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of the corporations, the saving by Government management would be not less than $4,000,000, and other economies would considerably increase that sum, without change in the methods.

Prof. Frank Parsons said, in 1896, concerning this subject: "If improved methods, well known to the electrical world, were adopted in the postal telegraph, the saving would be far greater-so great, indeed, that there seems every reason to believe a uniform rate of 5 cents a message would yield a substantial profit."

As to the second question, pertaining to the attitude of the existing monopoly toward this system, or toward any new system, I wish to quote a few pertinent words from Mr. Delany himself, which are to be found in Senate Document No. 291, Fifty-fourth Congress, first session: "So anxious have the telegraph owners been to perpetuate the condition of the early days-the golden span from 1858 to 1870when a $500,000 plant grew to one of $20,000,000, every innovation calculated to upset or interfere with this comfortable situation has been unwelcome. Every step in advance has been viewed as an encroachment on an exclusive domain, and each great improvement has been obliged to knock loud and long for recognition. It is significant that none of the improved methods of telegraphy now in use originated within the controlling telegraph organization, all having come to it by purchase of competing lines or from individuals outside. The well-known Page patent was the work of an examiner in the Patent Office. Stearns was connected with the municipal telegraph of Boston when he brought out his duplex system, and it required 2 or 3 years' effective work by a competing line to gain a foothold for it. Edison's quadruplex system was an outside creation. The telephone was a foundling left on the doorstep of the leading telegraph company, but was not adopted and was recognized only after it had grown into great promise."

With proper regard to the future and a disposition to maintain an up-to-date installation, a part of the large earnings would have been invested in improvements, and rates should have been reduced. But what has been the policy throughout? The fatal, ruinous policy not to meet competition, but to buy it up. A dependence upon the purchasing power of wealth to prevent changes or the use of new methods, to antagonize improvements, and to suppress inventions. It has been a battle of money against the pervading spirit and the irresistible tendencies of the age, and it will meet its Waterloo whenever improvements in either methods or means come into the field. It needs not even the Delany system to ruin the telegraph monopoly; it needs no new devices; nothing but the same old system that the companies are using still, supplemented with one-fifth of the money represented by their outstanding securities, and a liberal and wise business policy. But it is not competition that we are striving for; it is the best and cheapest system for the people.

One of the worst features of the present monopoly is the utter disregard of the welfare of faithful employees. Their condition is as bad as it can be, for the wages are insufficient for comfortable living. If the truth were all told, there would be popular indignation. Yet the employees are powerless to better their condition. Probably the average operator should receive about double the wages paid by the Western Union Company.

Leaving out of consideration the possible economies which might be effected by Government administration with the older methods, let us suppose the telegraph to be brought into universal use through the greatest possible cheapening of rates. Whether this result is attained through Government ownership and the operation of the telegraph in conjunction with the post-office or by its adoption by a private corporation working for profits, does not materially affect the point at issue. In either case there will be at least 90 per cent reduction in charges.

While personally favoring Government ownership and disposed to actively further. it so long as there is any prospect of success, I am also convinced that it is possible to make the telegraph a public utility in private hands. The proposed reduction in rates of 90 per cent are based upon the Delany system under private management. By no other system would such a large reduction be profitable to the owners. It is proposed to establish a rate of 15 cents for 50 words and 30 cents for 100 words between New York and Chicago. It is proposed to do away with the 10-word messages and substitute letter-telegrams-letters carried by wire instead of by train.

Comparatively few men are able to immediately grasp the idea and follow it confidently to the inevitable conclusion. It requires time and thought and familiarity before the transmission of letters of 50 or 100 words from New York to Chicago or San Francisco presents itself to the mind as commercially possible or even to be desired. Any radical departure from old methods requires time to permeate the average brain cells and ganglia and bring forth definite or logical conclusions. The man of wealth does not at first recognize its possibilities for gain; the people will not conceive the reality of it until they have experienced it, learned its advantages, the saving in time, the completeness of knowledge as contrasted with the suspense, uncertainties, even anxieties of the ambiguous short telegrams, short because every additional word costs. Such letter-telegrams will be something new under the


No man can estimate what they will lead to in number; in bringing people nearer together in time and social intercourse, and in the distribution of news for the press.

Likewise our forefathers could not foresee the wonderful growth of correspondence which we now enjoy because of cheap and rapid mails. The postboy, pony post with relays, packet boat, train, telegraph, pneumatic tube, telephone, represent successive stages with a premium subsidy for speed, reaching an anticlimax in the 10 cent stamp to hasten the delivery of a letter by a few minutes which may have been many hours on the way. But even now the telegraph is too slow, because it can be speeded up.

