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progress made in the methods of electrical com- companies are known throughout the world. munication within the past year, and thereby But their contention is that the companies hold bringing to view a state of affairs which renders out little or no inducement for improvement. the old objections to postal telegraphy illogical I merely want to show that private corporations and baseless.
are no more generous with incentives to their It is a curious fact that while great improve- employes in the field of invention than are naments have been made in telegraphy, and not- tional administrations. withstanding that telephony has come and cov- One of the main points made by the oppoered the earth with its wires within the past nents of telegraphy by the government is that twenty years, the arguments put forward against the British postoffice telegraphs do not pay. postal telegraphy have not changed in the slight. This is a misleading and truth-impoverished est degree. Soanxious have the telegraph own- statement. It is well understood in England ers been to perpetuate the condition of the early that the telegraph branch of the postoffice has days—the golden span from 1858 to 1870—when not a distinct financial head, and that the posta half-million-dollar plant grew to one of twenty office accounting bureau arranges disbursement millions, every innovation calculated to upset and expense items from a standpoint not in acor interfere with this comfortable situation has cord with the ideas prevailing among the heads been unwelcome. Every step in advance has of the telegraph service, and that if the telebeen viewed as an encroachment on an exclusive graph branch kept its own books the yearly exdomain, and each great improvement has been hibit would show a handsome profit. As it is, obliged to knock loud and long for recognition. the telegraph department shows a good margin It is significant that none of the improved meth- of earnings over operating expenses every year, ods of telegraphy now in use originated within amounting to nearly ten million dollars since the controlling telegraph organization, all hav- 1870, but the interest on the capital at which ing come to it by purchase of competing lines the lines were taken over by the government in or from individuals outside. The well-known that year brings the telegraph receipts below Page patent was the work of an examiner in the the balance mark. Every one at all familiar patent office. Stearns was connected with the with the terms of the purchase of the corporamunicipal telegraph of Boston when he brought tion lines by the government appreciates the out his duplex system, and it required two or fact that the price paid was enormously in exthree years' effective work by a competing line cess of their cost, and that the energetic manto gain a foothold for it. Edison's quadruplex agement, which has given the British public the system was an outside creation. The telephone best telegraph service in the world, has been was a foundling left on the doorstep of the lead- handicapped from the beginning by this overing telegraph company, but was not adopted, valuation. Even this load the telegraph deand was recognized only after it had grown into partment could have carried easily but for other great promise. I refer to these matters because heavy burdens. According to the report of the the opponents of government telegraphy have postmaster-general for the year ending March, invariably advanced the argument that govern- 1895, 66,189,000 messages, averaging fifteen ment control would discourage invention and words each, were transmitted at an average cost improvement in systems. If the policy of other of fifteen cents, and, in addition, there were countries is a fair criterion, this fear has no foun- transmitted 5,400,000 press dispatches, averagdation.
ing 120 words each, at a cost of nine cents, or The British postoffice, the most ably managed nearly fourteen words for a cent. Nor is this concern in the world, has in its telegraph depart- all. There were 1,600,000 railway messages, ment encouraged invention at home and abroad. averaging twenty-five words in length and repreWith the exception of its own Wheatstone sys- senting twenty-five cents in value, transmitted tem, all the great improvements used are im- free. portations. The Hughes printing system, the Now as the deficit for this year, including inStearns duplex, the Edison quadruplex, the tel- terest account, amounted to a little over two ephone, and the multiplex (Delany's) system and a half million dollars, it will be evident were all American creations in their practicality, that had the free messages been paid for at and every one of them is doing excellent work regular rates, and press dispatches paid for at a for the British postoffice today. Every country in rate bearing the same proportion to the regular Europe is using foreign systems to a great extent. rate that such dispatches are charged for in this In this reference I have not the slightest intention country, the British telegraphs would show a of aspersing the ability or ingenuity of our tel- good balance of profit. The low press rates and egraph electricians. The ability and cleverness free telegrams for railways were conditions of displayed in the refinement and practical adap- the sale of the private lines to the government. tation of everything officially recognized by the It should be borne in mind also that until now
the British telegraphs have not participated in the enormous telephone receipts, as is the case in this country.
