " II 18732 " blue, II II 1874, " brown, 16 Date at sides in solid color. 1875, n o value, green, William Orton, Prest. 187G, " vermilion, " (I 1877, " mauve, (I II 1878, " bistre, II I( 1879, " blue, Norvin Green, " Printed by the American Bank Note Co.. 1880, n o value, rose, Norvin Green, lrest. II I 1881, " green, 1882, " blue, II I1 1883, " brown, h( S 1884, I violet, II II I I 1885, " green, I II 1886, " purple, "J 1887, " red brown, 1888, I blue, 1889, " olive, 1890, " purple, 1891, " brown, 1892, vermilion, 1893 3 " blue, 1894, " green, Thos. l. Eckert, " I n 1895, the design was somrlvhat changed. T h e word " Frank " int h e center is now in a more ornamental a n d shaded letter ; the word " No." a white outline Roman letter ; the lower label ceases to be ornamental t h e background, instead of being made u p of the words " Western nion " repeated, consists of ornamental figures. T h e size remains about same, but the perforation is 1 4 instead of 1 2 .
Printed by the International Bank Note Co. 1895, no value, brown, Thos. T. Eckert, Prest. " l 1896, 1897, 1898, :: purple, red, green, Id 1 1 16 6 46 1l 1899, olive, I & T h e control number was either written with a p e n , stamped with arubber h a n d stamp, o r printed on a printing press. I n the early numbers,the serial number which appears most frequently is " 0 ". I n 1875, we findA , B, C , D, E, and these appear to run through the entire series. Four curious labels have come under my notice, which a r e worthy of description, because they may ]cad to t h e unearthing of a scheme for t h e prepay- ment of telegrams. T h e y are printed on salmon colored paper and measure 28x3r mm. T h e design consists of an ordinary type set Grecian border, in- .. .. .. .. . ,, . .. . side of which is the inscription " Good f o r 5 (to. 25, 50) cents a t any W. U. Tel. Office i n this city, when countersigned b y . . . .Manager "; with blank lines for t h e name of t h e managt r. Whether these are merely essays, o r whether they were in use by someof the offices u f d e r the control of the Western Union Telegraph Co., is notknown. I shal be glad t o receive a n y information upon t h e subject. I cannot find anything about this company, except a mere statementthat such a company did exist, and that it had 27 offices, 32 employees,owned 260 miles of poles a n d 260 miles of wire ; therefore. it was a singlelrne telegraph. What other information we have on the subject appeared inFiialelic Pacts and Faliucies, some years ago. I quote it in full : 6 During a conversation with an old time collector not long since, t h esubject of Locals a n d Franks was touched upon, a n d incidentally h ementioned that somewhere in his collections h e had some stamps that h ecould find no mention of in the published catalogues. With a collectors keen instinct of something new in sight, it wassuggested they b e hunted up, which was done, and some three or four sheetsof t h e stamps illustrated herewith were the result of the search. T h e owner could give but little information, further than he had hadthem for upward of fifteen years, and they were given him b y a friend nowdead.
I lines in the State. T h e result was most salisfactory, Mr. Finn having per- sonally superintended the construction of a portion of this line about 2 0 years ago. T h e line was known when first built, as the " PRINCETON, COLUBA A N D G R A N D I S L A N D T E L E G R A P H CO.," a n d was situated in Colusa County, Calif. "t was shortly a f t e ~ w a r d I extended to Lake County, and the name changed t o COLUSA, L A K E A N D b l E N D O C l N 0 T E L E G R A P H CO.," with hfr. P. L. Washburn I as its Superintendent. Stamps were issued for the prepayment of telegrams and sold in he form of coupon books. This much by the way of history; as to the stamps L,& themselves, they are type-set a n d printed in black o n a #W/! white wove gummed paper, ro stamps in a sheet, in two horizontal rows of five each, each sheet being a page m t h e coupon book, a n d measuring 4% inches horizontally, and 2 % inches vertically, perforated rz, the outside m a r - gins not perforated, thus leaving eight stamps in each TelegraphCo sheet perforated on three sides, a n d two stamps o n two sides only, while none are perforated o n all four sides. lien sold, they w ~ r surcharged in blue with the initials of t h e super- e intendent, " P. L. ." The fact that this was a country line, with n o San Francisco terminal, probably explains why it had been overll~oked the collectors of its time. by T h i s stamp should certainly take an equal place with the well-known California State Ielegraph stamps in the estimation of all collectors." T w o values are known, the gc and ~ o c . gc black, L l l ~ e surcharge. I I O C black, " A I I E R ~ C AR x ~ * l TELEGRAPH N u CO. T h i s company was organized in February, 1879, under t h e laws of the state of New York, with