The conviction that the telegraph should belong to the people, that cheap communication is one of the greatest blessings to a nation, should be strong enough with all to eliminate selfish considerations. But as I look forward I see the signs of a new private monoply in the air, the basis of which is the Delany system. At present I believe it is possible to direct the system into Government control; but if this is to be done, there must be no delay in Congress. If the system gets into the control of those who are more interested in the profits of an investment in stocks than in the needs of the people, the Government will not be able to secure it without a much larger expenditure and probably a delay of several years.

This is not a matter which admits of any lobbying. Fair, open, and direct dealing, I am assured, will characterize all negotiations on behalf of the owners of this system. If it is true, as has been intimated to me, that a fund of $1,000,000 was at one time provided to defeat legislation in favor of Government ownership of the telegraph, the same conditions may have to be met again, and they can best be met by giving the utmost possible publicity to every detail of the negotiations.

I wish now to make one further suggestion in the direction of radical departures from old methods. If we have something which promises to effect material changes in social or business methods, it is well to prepare for them in advance. Now, these cheap letter-telegrams are sure to enormously increase the bulk of the telegraph business. While messages will be much longer, they will also be in vastly greater number. And if the system is introduced by a private corporation, its operations will profoundly affect the post-office business. This is a matter which deserves very critical examination.

The primary function of a telegraph company is the transmission of communications over its wires. The practical development of the business, however, has involved the immediate delivery of messages by special messengers. Obviously, if the company could be relieved of the special-delivery obligation, it would be greatly to its advantage, and the public service could be made much cheaper.

With the larger development of the telegraph business-larger, it should be understood, than anything the world has seen-which will result from the new system, the special delivery of such a great volume of correspondence in large cities would require an organization rivaling in extent the post-office carrier service and practically duplicating it. Letter carriers make regular rounds, but if messages required to be sent out singly, as they arrive, it would add very much to the complications and expenses of the telegraph administration.

The argument that the telegraph companies do now deliver all messages does not affect the point of this discussion. Service can always be rendered if people are willing to pay for it. All telegrams handled by the companies now are urgent, although not so regarded by the companies, and delivery by messenger is obligatory.

By far the greater number of letter-telegrams will be of a nature that will not. require immediate delivery. It is therefore proposed to have them delivered by the post-office. If ordinary letter-telegrams are handed in at New York and posted in the Chicago post-office 20 minutes later, for delivery in that city, they will reach their destinations soon enough. Patrons who wish to do so, can have lock boxes at the telegraph office, in which their dispatches will be placed as they arrive.

This post office delivery does not conform to the conventional idea of telegraphic correspondence. We are accustomed to have telegrams sent to our offices and homes, and the idea of receiving them by mail seems at first glance a backward step. But in truth it is not, for what time is lost in delivery is largely made up in getting the messages quickly through to the cities of their destination. The new system will lead to the delivery of messages through the post-office almost if not quite as promptly as they are now delivered by the Western Union Company. I do not wish to exaggerate in this regard. The local post deliveries are often slow and far apart, but as the demand for this service increases there will be material improvements all around.

Nevertheless, a certain proportion of letter-telegrams will require immediate delivery, and for this purpose responsible, uniformed men, not boys, should be the carriers. For this service a special charge should be made.

My contention is that the less urgent business should not be taxed to pay for this special service rendered to a comparatively few correspondents.. Good business policy requires special pay for special service and minimum charges for ordinary service.

The routine of business will be, in a general way, as follows: In every city there will be a central transmitting and receiving office, and there may be a number of branches similarly equipped, but we will consider only the central office. Connected there with by ordinary wires will be small local offices where letter-telegrams can be handed in, but from which deliveries will not, until after later developments, be made. At each of these local offices a telegraph operator will have a Morse key which operates a tape-punching apparatus at the central office. If the Government owned the system, all this would be arranged in connection with the postal stations.

At the central office the punched tapes are immediately run through the line transmitters, at a speed of 500 to 1,000 words a minute, or faster for short distances. With such rapid transmission, there must be an immense amount of business before there can be a moment's delay in sending off a message. For example, a single instrument, on one wire, will do all the business that can be provided by 50 men constantly working Morse keys. It will require a very large development from the present business before 50 Morse operators will be kept continuously at work sending messages to any one city. If such a result should be realized, between such important cities as New York and Chicago, the immediate running of another wire would be advisable. That may happen after a while. When a wire is worked to anything like its carrying capacity by this system, it will be earning so much money that, under Government control, there will be either a large profit or a reduction of the 15-cent rate to 10 or even 5 cents for 50 words.