No better evidence of the efficiency of the telegraph in England could be had than the fact that in the face of telephone competition the number of messages transmitted has increased at an extraordinary rate. In the city of London, even the telegraph business has grown in spite of the telephone, while in this country local telegraphy in cities has almost disappeared. Since the adoption of the six-penny rate in 1885, the telegraph traffic in England has increased from 28,000,000 to 72,000,000 messages annually.
In 1870, when the government took control, the business amounted to but 7,000,000 messages, an increase of more than tenfold in twenty-six years, while the rates have been reduced from a maximum of about four shillings to a uniform rate of six pence.
Another very important consideration in connection with this deficit of the British telegraph department, and one which is carefully avoided by opponents of postal telegraphy in this country, is that the pay of the British operators has been raised. I quote from the report of the then postmaster-general for 1895:
“The proportion of the amount expended on salaries and wages to the total telegraph expenditures, which in 1881, before the revision carried out by Mr. Fawcett, stood at 55 per cent., has since risen, as a result of that revision and the revision effected by Mr. Raikes in 1890, to about 65 per cent."
Now, let us look at salaries of operators in this country. Have they been increased ? Quite the contrary. There are no recent figures accessible to the public; but I think it safe to estimate that while the British operator has had two increases of pay since 1891, his American brother has had four reductions, and that today the British operator is better paid for the same amount of work and by his environment occupies a higher plane of comfort and contentment than the American operator. Good behavior and diligence in his duties warrant him a life position, from which the whim or caprice of none can drive him. He is not an itinerant, wandering from place to place looking for work, and hired for a day or week, to be again set adrift, nor is he permitted to work over-time, to the detriment of his own health and the exclusion of another wage-earner from his share. His increasing years of service are taken into account in various beneficial ways. He has his yearly vacation. He is not cut off in sickness, and, most important of all, he is not "turned down” in old age, but is retired on a pension proportioned to his years of service.
I can not conceive of a stronger incentive to
a government system of telegraphy in this country than the example of thorough efficiency and success presented by the British postoffice.
But, Mr. Chairman, no telegraph operated by the government in any country is conducted with a view of pecuniary profit. The aim is to spend all surplus earnings in improvements and extensions, and if none are necessary, then a surplus is prevented by a reduction of charges. This intention is plainly set forth in an historical outline of the telegraph by the British postmaster-general last year, in these words:
“The mainspring of the movement which led to the acquisition of the telegraphs by the state was the public expectation that the postoffice would be able to provide for the benefit of the nation as a whole an improved service, at a rate which would bring it within the reach of all classes of the community, and the postoffice can justly claim that this expectation has been fulfilled."
