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Years of Progress... Have Brought Many Improvements in Telephone Service
An Advertisement of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company [National Geographic, September 1935]

BACK in the early days of the telephone, practically all wires were carried overhead on poles or on house-tops. Some of the tallest poles carries as many as thirty cross-arms and three hundred wires.
    If the old system were in use today the streets of our larger cities would scarcely have room enough for their canopy of wires. Traffic would be impeded, telephone service subjected to the whims of nature.
    Better ways had to be found and the Bell System found those ways. As many as 1800 pairs of wires are now carried in a cable no larger than a baseball bat. Ninety-four per cent of the Bell System's 80,000,000 miles of wire is in cable; sixty-five per cent of it is beneath the ground.
    This has meant a series of conquests of space, and insured greater clarity and dependability for every telephone user.
But it is only one of many kinds of improvements that have been made.     The present generation does not remember the old days of the telephone.
    Service is now so efficient that you accept it as a matter of course. It seems as if it must always have been so. Yet it is would be far different today if it were not for the Bell System plan of centralized research, manufacture and administration-- with localized operation.

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