Telegraph Extension

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Telegrapher

New York, NY, United States
vol. 8, no. 10, p. 76, col. 1-2

Telegraphic Extension.


THERE appears to be for a time a pause in the telegraphic extension which has progressed quite rapidly in this country during the last three or four years. The only trunk lines now in progress are those of the Southern and Atlantic Company, which have been completed to Charleston, S. C., and Savannah, Ga., and which are to be continued to New Orleans; the Pacific and Atlantic Company's line, which at last accounts had nearly reached New Orleans by the river route, and which seems to have stuck there for the last sixty days; and the line of the Great Western Company, whose completion to Kansas City, Mo., was announced in THE TELEGRAPHER of Oct. 7th, and which is to be continued to St. Louis, Mo. The latter company is using the compound telegraph wire, of which a thousand miles were ordered by it early in the season, and has been furnished as rapidly as it could be put up. If improved insulation had also been substituted for the glass used, the Great Western Company, with a proper construction of its lines, would be in a condition to show batter results than telegraph enterprises generally do.

Before proceeding much further with telegraphic enterprises there is a very proper disposition manifested to take an account of stock, and consider as to whether it is worth while to keep on in a course which has invariably resulted disastrously. That a radical reform is necessary to ensure success has become evident to even the most obtuse. It is equally evident that, for some reason, the sanguine anticipations and programmes of promoters of telegraph enterprises are never realized, and this has at last destroyed confidence on the part of capitalists in the basis upon which the calculations presented to them are made. It is the easiest thing in the world to figure out what the expenses and income of a telegraph line should be; it would seem to be the very reverse of this to confine the one to anything near the estimate or to bring the other to more than a mod-crate percentage of it. The consequences are seen in the ruin of telegraph companies, the loss of the capital actually invested, and the creation of a lot of badly constructed and inferior lines, which are a torment to all who have anything to do with them. Until the question of how these results may be avoided is fairly solved, it is but the part of ordinary wisdom and prudence to suspend operations as far as may be. This is substantially the condition of the telegraph in this country at the present time.

The solution of the problem is not a difficult one, but as it necessitates an entire reform in the present systems of construction and. equipment of lines, it may be a work of some little time to secure its practical realization. What is needed, and what must be secured, is increased conductivity, better insulation and greater capacity of instruments. With these telegraph enterprises may be made remunerative, and telegraphy become "prompt, accurate and reliable."

That these will be had sooner or later there is no question. The company that shall first secure them will succeed beyond a peradventure. It will be a pleasure to work such lines and instruments, and not an occasion of regret to own its stock or to be known in its management. The interests of the telegraphic fraternity as well as the public demand that these reforms should be effected. They suffer from the defects and short comings of telegraph construction, equipment and management, and are taxed by them. In their interest, then, if in no other, shall we continue our efforts to secure this reform. Like all reforms it will no doubt move slowly at first, but it needs only a practical demonstration of what such a line can accomplish to render impossible any further establishment of lines which lack every element of success, practical or pecuniary. We believe that such a line will be constructed within a year, and that it will be honestly built and managed. Of its pecuniary success there can be no doubt, or that it will be the harbinger of a new era to telegraphic construction and management.


Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:January 7, 2006 by: Elton Gish;