Strength of the B & O Telegraph

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Electrician & Electrical Engineer

New York, NY, United States
vol. 6, p. 165, col. 1-2



The New York Herald, March 16th, prints the following interview with Mr. Bates, on the part of its Baltimore correspondent: "President D. H. Bates, of the Baltimore and Ohio Telegraph Co., spent the morning at the central building attending to regular routine business. Just before he left for New York city your representative had a talk with him.

"Are the New York stories true that the Baltimore and Ohio Telegraph Co. is a losing concern?" asked your representative.

"No," he replied.

"How large a business are you doing?"

"We are doing a very heavy business and are making constant additions and extensions to our system. The statement that we are falling behind and have lost a great many thousands of dollars per month have been persistently put forth by the Western Union officials, who could only guess at such things without having any actual knowledge. Their guess is wholly wrong. Since 1884 our mileage has increased three-fold, our revenue four-and-a-half-fold and our traffic nearly seven-fold. We are to-day handling a larger gross traffic than that handled by the Western Union in 1869, but at that time the mileage of the Western Union was double what ours now is, and it then cost them three times as much to perform the same service as it now costs us.




"Within the past three years, during which our company has been most active, the net revenue of our chief competitor has fallen $6,000,000, compared with the three years immediately preceding, while, on the other hand, it has expended during the first named period for additional wires and plant nearly as much as the whole cost of the Baltimore and Ohio telegraph system beyond the line of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and the fixed charges of our rival have enormously increased, reaching now the fabulous total of about $60,000,000, calculated at five and a half per cent, per annum. The Baltimore and Ohio Telegraph Co. is greater in mileage than both the Atlantic and Pacific and the American Union Telegraph companies together, which were sold to the Western Union company six years ago for $23,240,000, although they never paid their working expenses. It is twice as great as these companies were in volume of traffic and far more efficient for work.




"On the other hand the Baltimore and Ohio Telegraph Co. last year paid over to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Co. a large sum as clear profit on the fiscal year's operations, besides paying for all the batteries, instruments and supplies used by the Baltimore and Ohio railroad for its train service. The youngest offspring of the oldest railroad corporation in the United States, with no fixed charges, and with what I believe to be the best service and most capable staff in the world, can, therefore, be considered as solid and substantial enough to stand alone."


Keywords:Baltimore and Ohio Telegraph Company
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:January 20, 2011 by: Bob Stahr;