Mr. Chairman, no one acquainted with the executive officers and heads of departments of telegraphs in this country can charge them with incompetency or lack of clear vision. They are experienced and able officials, familiar with all the details of their business. It is therefore strange that the wealthy few who control and dictate the policy to be pursued have not deferred more to the opinions of these managers, and been satisfied with a slower inflation of their shareholdings. The ability to so manage a vast concern as to earn dividends on a capitalization at least double what it should be, and this in times of great depression in business, commands admiration, but surely the wealthy owners have cut out a hard task for these men. They have been so hampered as to warrant the conclusion that the most primitive methods were the conditions most desired, and that difficulties in the way of cheap telegraphy should always be encouraged in order to maintain a great discrepancy between the cost of sending a message by wire and one by train. It has always seemed to me that the natural desire for great profits could have been met much better by a policy of encouragement of improvements, warranting cheaper rates and insuring an increase in business which would more than compensate for the reduction in charges. Telegraph rates can not be reduced much further as long as hand-working is used almost exclusively. I doubt very much whether telegraphy could be carried on any cheaper by the government than it is now conducted by the companies, if the same methods of operation are to be retained. Expertness of the operator has reached its highest development. The use of the typewriter for printing messages, read from the sounder, has increased the speed of receiving considerably; but as the
speed of the sending operator remains the same, hundred and seventy circuits worked by the the principal advantages of the typewriter lie in present Morse system. Hand transmission will greater legibility, and owing to the margin of always be used for stock and other exchange time gained, greater relaxation than by the use business, where transactions are made in a few of the pen without an instant to spare. The era seconds and with messages of sometimes a single of hand-telegraphy has long outstayed its time, word. Every practical telegraphist can underand to this fact may be ascribed the limited use stand this, and none save a prejudiced electrician of the telegraph by the public at large. Machine will deny that for the great bulk of telegraphic methods are as old as hand manipulation, but in correspondence the hand method is inadequate, this country they have not been used to any con- slow and expensive, and that in the near future siderable extent and their development taken the full carrying capacity of wires will be utiladvantage of. A wrong start has been adhered ized. In no other way can general cheap corto persistently, owing, in a great measure, to respondence be accomplished electrically. At over-construction of competing lines and multi- least one-half of the entire traffic of the British plication of wires; and, so long as one company telegraph is carried by a machine system. Has gathered all the others in as fast as they came any American traveling in the United Kingdom along, there were wires to spare, and, therefore, ever found the service slow? The average time as those in control argued, there was no use for for delivery of telegrams, from the time of filing, increasing speed. Besides, wires afforded a basis is about twenty minutes, and the blank informs for stock-issuing. If this convenient mine could the recipient of a dispatch the time of its filing have been ignored, it would have paid the com- at the place from which it came. In this counpanies much better to have abandoned the poorly. try the companies do not dare to let the public constructed lines and concentrated traffic on a know how long a message has been on the way. comparatively small number of well-constructed Each message shows the time of its reception, lines of high conductivity, operated by machin- but there is nothing to indicate that it may ery. The companies can hardly be blamed now have been a whole day in reaching its destinafor not taking down thirty poor iron wires and tion. putting up one good copper conductor in their Whatever force or legitimacy the present arstead, even though it is now entirely practicable guments against postal telegraphy may have had by machine-working to make the single wire twenty years ago, they are utterly fallacious with carry more messages for average distances than respect to the possibilities of the state of the art the thirty hand-worked wires, even when quad- today. At that time the telephone was strugruplexed, so that four messages may go simul- gling desperately for a foothold. The quadrutaneously. The argument of those whose interests plex system had not much more than half the com pel them to defend them by disparagement efficiency that it has today. Multiplex telegof improvements which must surely render their raphy, whereby six Morse circuits are obtained great net-work of wires unnecessary and useless, over a single wire, was not thought of. The is that machine-working would be slower than English Wheatstone system of machine transhand-working. With plenty of wires, no prac- mission was a poor affair in its own country tical telegrapher will deny that a single short and was not in use here at all. Copper wires, message can be sent by hand in the same time which have increased speed over twelve per that it takes to perforate or prepare it for trans- cent., had never been tried. mission by the machine system. The average Operators' salaries are about forty per cent. layman is by this fact frequently deceived into lower, and the necessities for postal telegraphy grave error, and by not pushing the comparison have grown in scope and imperativeness confurther. If the message be a long one, or if currently with the increase of population and there