1-20 of 37 results  for:

  • broadcasting and communications x
Clear all

Article

Barnard, Chester Irving (07 November 1886–07 June 1961), telephone executive, foundation president, and management theorist, was born in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of Charles H. Barnard, a machinist, and Mary E. Putnam. His mother died when Chester was five. Apprenticed as a piano tuner, he worked his way through preparatory school at Mount Hermon Academy in Northfield, Massachusetts, and won a scholarship to Harvard, where he supplemented his income by tuning pianos and running a small dance band. He studied economics and languages but failed to receive a degree because he lacked a laboratory science course, which he felt he could not complete and yet “do all the work I had to do to eat.” In 1909 he was employed by American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (AT&T) in the statistical department, studying the rate-setting practices of European telephone companies. He married Grace Frances Noera in 1911. They had one child....

Article

Behn, Sosthenes (30 January 1884–06 June 1957), corporation executive, was born Louis Richard Sosthenes Behn in St. Thomas in what was then the Danish West Indies, the son of Ricardo Augusto Guillermo Behn, a businessman, and Louise Monsanto. Behn was educated in the Virgin Islands, Corsica, and at Collège Ste. Barbée in Paris. During the course of his education and travels, he became fluent in English, French, and Spanish. In 1898 Behn’s family moved to New York City, where he found jobs as a messenger and later as a clerk. When Morton Trust Company, a Wall Street concern, rejected Behn for employment because he was too young, he grew a beard, changed his official birth date to 1882, and reapplied a few months later. This time he was hired and was eventually promoted to head clerk at the firm....

Image

Alexander Graham Bell Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-104276).

Article

Bell, Alexander Graham (03 March 1847–02 August 1922), inventor and educator, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of Alexander Melville Bell and Eliza Grace Symonds. Family tradition and childhood environment set him on the path to his greatest invention, the telephone. His grandfather had turned from acting to speech teaching, and his father had become eminent in the latter vocation. His mother, despite her seriously impaired hearing, was an accomplished pianist and engaged her son’s interest in that form of sound communication. Edinburgh, second only to London as an intellectual center of the British Empire, excelled in science and technology, which probably stirred the boy’s interest and ambition in such matters. He made a hobby of botany and zoology. Playing about a local grist mill, he took up the miller’s challenge to make himself useful and devised a hand-cranked machine that took the husks off the grain—“my first invention,” he later called it....

Article

Blake, Francis (25 December 1850–19 January 1913), scientist, inventor, and astronomer, was born in Needham, Massachusetts, the son of Francis Blake, a businessman and U.S. appraiser of Boston, and Caroline (maiden name unknown). Blake attended Brookline High School but left at age sixteen to take up a position as a draftsman in the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Blake remained with the survey team for thirteen years. The Coast Survey at that time hired young people out of high school or college in order to nurture the character values of morality, discipline, and loyalty in their employees. On-the-job training by knowledgeable instructors provided young men such as Blake with the skills to conduct research projects using the latest modern scientific techniques....

Article

Cornell, Alonzo Barton (22 January 1832–15 October 1904), businessman and governor of New York, was born in Ithaca, New York, the son of Ezra Cornell, the capitalist and founder of Cornell University, and Mary Ann Wood. At the age of fifteen Cornell withdrew from the Ithaca Academy, left home, and moved to Troy, New York, where he worked as a telegrapher. From there he moved to Montreal, Quebec, then to Buffalo, New York, and Cleveland, Ohio, to take various managerial jobs with telegraph companies. In 1851 Cornell returned to Ithaca, where he worked as an officer of the Tompkins County Bank. The following year he married Elen Augusta Covert. In 1855 he moved to New York City to take a job as a telegraph manager on Wall Street....

Article

Creighton, Edward (31 August 1820–05 November 1874), pioneer telegraph builder, banker, and philanthropist, was born in Belmont County, Ohio (near the present town of Barnesville), the son of James Creighton and Bridget Hughes, farmers. Creighton’s father had emigrated in 1805 from County Dungannon, Ireland, to the United States. In 1830 the Creighton family moved to a farm in Licking County, Ohio. Edward Creighton began full-time employment on the family farm and as a wagoner at the age of fourteen. In these early years he worked on the pike roads of Ohio with the young ...

Article

deButts, John Dulany (10 April 1915–17 December 1986), corporation executive, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the son of Sydnor deButts, a manager for the Atlantic & Yadkin railroad line, and Mary Ellen Cutchin. DeButts worked on a railroad during his youth and after finishing high school entered the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. In 1936 he graduated as a captain with a B.S. in electrical engineering and served as valedictorian of his class....

Image

Thomas Eckert. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-2057).