a capital of $j,coo,ooo. I t was a pretentious c o m - pany. T h e y proposed, by means of a machine which they owned, to re- volutionize the telegraphy of the world. Mr. D. H. Craig had received, dur- ing the summer of 1878, permission to use the wires of the Vestern Union Telegraph Co., to test a system of auton~atictelegraphic transmission, prac- tically the same as that of Bain, which many years previously had proved a failure. M r . Craig was very sanguine, and in a manual for the telegraph, speakivg of his system, h e writes :-" Vhat the postal car is, as compared with the postal coach of fifty years ago, the new system of machine telegraph- ing is, as compared with the Rlorse or other hand key systems of the present day. Practically demonstrated results already justify the assertion that ordinary business letters can now b e telegraphed at a speed of one thousand words per minute, between any two points within five hundred miles, for less than the postal charges on half-ounce letters, carried an equal distance, forty years ago. T h e circular of the company claimed the introduction of six new features,-
18within two hours. T h i r d : Night messages, fifty words for I j cenls, mailed before 9 A . hr. F o u r t h : Press reports, 500 miles, one hundred words for ten cents. Fifth : T h e use of stamps. Sixth : Street boxes with collections, every 15 minutes." T h e circular goes o n t o show the difference in the capacity of the Morsesystem a n d the American Rapid system,-how the employment of girls, con-stituting cheap labor, would reduce the cost of telegraphing enormously; ofthe enormous power of transmission over a single wire, a n d how one thous-a n d words mill cost the company 19 cents the first year, 15 cents the secondyear, a n d , in the 13th year it would be reduced to 6% cents per thousandwords. T o o bad t h e company never lived to b e 13 J ears old ! Air. Gerrit Smith, one of t h e ablest electricians, and with whom I was, a tthat time, acquainted, greatly improved the system. Under his guidance480,000 words a day could be sent. Ihis was in 1881. I trust you willpardon me for quoting from a memorandum journal which I kept in thosedays, when I had very little to d o a n d visited everything that was worth visit-ing around New York. I find, under date of Rlay 3rd, 1881,that I visited theoffice of the American Rapid Co., where I called on Mr. Smith, the chiefengineer, who took me through t h e operating room to see the c o n ~ p a n y ssystem. Bly notes resd : " T h e messages are received from the general publica t Cortlandt St. and Eroadway, and sent through tubes, b y means of con)-pressed air, to the operating rooms on the fourth floor of the Benedict Build-ing, opposite. However, before being sent u p there they are stamped with agreen stamp. -hen the message reaches the operating room, it is put intoits proper bin, with reference to its destination, and from this it is againtaken in hand by one of the operators (mostly girls), who proceeds to makea perforation of it by means of a machine, which seems to be a com-bination of a sewing machine, punching apparatus and typewriter.T h e operators are able to perforate about 3j words per minute. T h e perforated sheet is received on a reel automatically a n d is thentaken to the transmitting table t o await its turn to b e sent to its des-tination. T h e transmitter consists of two metal disks, separated byone of vulcanite, and of two metal bands, which are attached t o aspring and, when in use, rest on these two metal disks. T h e perforation isattached to these disks, the spring lowered a n d the crank turned, a n d thetwo meta! bands make an electric circuit everytime they fali into c n e of theseholes. T h e result at the receiving end is dot,double dot o r dash, or quadrupledot or long dash. T h e perforations can be ~ransmittedat the rate of 800 wordsa minute, and can be received at theother end at the same ratr. T h e receivingmachine consists of a revolving disk a n d a marker, which is worked some-what like a Rlorse receiver. T h e operator is signalled, whereupon he turnsthe disk b y means of the crank, and the prepartd paper which is attachedto it receives the message in hIorse characters. T h e slip is given to girlswho copy it on a typewriter, a n d the operation is complete." T h e stamps called for in the circular were issued and were sold. T h e ywere printed by the American Bank Note Co. in sheets of loo, and were ofthree kinds : the first kind, labeled " Telegram " for the prepayment of mes-sages; t h e second kind, " Duplicate "; and the third kind, " Collect ". These"duplicate" a n d " collect " slamps were printed in alternate rows on thesame sheet, T h e cancellation in use was either the word " P a i d " in a rect-
