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Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 18:47:00 -0800 (PST)
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 15:17:24 -0500
From: David Morton
Dead medium: The "other" Telegraphone
Source(s): "Sound Waves" [internal newsletter], November 1906, p 2. AT&T Corporate Collection, box 1362.

The "other" telegraphone--a combination telegraph/telephone from the turn of the 20th century.

Poulsen's well-known telegraphone is widely known as the first commercial magnetic recording device. There was, however, another product called the telegraphone introduced about the same time, and also sold in the U.S. by a firm called the American Telegraphone Company. The following passages are quoted from microfilmed documents located in the AT&T Bell Laboratories archive at Warren, New Jersey.

"There has been much written about the use of the telephone by railroads for assisting them in their dispatching business. This use of the telephone has already been made by several railroad companies and only reason why the telephone has not become more popular is because there have been great drawbacks to its use in connection with the telegraph lines.. There has been a considerable advance along that line recently and now portable telegraphones are on the market, by means of which it is possible to talk over several hundred miles of telegraph line without any trouble. the name telegraphone may be confused with the other instrument of the same name that was described in this magazine a short time age, but it is entirely different and it merely means an instrument by means of which it is possible to talk over a telegraph line at the same time that message are being sent without confusion.

Such instruments have been used on the Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio railway for some time, and Mr. Percy Hewett, Superintendent of the Telegraph of that company, states that they are giving good service. He writes as follows:

'We have equipped our line between San Antonio and Del Rio, with a branch from Spofford Junction to Eagle Pass. The wire on the branch is No. 8 iron. The telegraphone at Spofford is bridged between the two wires. We have equipped all of our cabooses with the instrument. For purposes of communication we use our duplex wire, which is a 210 pound copper. These instruments are giving first class service and are the means of saving serious delays in freights caught at blind sidings, or in case an inferior train reaches a meeting point with a superior train where the superior train has been for some reason delayed. After waiting a few minutes the conductor attaches his telegraphone by using a connecting pole, and calls up the dispatcher, states what train he has, and asks in regard to the train which he was instructed to meet.. . .'"

Submitted by David Morton

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