Article

Eckert, Thomas Thompson (23 April 1825–20 October 1910), telegrapher and business and military manager, was born at St. Clairsville, Belmont County, Ohio, where his father was a farmer. His parents’ names are unknown. Eckert married Emma D. Whitney (date unknown), with whom he had two children. After a common school education, Eckert went to New York, building on a youthful interest in telegraphy as an operator with the Morse Telegraph Company. Eckert’s early initiatives as a telegrapher and organizer caught the attention of his second employer, J. H. Wade, owner of the Wade Telegraph Company. While working as one of Wade’s operators in Wooster, Ohio, Eckert managed to get appointed local postmaster and connected the telegraph wire with his post office, combining the two jobs. Wade in 1852 made Eckert superintendent of the newly completed Pittsburgh and Chicago branch line of the Union Telegraph Company, of which Wade, residing in Chicago, was president. Eckert held this position, which was expanded when the line was taken over by Western Union, until 1859, when he resigned to manage a gold mining company in North Carolina until the outbreak of the Civil War. Early in the Civil War the assistant secretary of war, made aware of Eckert’s talents, placed him in charge of General in Chief ...

Image

Thomas Alva Edison Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-98066).

Article

Edison, Thomas Alva (11 February 1847–18 October 1931), inventor and business entrepreneur, was born in Milan, Ohio, the son of Samuel Edison, a shingle maker, land speculator, and shopkeeper, and Nancy Elliott, a schoolteacher. Of Dutch and American heritage, his father escaped from Canada during the rebellion of 1837–1838 and, with his wife and children, settled in Milan, a burgeoning wheat port on a canal near Lake Erie, midway between Cleveland and Detroit. “Al,” as his family called him, received devoted attention from his oldest sister Marion and his mother. The arrival of the railroad in a nearby town sharply diminished the canal business in Milan and prompted the family to move to Port Huron, Michigan, in 1854. Al attended both public and private schools for short periods but studied extensively with his mother at home, where he also read books from the library of his politically radical father....

Article

Fessenden, Reginald Aubrey (06 October 1866–22 July 1932), inventor, was born in East Bolton, Quebec, Canada, the son of Elisha Joseph Fessenden, an Anglican clergyman, and Clementina Trenholme. Fessenden spent his earliest years at Bolton Centre, Quebec, and Fergus, Ontario. From a young age he showed a keen interest in invention and science and filled every free moment with the reading of scientific texts, being encouraged in this pursuit by his uncle, Cortez Fessenden, a teacher of science and mathematics. At the age of seven Fessenden read Gibbon’s ...

Image

Cyrus W. Field. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-110001).

Article

Field, Cyrus West (30 November 1819–12 July 1892), financier and promoter of the transatlantic cable, was born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the son of David Dudley Field, a Congregationalist minister, and Submit Dickinson. Field’s abiding interest in grand projects such as the Atlantic telegraph owed much to his upbringing. Reared in a strict yet emotionally supportive household, he acquired from his parents a taste for hard work, a zeal for organization, and a restless curiosity. He “never saw Cyrus so uneasy,” one of his brothers once aptly remarked, “as when he was trying to keep still” (Judson, p. 58). It was also an upbringing conducive to high achievement as three of Field’s brothers also rose to national prominence: ...

Article

Gifford, Walter Sherman (10 January 1885–07 May 1966), telephone company executive, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Nathan Poole Gifford, a lumber merchant, and Harriet Maria Spinney, a schoolteacher. Gifford entered Harvard University in 1901 and completed his course work in three years, but he chose to take his degree with the class of 1905. Gifford started work in 1904 as a clerk at the Western Electric Company, the manufacturing subsidiary of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T). In 1905 he transferred to Western Electric’s New York headquarters and became its assistant secretary and assistant treasurer. Gifford’s statistical reports attracted the attention of AT&T president ...

Article

Green, Norvin (17 April 1818–12 February 1893), business leader, was born in New Albany, Indiana, the son of Joseph Green and Susan Ball, farmers. Green grew up in Breckenridge County, Kentucky, to which his parents moved soon after his birth. As a boy, he worked on his father’s farm and attended the local schools. When his father’s farm failed, he left home to make a living. At age sixteen, Green ran a grocery store from a flatboat that he floated down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, selling supplies to the lumbermen on the banks. Green also worked briefly as a lumberman himself....

Image

Gardiner Greene Hubbard Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105888).

Article

Hubbard, Gardiner Greene (25 August 1822–11 December 1897), businessman and civic leader, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Hubbard, a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and Mary Anne Greene. Hubbard was named for his mother’s father, who had come, modestly wealthy, from Ireland and had become one of the richest men in Boston. After Hubbard’s graduation from Dartmouth in 1841, he studied law for a year at Harvard before entering a prominent Boston firm. He married Gertrude McCurdy in 1846 and moved with her to Cambridge. Of their six children, two died in infancy....

Image

Amos Kendall. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109899).