etters "0 C " or some other letters, or the name of t h e receiv- licate" stamps were used in the office of the company t o ount paid, for what are known as, " repeated messages ". I tis well known that repeated messages are transmitted at a less price than t h eoriginals, a n d accounts for t h e denominations of these stamps differing some-what from those marked " Telegram ". T h e "Collect" stamps, as their name indicates, were attached to tel-egrams which had not been prepaid, a n d indicated to t h e receiver the amountwhich the company desired t o collect. T h e blanks of the company bear a tt h e right hand side the following imprint :-" Please pay n o charges on thismessage unless t h e amount is denoted hereon b y t h e Companys stamp." T h e design of the " Telegram " stamps consists of a central ornamental numeral or numerals on a background of lathe- work a n d surrounded by a twelve-scollopped circle. Above, in left corner, " A N immediately beneath it i n a n ob- l; lique label " Rapid Tel." a n d directly under " Tel.", in a curved label, the letters "Co." At the base in a n oblique label, parallel to the one above, the word " Telegram ". Printed on white, wove paper, perforated r z. rc black 3c orange gc brown ~ o lilac c I ~ emerald green C 20c red pink Z ~ C goc ultramarine T h e "collect" stamps are all of t h e same design, as t h e " Telegram " stamps except that in the lower label the word " C O L L E C T " takes the place of t h e word l Telegram ". Printed on white wove paper, perforated I 2. I c brown gc blue I gc puce brown zoc olive T h e " Duplicate" stamps are all of the same design, which $ consists of large ornamental figure or figures of value on a n involved background of lathe-work and enclosed within a n ornamental diamond-shaped frame. T h e diamond rests on a n ornamental shaded shield which contains in either upper corner the letters " A " or l K " a n d in the lor,er corners L Or "CO." ,V At the base of this shield is a label of solid ". color bearing in white letters the word " I ) U ~ ~ L I C A T E Printed on white wove paper, perforated rz. I C brown gc blue l gc p ~ brown e zoc ohve
- T h i s cbmpany was organized in 1879 a n d Inc porated Oct. 4, 1880, with a capital of $6oo,oco, wind. I n January, 1881, t h e capital was increased $IO,OOO,OOO, mostly water. A few wealthy gentletr put in some money, and a line was built u p in less t t two years, amounting to 25,000 miles, the wire connect- ing 2 2 states. Valuable contracts were effected with important railroads, and $5,ooo,ooo in bonds were offered on the market to further extend the lines. T h e n crookedness set in a n d the result was lawsuits, andeventually absorption by the Western Union Telegraph Co. T h e WesternUnion Telegraph Co., a t the time of the absorption, also absorbedAir. Jay Gould who was one of the moving spirits of t h e hlutualUnion Telegraph Co. I n 1S8z a n d 1883 t h e company issued franks for t h e use ofits stockholders, probably in books containing l o o each. T h e stampo r frank is a colored impression on white wove paper. Above, in a solidarch, framed by two white curved lines, are t h e words "hlutual U n i o n "in white capitals; below this in a solid double.curved scroll, orna-rnented above a n d below by outline scrolls, are the words "TelegraphCompany". I n the center is a n ornamental groundwork upon which appears,in white letters, t h e work "Frank", a n d below this "No." in solid letters. A teach side the date "1882" or "1883", as t h e case may he. Below,in a lozengeshaped tablet of horizontal lines, is " J o h n 0. E v a n s , Prest." in solid scriptfor 1882, and "John G. hloore, Prest." for 1883; below this in white capitals,the word " Complimentary". T h e control number is printed in blue figuresin t h e center of the stamD. below the word " NO." Engraved. Colored ;hpression o n white wove paper. Size: 25x30 mm. -Perf. 13%. 1882, n o value, blue on white (1 I< L< 16 $6 imperforat e 1883, " red o n white, perforated NORTHERN~ ~ U T U ATELEGRAPH L CO. This company did business in Oswego, N. Y. I t owned 13 offices, had 13employees, 2 0 0 miles of poles a n d zoo miles of wire. I n 1887, t h e stampswere discovered b y Mr. m. P. Brown, a stamp dealer of New York City,and he wrote to Oswego t o t h e president of the company, Mr. Joseph Owens,and in reply received the following letter :" Mr. W. P. BROWN,ESQ., D E A RSIR :--our favor regarding the Northern Mutual Telegraph Co.,received. I was the president of the company a n d t h e company did businessfor years, then sold its wires to another company and went out of business.T h e stamps you refer t o were only used a very few days, a n d very few, in-deed, were ever actually used, not probably fifty in all. I have the unsoldstamps o r hand now. I had a n idea that some d a y more remote they wouldb e of value, should t h e company resume active business. I would b e glad totreat with you for the stamps on hand, several hundred. I s r n d a set here-with as a sample. Truly, (Signed) JOSEPHOWEN."
