Back in 1851, the New York & Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company was organized with the goal of creating the greatest system with unified and efficientoperations. Meanwhile, Ezra Cornell had brought back one of his bankrupt companies and renamed it the New York & Western Union Telegraph Company.
Originally fierce competitors, by 1855 both groups werefinally convinced that consolidation was their only alternative for progress. The merged company was named The Western Union Telegraph Company at Cornell's insistence and Western Union was born as acommercial name.
The telegraph was dominated by Western Union, an industrialized monopoly. Western Union completed the first transcontinental telegraph line in 1861. They were the first communicationsempire and the beginning of what was to come for the future of American-style communications as it is known today.
The next year, 1871, the company introduced its money transfer service, based onan extensive telegraph network. In 1879, Western Union left the telephone busines, had lost a patent lawsuit with Bell. As the telephone replaced the telegraph, money transfer would become its primarybusiness.
In 1914 Western Union offered the first charge card for consumers; in 1923 it introduced teletypewriters to join its branches. Singing telegrams followed in 1933, intercity fax in 1935,and commercial intercity microwave communications in 1943. In 1958 it began offering Telex to customers.
Western Union introduced the 'Candygram' in the 1960s, a box of chocolates accompanying atelegram featured in a commercial with the rotund Don Wilson. In 1964, Western Union initiated a transcontinental microwave system to replace land lines.
Western Union had came the first Americantelecommunications corporation to keep its own fleet of geosynchronous communication satellites, starting in 1974. The fleet of satellites, called Westar, carried communications within the Western...