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28 September 2010
AT&T Long distance network, Sept 1898
This item, a 1898 map of AT&T's long distance network, is interesting. This dates from the days before vacuum tubes, so there were no active repeaters in the network. Since Pupin did not receive his patent on "loading coils" until 1890, it is likely that there were relatively few of these in the network when the map was drawn. In addition, local exchange competition, which began in 1893, would have been in full swing, and one of AT&T's strategies was to leverage the network effects due to its growing long distance network. Indeed, such a map would have been valuable in marketing the benefits of AT&T's affiliates in competitive local markets.