21 This letter is now in my collection ; also, sheet No. 46 of originals. I tconsists of ten stamps of 25c, five of 20c, ten of ~ o c n d ten of jc. a Theof each value. T h u s we see that duplicates must, a t some time, have beenmade of the 2oc value. There are a number of ways of telling the originals from t h e re-prints. T h e reprints, in the first place, a r e o n a whiter paper ; t h e gum ofthe originals is whiter and thinner than that of the reprints. T h e perforationis identical in measurement, but not in character-the reprints are not per-forated in so clear a manner as the originals , the numerals of value, 7 5 ite wove paper. Perforated 1883, 5c brown IOC " PACIFIC U T U A LTELEGRAPH M CO. This company, it would appear, did business in 1883. It had 15 offices in operation, owned 475 miles of poles a n d 1,272 miles of wire. Nothing further is known of the com- pany, except that it issued stamps. None of these stamps have ever been seen in a used condition. T h e stamps are all of the same design and measure 20x25 mm. At the top, in an ornamental label, bordered on each side b y ornamental
Ll IC black " " gc l yellow surface glazed ( IOC " green " L L Z ~ C " " orange red surface glazed " T h e Postal Telegraph CO was organized under the laws of the State of New York, on J u n e 2 1 , 1881, with a capital of $ 2 r,ooo,ooo a n d a bond issueof $ ~ o , o o s , o o o of 6 per cent. bonds, t o use what was known as the Gray Harmonic system a n d the Snow wire, which involved the purchase of a largewire factory. I t was reported that it was to d o a n enormous business, but ithad only been organized a few weeks, when most of t h e wire t h e companyowned was used for " pulling" purposes. I t was openly announced a t thetime, that the company would sell out to the Government, a n d it was likewiseopenly announced that the Government would buy the company; but t h eGovernment did not buy a n d the company did not sell. T h e y did a largebusiness at first, which fell away, a n d then Mr. John W. Mackay, of Cali-fornia fame, became interested in t h e company. I t was put on a strongerbasis, re-organized under a new name, " T h e Postal Telegraph-Cable Co.",with a capital stock of $ 1 0,500,ooo. I n the summer of I 884 it absorbed t h eBaltimore & Ohio Telegraph Co. a n d the Bankers& Merchants Telegraph Co. I n 1885 the company issued a series of stamps for the prepayment oftelegrams. They are of highly ornamental design, a n d were printed b y theHamilton Bank Note Co. of New York, in sheets of I O O stamps. E a c hstamp is different, although a general description c a n be given, covering allfour values. I n the center t h e value in RomanIfigures, which appear uponeither a n oval, a shield, a quatrefoil, or a losenge; above, in ornamental lines,the name " Postal Telegraph Co.", except in t h e roc value, where t h e word"Co." appears below; a t the bottom, the value in either a straight o r a c u r v e dline, t h e corners being ornamental. Engraved. Colored impression on white wove paper. Perforated 14. Feb. 1 2 , 1885 I O C green I S C vermilion z5c blue ~ O brown C Later on, that is t o say, after January, 1891, the small remnant that wasleft of the Postal Telegraph Co. became the agent to conduct t h e business ofthe United Lines Co., which, under the leadership of E. S. Stokes a n d others,had bought the property of the defunct Bankers B Merchants Co., a n d hadabsorbed the lines of the Baltimore & Ohio Telegraph Co. when that com-pany ceased t o d o a telegraph business, owing to its financial embarrassmenta n d the unfortunate events in the life of Robert Garrett which followed.
