American Telephone and Telegraph Company
The company was stablished in
1874 under the name Bell Patent Association, to protect the patent rights
of Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone system. After the
initial verbal agreement, it was formalized a year later as
Bell Telephone Company. On 3 March 1885, a separate company named
American Telephone and Telegraph Company was incorporated, to set up the
first commercially viable nation-wide long-distance telephone network
in the world.
AT&T equipment on this website:
After the assets of American Bell were transferred to its subsidary AT&T
in 1899, AT&T became the parent of both American Bell and the Bell System,
a system of companies that provided telephone services in America and Canada
In the following years, AT&T began buying up many of the smaller telephone
companies, such as Western Union Telegraph.
For most of the 20th century, AT&T enjoyed a monopoly on phone services in
the US, putting them under the spotlights and scrutiny of a number of
antitrust regulators in the United States.
At one time, AT&T was the largest telephone company in the world.
Finally, in 1984, after a series of investigations
into AT&T breaking anti-trust laws and misusing their monopoly,
the company was broken up into seven so-called Baby Bells:
Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, Bell South,
NYNEX, Pacific Telesis, Southwestern Bell
and US West .
Bell Atlantic was eventually renamed to Verizon Communications and
acquired GTE in 2000. NYNEX was acquired by Bell Atlantic and became
Verizon as well. Southwestern Bell, later renamed to SBC,
acquired AT&T Corporation in 2005 and renamed itself to AT&T Inc.
Over the years it also acquired some of the other Baby Bells: Ameritech,
Bellsouth and Pacific Telesis.
In 1987, the AT&T Technologies business unit of AT&T Corporation
was appointed by the US National Security Agency (NSA)
as one of the three manufacturers of the
STU-III, a secure telephone unit that
allowed voice conversations at all levels of confidentiality, including
TOP SECRET. On 30 September 1996, AT&T Technologies was demerged as
Lucent Technologies which was acquired by General Dynamics a year later
on 1 October 1997. The successive owners continued to produce and support
their STU-III until the product was
succeeded by STE in 2009.
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 17 March 2013. Last changed: Wednesday, 30 November 2016 - 10:56 CET.