During the early 1900s, the Western Union was in crisis. After several unsuccessful attempts to restructure the company, it was sold to an investor who quickly saw that the business model was no longer sustainable. A combination of factors led to the company’s downfall. In the years that followed, Western Union struggled to keep up with the ever-growing needs of its customers. This situation resulted in several different acquisitions, including AT&T and LeBow’s.
The company was founded in 1871 and entered the global market in 1982. Today, it provides money transfer services in over one hundred countries. Western Union has been the pioneer of instant money transfer, inventing the singing telegram, inter-city facsimile, and pre-paid phone card. The company also helped pioneer many of today’s technologies, such as the internet, through their satellites. Western Union’s technology has improved the world around us and has made sending and receiving money easy.
The Western Union Telegraph Company first began delivering telegrams in 1851. It would be another eight years before the transcontinental railroad was completed. The company’s telegrams would eventually reach the United States’ capital, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Interestingly enough, the first telegram sent by a Western Union operator was to President Abraham Lincoln. Field had predicted that the new communication link would ensure the loyalty of western states during the Civil War.
Throughout its history, Western Union has been a pioneer in the field of telegraphy. The company began as a small telegraph company, but grew into a major telecommunications company. By the 1900s, it was responsible for a million miles of telegraph lines and two international undersea cables. By 1909, AT&T acquired a 30% stake in Western Union. However, they were forced to sell their shares after being indicted under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.
The company’s history dates back to the 1800s and consists of many major milestones that took place over the years. First, it acquired several independent telegraph companies. Then, in 1861, it built the first transcontinental telegraph line. From there, it briefly ventured into the telephone field, but lost a court battle with the Bell Telephone Company in 1879. In 1881, it focused on telegraphy. As the company grew, it absorbed over 500 companies. In 1881, it also started operating a money transfer business.
The Western Union’s monopoly was tested twice between 1866 and 1910. First, it was threatened by the emergence of a nationalized telegraph system, and second, it was challenged by the invention of the telephone. Western Union, led by William H. Vanderbilt, fought to gain control over Bell’s major patents for telegraphy. However, Bell declined and the company established its own competing telephony system in the late 1870s.
In 1854, Hiram Sibley recapitalized NYMVPTC and started a program of construction and acquisition. In 1854, he negotiated the purchase of Morse’s patent rights in the Midwest. Afterward, Hiram Sibley hired Jeptha H. Wade, a lawyer and former NYMVPTC president. They eventually merged and created the Western Union Telegraph Company, which is the company that exists today.