figures indicating the date, " 1892" etc.; above which, in a curved band, " C O ~ ~ P L I I ~ I E K T A RFY A N K ". T h e R space between the name of the company and this band is filled by a ribbon in three folds, bearing the inscrip-tion " Good for one message of 2 0 words."; above, an ornamental label fort h e control number, bearing the word " No."; in another ornamental labelbelow, " A. B. Chandler, Prest." T h e y were typographed by t h e Morse Engraving Co., N. Y. T h e num- ber printed on a sheet is not known, but they were bound s made u p of blocks of four, and the color ith the year. I n 1896, the inscription following of the inner circle was.changed to read "Postal h.Cable Co." I he design remained the same. raphed o n white wove paper, perforated r z 1892, n o value, blue gray blue dark blue violet blue I 893, n o value, red (shades) 1894 " green brown green, imperforate 1895 " blue 1896 " sage green 1897 " violet brown 1898 " (?) 1 899 orange brown B A L T I ~ ~& OHIO. ~RE T h e first right of way given to a telt graph company in America, for theconstruction of a line along a railroad, was granted by the Baltimore & OhioIR. R. to Prof. Morse, under a resolution of the Board of Directors, passedApril 5, 1843, a n d the resolution is worth reproducing as a model of carefulwording : " Resolved : T h a t the president b e authorized to afford to Mr. hforse such facilitiesas may be requisite t o give his invention a proper trial upon the JVashingtonroad, Provided that, in his opinion and in that of the engineer, it can be donewithout injury to the road and without embarrassment to the operations oft h e company. A n d Irovided that hlr. hlorse will c o n c t d e to the companythe use of the telegraph upon the road without expense, a n d reserving theright to discontinue the use, if, upon experiment, it should prove in anymanner injurious." T h e passage of thline which is mention
- T h e Baltimore & Ohio R. R. granted from time t o time, tended, the privilege to various telegraph companies of maintaining ttlegraph lines along its road, and the license in each case was for "as long as it ex- isted as a telegraph company, or for thirty years." T h i s seemed a long license, but thirty years soon passed by, telegraph companies consolidated, a n d most of thern had passed under t h e control of t h e Western Unlon Tele- graph Co. At the termination of these licenses, t h e Baltimore Sr Ohio R. R. CO, refused to renew them, and ordered the telegraph companies t o remove their poles and property from its road. This, naturally, was objected to by the telegraph companies, and the courts were invoked to interfere. The. out- come of the matter was that the Baltimore S: Ohio R. K . Co. took control of the telegraph along its lines, organized t h e Baltimore k Ohio Telegraph Co., of the City of Baltimore, and 26 other telegraph companies in as many states, each one bearing the name of t h e Baltimore Sr Ohio Telegraph CO. of New York, etc., as the case might be. T h e National Telegraph Co., with a capital of $r,ooo,ooo, 949 miles of poles and 10,623 miles of wire, was built in New York State along the West Shore R. R. a n d was controlled by the B. 8 0 Telegraph Co. T h e Bankers S: Merchants and the Postal of that time were also partially controlled. A bid was made for Government business by offering to take messages of 20 words, exclusive of date, for 2 0 cents. T h e Government a d o p t t d the rates, but made n o contract. Ille President of the company was D. H Bates, who was also general manager. hlr. J. V. Rlackay and Robert Garret were prom- inent on the esecutive board. April 14. 1885 this company issued stamps in books, at $5 a n d $ 1 0 per book. T h e $5 book contained $6.25 in stamps, a n d t h e $10 book $11.25. T h e books were made u p of four values,-I, 5, 1 0 and ~ g c , - T h e stamps were at first ergraved by the American Bank Note Co. a n d later by the I<endall Bank Note Co., Hoen i Co., of Baltimore a n d Forbes & Co., Boston. ? lhe American Bank Note Co. stamps are t o b e found with and without control number. T h e design, which is the same in all four values and is also carried thrbugh t h e various issues, consists of a central Maltese cross with ornamental center a n d label bearing the letters " B. b 0 ", (his is on a solid ground, surrounded by a frame; a t the , labelare curvedthe figures ofin value;corners is na label with top beari g ornaments the 1)elom a d a central ornamental ends, bearing the word " (:ommutation ". First issue. hlade by the American Bank Note Co. April 14, 1885, perforated 1 2 , printed in blocks of 6. I c vermilion I oc brown sc blue z g c orange Second issue. Vith control number. j u n e I , 1885 to Sept. 25, r8Sj. I C vermilion roc brown gc blue 25c orange Third issue. hlade by the Kendall Bank Note Cn Same design ; control number i carmine. Perforated 14, between.
