|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
A small collection of archival material comprising correspondence, blueprints, documents, printed paper, ephemera.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Telechronometer Company of Rochester; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed, PTL 08/03/2012.
2012-08-04 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Telechronometer Company was , it appears, the first company to patent a system and device for charging for telephone use based on actual time usage, similar to the gas and electric meters of today. This was an important step in the early growth of the telephone industry, quoting one of the firm's promotional materials it "solved the rarte question." Up until some sort of metering was in place there was no practical way to charge for each call , this device created a new revenue stream for the nascent industry. Garrison Babcock, of Rochester, and Frederick Charles Stevens (1856-1916)1, Senator and later Superintendent of Public Works for New York State, saw the potential of such a service and formed a company to develop and market the technology, which would serve as a useful and necessary accessory to the as yet undeveloped but expanding telephone industry.
Garrison Babcock filed a patent for his invention on June 14, 1909 and patent number 947781 was issued to him on February 1, 1910. This collection includes documents from 1909 through 1913 dealing with the development of this invention, the creation of the company, and its subsequent mergers. The company was not a manufacturing company its apparatus was built by General Electric, the firm licensed the Telechronometer to telephone companies throughout the country.
Interestingly an article in the June 1922 issue of Popular Mechanics (p. 833), states: "The first metered telephone service is now given in Everett, Wash., where about 6000 subscribers are paying for just the amount of talking they do." Evidently the magazine was either unaware of this invention, or it took time to reach remote areas, or did not succeed as planned.