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Events in telecommunications history

1929

The New York Wall Street stock market crashed - an event probably stimulated and speeded by the use of the telephone for the panic selling of shares.

The development of the immersed electrode principle in transmitter design made it possible for the Post Office to introduce two new innovative telephone designs (Teles 162 and 232). These were the first instruments to successfully incorporate a 'hand combination' (a handset with combined receiver and transmitter) which could be used with central battery lines. Provision was made in the circuit to reduce sidetone. The new designs were also revolutionary in their use of plastics, being among the first large-scale production items to be produced in 'Bakelite', and there was now a choice of colours.

The first standardisation rural automatic exchange was opened at Haynes near Bedford on 4 February, a 100-line unit (No. 5) (see 1921 entry).

Cable & Wireless Ltd was registered on 1 April, formed as a result of an Imperial Telegraph Conference of 1928. Previously UK telegraph services with places outside Europe were conducted by telegraph companies, with the exception of wireless circuits with the Commonwealth and two Anglo-Canadian cables, which were worked by the Post Office. However, as the Post Office long-distance wireless services were generally cheaper than the cable services, the telegraph companies were threatening to dispose of the cable system. For strategic reasons it was felt necessary to retain the cables under British control and the solution settled upon by the Conference was to merge the British wireless and cable interests. Accordingly, the Post Office was required to hand over the 'beam' wireless stations and the two Anglo-Canadian cables to the new company on a 25-year lease. The company was to operate on semi-public utility lines and was to be controlled by the Imperial Communications Advisory Committee (see following entry).

The Imperial Communications Advisory Committee was constituted to advise the Government on technical questions, and international and Commonwealth issues. It comprised representatives of the defence services, the Post Office and the Commonwealth, and was chaired by a cabinet minister. In 1944 it was renamed the Commonwealth Communications Council and became the Commonwealth Telecommunications Board in 1949.

Kiosk No. 3 was introduced, again designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. This kiosk was intended for sites of special architectural importance, scenic localities and for general outdoor use in rural and urban areas. In August 1930 it was decided to adopt the No. 3 as standard for rural areas once the stock of No. 1's had been exhausted. The actual design was very similar to the No. 2 kiosk but was made largely from concrete instead of cast iron. Only the window frames were painted red, with the rest of the kiosk being painted a stony grey colour. Because concrete was a rather poor material for telephone box construction this was the last standard box to employ its use.

A new building at Rugby Radio Station to house the shortwave transmitter ("A" Building) was opened.

A telephone service was opened between the Isle of Man and the mainland on 28 June.

A personal call service was introduced throughout the British inland trunk and toll telephone service on 1 August.

'Metropolitan', 'National' and 'Empire' automatic telephone exchanges were opened in Wood Street, Cheapside, London on 31 August.

An audioconferencing 'conference communication' system composed of transmitters and loudspeakers was used on 23 October to connect audiences in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, Cardiff, Southampton and Portsmouth with the Institution of Electrical Engineers in London.

On Monday 2 December, 22 experimental police telephone boxes, installed as part of a new scheme for policing were made available for general use in the Barnes, Kew and Richmond District of 'V' Division, Metropolitan Police District.

The BBC extended its services to include broadcasts of television.

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