rc green I O C chocolate gc blue zgc ochre The IC green has been found on an oiled paper. Fourth issue. Made b y Kendall Bank Note Co. S ~ r n e design ; control number i ncarmine ; on thin paper. rc green r oc chocolate gc blue Z ~ C ochre Fifth issue. Lithographed by A. Hoen k Co. o l Baltimore. I n sheets of 6 ; perfor-ated I 2, between. r c green gc blue xoc brown On paper watermarked with papermakers name. roc brown Sixth Issue Lithographed by Forbes & Co. of Boston. Perforated 12%. r c green I o c brown sc blue zgc orange FRANKS. Engraved. Colored impression on white wove paper. Perforated 12. 1885, no value, brown, control number in blue 1886, " black, " " red Tn the A?rrericnn Phi/nft/ist for May, 1889,we find the following : " When the Baltimore a n d Ohio Telegraljh Co. entered Connecticut forbusiness, there was a local line in operation, whose wires ran from Hartfordto New Haven via the towns along the Connecticut River, called theConnecticut River Telegraph Co. Wit11 this Company, t h e R. a n d 0. madea con.ract by which messages were sent mutuallv over the lines as connected. I t was then suggested that as the E and 0. had commutation stamps,that the Connecticut River Co. should also issue a set, which was done, a n d theresult was two stamps of the denominations of one and five cents, black onbuff, which were sold in books of $10, and 11sed for several years. This wassometime in 1885.
After the contract above mentioned had been made a n d above stampswere issued, the Connecticut River extended its line from Hartford, throughNew Britain, Collinsville, New Hartfold a n d West IVinsted, to New Boston,hlass., a n d another set of one a n d five cent stamps were issued, using t h esame die, but changing the color of the paper to blue. These stamps couldb e used only a t t h e above-named places and intermediate points. T h e ywere put on sale in October, 18S7. When the K. and 0. was absorbed by the Western Union, t h e Connecti-c u t River contract being voided, it was at once leased t o t h e United Lines,which was in the field in Connecticut as a competitor of the Western Union,a n d the stamps then ceased to be issued ". T h e design is the same as t h e B . S: O., except that,in the upper arm of the Maltese cross, we find the word " C O N N " a n d in the lower arm of the same cross the word " R I V E K ". Lit1 ographed impression on coloted wove paper, perforated I I. r c . black on yellow sc on yellow IC " o n blue jc " on blue Rlr. Sterling mentions two varieties of this stamp surcharged " I). H.in red. I C black on orange 5c " - T h e Atlantic Telegraph Co. was organized in Portland, Me., in 188 1. I twas bought out by t h e B. & 0. Telegraph Co., and run in connection withthat company as a n eastern outlet for its business. Four values of stampswere issued, a n d there is a similarity in these stamps to those of the 13altimoreS: Ohio Telegraph Co. IVe find the same blaltese cross, which was theemblem of the Ealtimore Sz Ohio R. R. Co., and was formerly on t h t i r tugsand adveitising material. T h e stamps consist of this central Maltese cross with a ground of diagonal lines, upon which appear three ornanlental letters : " A " in the left arm of the cross, a large " T " reaching .from t h e upper into the lower arm of the cross, a r d "CO. " in the right arm. This cross is surrounded Ily a n ornamental border, which is interrupted in the middle of t h e top by a n ornamental label bearing the figure of value, and below by a label containing the word " Ct~arnluTATroN ". Printed in blocks of six a n d bound in I~ooks. T h e front cover of the book bears, in red, the design to be foundon the stamps a n d a control number. O n the last page of tlie cover wefind the followng : "A T L A N T I C TELEGRAPH CO. E o o s OF C O ~ I A I U T A TSTAIIPS. ION Instructions. T h i s book of stamps has been issued for the convenience of customersin prepaying Telegrams. For example, a telegram with sufficient stamps
affixed to cover the tolls will b e accepted for transmission in the same mannera n d on the same conditions as if the cash accompanitd such ie egram. Tolls on cablegranis a n d " this line " a n d "other line" tolls ontelegrams destined for points btyond the llnes of the Atlantic and B. &z 0.Telegraph Companirs must be paid f o r in cash. This book contains 24 one c e n t , 36 five cent, 30 ten-cent, 24 twenty-fivecent stamps, face value being $ 1 1.04, a n d can be purchased at the princil)alAtlantic Telegraph Offices for $ 1 o oo each. Stamps should be affixed to the Telegram on the upper right handcorner. J. W. DEERING, Presidmt." T h e control number is usnally printed above the upper row of stampsa n d below the lower row of stamps, in a purple ink There are cases in whicht h e control number appears in the lower instead of the upper margin of theupper row of three stamps. Lithographed o n white wove paper, perforated I 2%. I C green 5 c blue roc purple 25c carmine Lhe A7?zcricaa Philafelist f o r April, 1892, has the following : " W e have received from hlr. A. V. D u n n i n g a set of four stamps whichhave been issued by this company, whether recently or n o t , we a r e not in-formed. T h e y are oblong, measuring 44x72 mm. A t the top, in two lines,is the name of t h e company o n a background, showing the sun peeping overa range of hills with a telegraph pole i n the foreground. Below thls is : This stamp will be accepted at any office of t h e Pacific Postal