Now we will follow the message to its destination. At the distant city it is recorded in Morse characters on a tape. In the ordinary course it will be written out on a typewriter, inclosed in an envelope, stamped and addressed, and deposited in the post-office.

The system involves important details in the convenient and systematic manipulation of the tapes, and the method of distribution of messages to distant parts of the city, which need not be dealt with here.

An important feature of the system is that it affords absolute secrecy for all correspondence, whenever this is desired. For Government business, as well as for some private correspondence, this is worthy of consideration. The only way to insure secrecy is to prevent any employee of the telegraph company from knowing the words of the communication. The tapes may be punched by confidential clerks in private offices. Whenever such confidential business has to be transacted, suitable apparatus for this purpose can be leased from the telegraph company. There are several ways of punching the tapes, and employees can quickly learn to do the work. Such tapes will be rolled in compact coils, in the usual way, and carried to the transmitting office, where, in the presence of the messenger, they are run through the machine, automatically coiled up as before, and handed back. Not a word of the message can be read.

At the receiving station the tapes are also automatically coiled as they come from the machine. When a message of this secret character is received, the tape must be sent to the address without uncoiling. Any person can soon learn to translate the Morse characters on the tape.

Now, in regard to the policy to be pursued by the Government in securing a postal telegraph, it seems to me, in the light of facts herein presented, that the purchase of the properties or securities of the existing telegraph corporations would be highly inexpedient. If the entire plant of the Western Union Company could be reproduced for $25,000,000, or less, as is confidently declared by persons who know about such things, the people of the country should not be called upon to pay a hundred mi..ons for it merely to protect investments. It is easy to predict ruin to the business of that great monopoly when confronted with a competitor too strong to be bought up. And if the purpose of such competition should be the ruin of the existing companies, it could succeed in its aim. But industrial disturbances and revolutions, predicted by enthusiastic advocates of new systems, seldom bring sudden disaster to established business. Usually there is time for a natural readjustment to meet the changed conditions. The canal boat still competes with railway traffic. Doubtless the present telegraph companies will continue in fairly profitable business, parallel with the Delany system, although to do so they must adopt a more liberal and enlightened policy than in the past. They will lose all the general telegraph business, but this, which should have been their main source of revenue, they have made no effort to develop. Indeed, they have systematically restricted it to the public necessities by excessive charges. They will also lose the press business. But there is enough of other business remaining which would seem to be undesirable for the Government to undertake.

Doubtless the simplest course for the Government to pursue in the introduction of this system would be to enter into an agreement with the owners whereby the latter shall construct the first line-between Washington and New York, for example-with complete equipment, and operate it for 6 months or a year, for their own

profit, at 10 and 15 cent rates for 50 and 100 word messages. If, at the end of the time, it has been shown that the working is satisfactory, as provided in the specifications, the Government is then obligated to take over the line, paying an advance of 10 per cent on the construction cost. It would be well to have a Government engineer in some way associated with the construction.

It may be asked, What evidence can be adduced that the Delany system can practically accomplish the results claimed for it? If the evidence were not beyond question there would be a weak point in my whole argument. But there is no such weakness. Nothing has been asserted that does not rest upon indisputable facts of experience, which are capable of demonstration at any moment. At a meeting of the Franklin Institute, at Philadelphia, November 20, 1895, the Delany system in its first practicable form was shown and later received the Elliott Cresson medal. The following quotation is from the journal of that date: "At this point Mr. Delany made several experimental transmissions through an artificial line. fectly legible records were obtained at a speed of 1,200, 1,800, and finally to 2,400 words per minute, as timed by Mr. Thomas Shaw, M. E., and others.-The Secretary." The apparatus has been operated at a speed of 8,000 words per minute, but this has no commercial significance.


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Finally, gentlemen, if there is any solid basis for industrial innovations, if there is any sound, safe, and sure foundation upon which we can rely in these days, either for the encouragement of an industrial enterprise or the investment of our precious money in it, that must be in the profound and accurate knowledge of men thoroughly grounded in the knowledge and methods of physical science.

It is upon such high authority that I have ventured to thus boldly and confidently advocate the Delany system before you, and I think the Government of this progressive people should be quick to recognize its merits and utilize them for the public good.





B. H. MEYER, Ph. D.


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