are a thousand messages to transmit, it the desire for quicker facilities. might take two days to get these off by hand, Twenty years ago the highest average of whereas, if there are a sufficient number of per- transmission over a single wire was, by the quadforators the whole lot could be transmitted in a ruplex system, about fifty words per minute. The few minutes. A perforating operator will pre- telephone was only thought of for local use over pare messages at the same rate of speed that a distances of a few miles. Now it is practicable Morse operator can transmit them by hand, and to telegraph 2,500 words a minute between Washa transcribing operator will typewrite them as ington and New York, and 1,000 words per minrapidly as a sound-reading operator can receive, ute between New York and Chicago, while the while the machine transmitter will send the dis- telephone carries speech 1,500 miles. patches as fast as seventy to one hundred and Mr. Chairman, the question of constitutionseventy perforators can prepare them, or afford ality of government telegraphy, the political on an average, according to length of circuit, aspect of the undertaking, the objections on the the same carrying capacity as seventy to one grounds of centralization and paternalism have all been considered, discussed and passed upon that is, fifty words of message and twenty by many of the foremost men of the nation, and words for date, address and signature. Should their conclusions have been cited in connection the business amount to only half the capacity with the subject in and out of congress ever of the line and the expenses be reduced onesince the beginning of telegraphy, over fifty third, the net earnings would be $380,679.28, or years ago. Statistics of all kinds have been about 63 72 per cent.] placed upon record and are before the committee It will be observed that this rate of fifteen in connection with this bill. It would therefore cents for fifty words, exclusive of the date, adbe useless for me to deal with these matters. I dress and signature; includes two cents for the assume that what the committee want to hear delivery of messages by postoffice carriers. are such facts as I can give, founded on prac- If the government, in consideration of not tical knowledge and experience bearing upon having to transport them, would deliver these the practicability of cheaper telegraphy. In telegraph letters for one cent, it would make this undertaking I am met at the very outset a difference for 16,457 messages per day of $60,by a difficulty which I would gladly avoid if 068.05 per year, increasing the net earnings to possible. It may be said that, being an inventor, $440,747.33 or about 73%2 per cent., over and liberal allowance must be made for any claim above all expenses. that I may make for improvements in telegraphic There are about 40,000 letters per day exspeeds. I can only say that if my statements changed between New York and Chicago, and are not already sufficiently substantiated by ac- about 8,000 telegrams exclusive of press distual results obtained over regular lines, and by patches and a large amount of telephoning. demonstrations over experimental circuits, in the Communications of all kinds would doubtless presence of able experts, it will be an easy matter average 60,000 a day. It is reasonable to estito support my claim by further demonstration. mate that the low rate of fifteen cents for fifty In view of what has already been done, however, words in the body of a message would secure I do not think that any telegraph electrician will more than one-quarter of this traffic, and should dissent from these propositions, that with ma- the business of New York and Chicago alone chine transmission and chemical recording by fall below the capacity of the fast system on two the method referred to, over a copper wire wires, business telegraphed to New York and weighing 850 pounds to the mile, and with an Chicago to be mailed to points beyond, or the ordinary current power such as is used for quad- business to be gotten from intermediate points, ruplex working, 1,000 words per minute can be would insure all the correspondence that the plainly recorded over a distance of 1,000 miles,
wires could carry. or, say, from New York to Chicago, and that
Mr. Chairman, opponents of postal telegraphy over such a line 2,500 words per minute can be have contended that it would be wrong for the plainly recorded from New York to Washington government to engage in telegraphy in opposiand between other points throughout the coun- tion to existing lines in which private capital is try in the same ratio, according to distance. invested. No fault is found so long as trains, Last October, over an actual line, having but 180 steamboats and horses are comparatively slow. pounds of copper to the mile (Philadelphia to The telegraph companies, having exclusive use Harrisburg and return), 216 miles, 940 words
of electricity for carrying messages, have nothper minute were plainly recorded in dots and ing to fear from these, but if it were possible to dashes, the current used being but 120 volts. run electric mail trains from New York to ChiThis trial was conducted in the presence of a cago in five minutes, would not the telegraph board of well known electrical experts. With companies have as much right to complain of this system, 8,000 words per minute have been such a service as they now have to protest recorded over an experimental line. This would against postal telegraphy ? And should the be an impracticable speed for regular work, as government in consequence restrict the mail the transmitting tape must pass through the service to present steam time of over twenty machine at the rate of 27 feet per second, or im- hours, in order to protect the telegraph compulses recorded at the rate of 2,500 per second; panies with their utterly unnecessary high rates ? but it goes to show the possibilities of the latest Are not the mails actually carried now by elecdevelopment in machine telegraphy.
