The growth of long-distance telephony in the Bell System: 1875-1907

John V. Langdale*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The growth of the long-distance network in the Bell System is evaluated in relation to the state of competition within the industry and technical advances in long-distance telephony. The Bell System had a monopoly over the industry from 1875 to 1894, because of its control of the fundamental patents covering telephony. During this period the Bell System's long-distance network was expanded to cover the industrial heartland of the country. Despite a rapid growth in the number of independent telephone companies in the period of competition from 1895 to 1907, the Bell System emerged by 1907 in a dominant position within the industry. This dominance stemmed, in part, from the system-wide interconnections which the Bell System provided through its long-distance network. Technical advances and the continued expansion of the network gave the Bell System a major advantage over the competing independent companies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-159
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1978


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