Invisible Empire: A History of the Telecommunications Industry in Canada, 1846-1956

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, Jul 10, 2001 - Business & Economics - 383 pages
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It is impossible to understand Canada without looking at the history and development of its telecommunications industry. In the nineteenth century Canada was the only country in the world constructed on the basis of technology - first the railway and, in its shadow, telegraphy. In the 1930s this technological nationalism came of age and telecommunications became Canada's "national" technology. The Invisible Empire provides the first overview of Canadian telecommunications, from the laying of the first telegraph line between Toronto and Hamilton in 1846 to the separation between Nortel - then known as Northern Electric - and the American Bell System in 1956. Rens shows us that Louis Riel was beaten as much by telegraphy as by the Canadian army, and how Bell Canada - then known as Bell Telephone - escaped nationalization by Sir Wilfrid Laurier's government. He follows the construction of the first trans-Canadian telephone line in the midst of the Great Depression of the 1930s and explains why, in the context of the Cold War, Canada built an electronic Great Wall of China in the far North. Rens examines the context that allowed the telecommunications industry to take hold so successfully in Canada and explores how the industry grew so quickly and managed to escape American domination. He situates Canadian accomplishments in telecommunications by comparing them with those of other countries.
  

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Contents

The Telegraph Industry Gets Organized
21
SECTION TWO THE TELEPHONE
43
The Telephone Comes to Canada
56
Bell Comes Out Fighting
80
Balkanization of the Telephone Industry
104
The Birth of Northern Electric and Technological
128
Unbridled Capitalism and Language Clashes
147
The Telephone Industry in Canada and the International
168
The Other Telephone Companies
234
Social Benefits and Labour Peace in the Telephone
259
The Canadian Regulatory Model
276
Electromechanical Technology Hits Its Peak
294
The International Scene
323
How Telephony Changed the World
335
Notes
343
Bibliography
365

SECTION THREE RADIO I 8 I
181
Creation of a National Industry
195
Bells Long March to Independence
217

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