National Geographic : 1912 Jul
Message Bearers Ancient and Modern Pheidippides, the most noted runner of ancient Greece, made a record and an ever lasting reputation by speeding 140 miles from Athens to Sparta in less than two days. Runners trained to perfection composed the courier service for the transmission of messages in olden times. But the service was so costly it could be used only in the interest of rulers on occasions of utmost importance. The Royal messenger of ancient times has given way to the democratic telephone of to-day. Cities, one hundred or even two thousand miles apart, are connected in a few seconds, so that message and answer follow one another as if two persons were talking in the same room. This instantaneous telephone service not only meets the needs of the State in great emergencies, but it meets the daily needs of millions of the plain people. There can be no quicker service than that which is everywhere at the command of the humblest day laborer. Inventors have made possible communica tion by telephone service. The Bell System, by connecting seven million people together, has made telephone service so inexpensive that it is used twenty-five million times a day. Captains of war and industry might, at great expense, establish their own exclusive tele phone lines, but in order that any person hav ing a telephone may talk with any other per son having a telephone, there must be One System, One Policy and Universal Service. AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY AND ASSOCIATED COMPANIES Every Bell Gelephone is the Center of the System "Mention the Geographic-It identifies you."