tricity over a number of railways and trolley [Mr. Delany here introduced a table showing lines, notably in large cities? If it is right that the cost and earning capacity of a line of two the government should use current as the mocopper wires, between New York and Chicago. tive power to carry letters, why not use the curHe showed that the cost would be $600,000, and rent to carry the essence of the letter? Does the operating expenses for a year $780,712.20 the difference lie between the paper pulp and and the earnings $1,021,529.30, at the rate of the click of the sounder, the original manuscript fifteen cents each for messages of seventy words, and the recorded dot and dash, or the spoken
word by telephone? If the government is to be restricted to slow methods for the protection of the faster ones of private corporations, why has it progressed beyond the packet boat on the canal or the postboy horseback? Why has the government encouraged and subsidized fast trains and record-breaking steamships ?
Great ado is made over a reduction of a few minutes in the mail train time between New York and San Francisco or Chicago, while the elimination of the entire train time is perfectly feasible whenever the government arrives at the conclusion that the public are entitled to the quicker methods, and sets aside the unwarrantable assumption that electrical communication is for private corporations only, with the right to fix charges, regulate facilities, and open
and close offices at will, without fear of interference from any superior authority.
I am unable to understand why congress has not long ago authorized the postmaster-general to fix a maximum rate for telegraphic letters, and contract with the lowest bidders for their transmission, especially between cities separated by any considerable distance. The public puts a ten-cent extra stampon letters, to quicken the delivery, perhaps half an hour, after days have been consumed in transit. For about the sam charge these letters might be telegraphed and, practically, all the time saved.
It is to be hoped that favorable consideration of this bill will lead to a realization of the benefits of electrical facilities of correspondence so long enjoyed by other countries.
THE DIVISION OF WORDS.
Question of New Methods Offered for Approval-Criticism on the Standard Dictionary
Style-An Elaborate Review of the Subject.
BY W. A. TAYLOR, DETROIT, MICH.
I am tempted to write a protest against over, not because the organs of speech the general adoption of the so-called Stand- decide that the two consonants c and t ard Dictionary as a standard for the divis- constitute one sound and must therefore ion of words. So many principles seem to go together, but because the word "actbe commingled in this the latest attemptive' is a modification of the word "act," to define the English language and to de- and the structure of the word requires cide all the petty questions that arise in that the hyphen be placed after the t. the printing of the same, that I feel like This is a principle of division that is deswarning your readers to pause before they tined to work havoc in the printer's conconclude to jump out of the frying-pan ceptions of propriety in this branch of his into the fire by abandoning the established art. It decides, among other things, a la results of long experience for the sake of Standard, that defective shall be divided having a written authority to appeal to in on the t, destructive on the c; affirmative every emergency of doubt.
on the m, firmanent on the r; lesson on Of course, with respect to a great many the first s, lessen on the second, formal words, the simple rule to divide by sylla- on the m, cormorant on the r—the first r; bles is sufficient, so long as no question passive on the first s, massive on the arises as to just where the line of demar- second. cation comes in between one syllable and Every printer has been taught to divide another. But should we divide, for ex- between double letters in such cases as ample, active, this way-ac-tive-or this mol-lify, fol-low, drum-mer, etc., and in way-act-ive? Shall we make the first syl- participle forms where the second of the lable end with the c or with the t? In this repeated letters does not belong to the and in numerous other cases the Standard root word, as in run-ning, impel-ling, etc. abandons the pure phonetic guide for the Where the second letter belongs to the sake of another; it chooses to run the ive original word, it stays with it, as in spell