TelrgraphCo. in payment for telegrams, Chas. L Hosmer, General Manager; in thelower right corner is a circle, I 1 mm. in diameter, containing the value inboth words and figures. T h e perforation gauges 12,but none of the speci-mens sent are pertorated on all sides a n d none of them o n the ends." I a m informed that they were in use in Seattle and T a c o m a , Vashing-ton Territory and I have in my collection aset, formerly the property of Mr.H . B. Phillips, of San Francisco, which are cancelled " Hadley Wash." T h econtrol number is printed in carmine in the blank space a t the left. nir.Phillips writes that they were sold in books " about in the form of mileagetickets of the R. K Cos." T h e y are perforated at the top a n d bottom only. 1,ithqgraphed imprzssion o n white wove paper, p-rforated r 2 . IOC brown i g c black 2 5 vermilion ~ 4oc light green 50c blue
I have in my .collection two sets of these stamps, one showingt h e control number printed in red, in the white label a t the left of the design ;t h e other, without control number, and cancelled with red ink marks. T h e date of issue appears not t o be known. I have been unable to find anything relating to this company. Ihecatalogues give 1894 as the date of issue; how this was arrived a t I d o notknow. T h e r e are three stamps, and the design consists of a central circle,across which runs a horizontal label bearing either the word " Commutation"o r "Complimentary "; in a curved line above this band, the words" Conlmercial Union "; below, "Telegraph CO "; a t either side " 20 words ";or, in t h e case of the Con~mutation, one side " 2 0 words " a n d on t h e onother side " 25 cents ". Lithographed by A. C. Goodwin, Albany, N. Y., and printed o n whitewove surface glazed paper, perforated 1 2 . 20 words Complimentary,_carn~ine 20 " Z~C,green 25c yellow NORTHERN E W YORK T E L ~ G R A P I I N CO. Practically nothing is known of this company, except that we have some stamps bearing t h e name, a n d that the company had 7 offices and 7 employees, 25 miles of poles and 25 miles of wire. I have not been able to find from what point to what other point these 25 miles of wires extended. SVe presume that it was in operation in 1894, as will appear from t h e inscription on the stamps. T h e design consists of an upright rectangle made u p of series of vertical and horizontal lines. Within this rectangle is a circle bearing a shaded five-pointed star. Above, intwo lines which overlap each other, " N O R T H E R N N E W Y O R K "; below, in awhite label running diagonally, the word "TELEGRAPH "; a n d beneath theright hand corner of this label, in white letters upon a shaded ground, " CO."T h e stamp occurs in two colors, one a gray green a n d the other blue. T h egray green is surcharged in Roman letters " F R A N K 1894 "; the blue one issurcharged in much larger type " ro ". T h e Continental Telegraph Co. was built in 1878, by Garret S. Motta n d James . I,. Shaw, between New York and Philadelphia, a n d upon itscompletion Mr. Mott became general manager. I d o not know that this
company issued a n y stamps. I only know that I have in my possession aseries of beautifully engraved labels, bearing the name of the ContinentalTelegraph Co., a n d they evidently were prepared f o r use, though probablynot issued. T h e y consist of a triangular design, composed of a n outer a n d innertriangle. Between the outer a n d inner triangle is a groundwork of color,covered by a lathe work desigqbroken at the left by the word "CONTINENTAL";a t t h e right by "TELEGRAPH"; below b y "COMPANY". T h e inner triangle isfilled with ornamental lathe work. In the center appears the figure of value,I , 2, 5, 20, 25 o r 50, as the case may be. Above this figure of value " Goodfor"; on either side or across the figure of value, the amount in words " o n ecent ", " two cents ", etc. ; below in a double curved label with ornamentalends, " in telegraph service ", a n d underneath this in a smaller label, " overits lines ". I C orange PC carmine 5c green zoc purple brown P ~ deep blue C 50c brown I have now named all the telegraph companies which have come underm y notice, a n d it only remains for me to say that stamps have been issued bya number of telephone companies and in each case they are in the nature offranks, rather than stamps. I shall not go into t h e matter of telephone franks.I t will be sufficient for me to mention that the American Telephone S: lel-egraph Co. issued such, in books, made u p of sheets of 25 franks each. Ihat t h e Southern N e w England Telephone Co. has issued a series in variouscolors, bearing the well-known emblem of a bell, and surrounded by a circularlabel bearing the words " G O O D FOR hlESSAGES BETWEEN A L L P O I N T S I N C O N N E C rrcuT I. Ihe New England Telephone & Telegraph Co. have is- sued a frank, somewhat in the nature of a railroad transfer, being merely a slip of paper printed with a control number in the corner, and surcharged with the year of use. T h i s latter is in the collection of Mr. Deats. I n conclusion, I wish to offer my thanks to Mr. Drats, who has kindly loaned me his collection for study a n d comparison, t o Mr. Clarence H. Eagle, for his courtesy in allowing me t o examine his seals of t h e early telegraph companies ; a n d to Mr. H. B. Phillips of San Francisco, for information concerning the Colusa, Lake & hlendocino Telegraph Co. a n d the Pacific I Postal Telegraph Co.s stamps.
R e d Machine. Blue Machine. H a n d Stamp. Manuscript. Remarks.1899 A B C D E ABCDE E Machine letter in blue after the number.19co ABCDE CDE $6 i 61 Ihe control numbers are printed on the stamps by the Bates numberingmachine o r a r e put on by means of a rubber hand stamp, in which lattercase each stamp is numbered separately, the Bates machine being a com-p o u n d machine numbering four at a time. We also find the controlnumbers in manuscript, in black o r red ink. T h e r e has been some speculation among collectors as to the meaning ofthe various letters in the control numbers. Some collectors have thoughtthat t h e letter preceding the number had reference to some particular classof persons using t h e frank, such as, officials of a company, railroad corpora-tions in exchange for passes, etc., etc. T h e f r ~ n k are issued for the use of sofficials, railroad presidents, merchants and friends, a n d are available forsocial co.respondence only ; in no case are they allowed to prepay eithercommercial, political, news, or railroad business; a n d they cnly prepaymessages t o the extent of twenty words, exclusive of the address and signature,a n extra frank stamp being used for every extra twenty words or part thereof. T h e books as issued are stamptd by the Bates machine ; reissues arenumbered by the rubber hand stamp o r in manuscript. T h e letters in frontof the numbers have n o other meaning than series initials. I t will b e noticed that the franks of I 87 I , I 872, I 873 a n d 1874 are onlyin machine numbering a n d only with the letter " 0" preceding the number; in1875 we find first t h e series letters ; t h e 1881 franks come with the manuscriptcontrol number, in black a n d also in red ink ; the 1890 franks of the seriesB a n d C are found with machine surcharge in black, as well as in red ;the 1893 franks are found with both black and red handstsmped surcharges ;the 1898 are also found with two different hand>taniped surcharges, the onered and the other violet. I n general, the handstamped surcharges have beendone with what is known as violet ink. T h i s ink deteriorates rapidly,a n d we therefore find the surcharges varying from bluish violet to nlnlost ablack. I t will be noticed in looking over the list that certain letters are missing.It is reasonable to suppose that many of these exist, a n d may possibly b e i ncollections to which 1 have r.ot had access. T h e chances are th ~t the I S ~ G ,with machine surcharge in blue U exists ; also, I 877, lnarhine A ; I 878,machine A ; 1879, machine A ; 1880, A and B ; 13x1. A ; 1882,hand stalul)A ; 1895, machine .4 ; 1900, machine in blue A and B W h e n mentioning t h e "Duplicate " stamps of this colnpal y, I $tat( dthat they were used to indicate the amonnt paid for repeated Inessnges. Ithas always been my impression, based upon statemcr,ts to that effect. thatthis was the object of the stamps. I n looking over " A Catalogue of Iel-egraph Stanips, Stamped Forms, etc.", published in the Phihzfclic icccorri in1889, I find a note a t the foot of page 50 as follows : " These " Duplicate " stamps form a part of the s t a n ~ p s for unpaidtelegrams, above described, a n d are printed attaci-fed to them T h e "Col-l e c t " stamp is affixed to the despatch, and the " Duplicate" retained by t h ecompany as a voucher."
P A C ~ F I M U T U A LT E L E G R A P H C CO. I n the books which I have seen, strange to say, t h e slate a n d black rcstamps are both to be found, showing that they are simply differences in theamount of ink used in printing. On the inside of the front cover we find the following printed : P A C I F I C h I U T U A L T E L E G R A P H CO. Boos OF CO~~IAIUTATION STAMPS. T h i s Book Contains Stamps of Various Denomina- tions to the Amount of $ro.oo Stamps Should be Affixed to the Tclegram on the Upper Right I I a n d Corner.
l l l l l l llillllllill l l llllI IlI I lll3 SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION LIBRARIES 5 9088 00033 121