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Tellevent (Detroit, Michigan, U.S.)

  • Author:Tyminphone
  • Source:www.tyminphone.com
  • Release on:2016-10-19



Illustration from Tell Event promotional article (1907)

The Tell Event (also spelled Tell Event) was the first organized attempt to develop a subscription telephone newspaper service in the United States. The name was a contraction of the phrase: "It tells the event to mind's eye." The main promoter was the Michigan State Telephone Company's General Manager, James F. Land, who had been influenced by the Electrophone, although his company did not license that system's technology.

Test transmissions throughout the state of Michigan began in 1906, initially "between the theatres, the churches, the Light Guard Armory, the new Penobscot Inn and the residences of several officials of the company". Additional test transmissions continued through 1908. In March 1907, the American Tell Event Company was incorporated in Michigan, and Land resigned from the Michigan State Telephone Company, where he had worked for nearly 30 years, in order to work full-time with the recently founded Michigan Tell Event Company.

An early review reported that the service used subscriber's existing telephone lines, and had been recently installed in 100 Detroit homes, connecting them with local theaters. An extensive daily program was also envisioned, with plans that "there will be a Tell Event at the stock exchange, banks, at the band concerts on Belle Isle, race track, club houses, hotels, library, political headquarters, court rooms, in short, wherever the public wishes to go". Also planned was the option to connect to special services, such as ballgames and speeches. Subscription costs were estimated to be around $2 a month, with service provided to private homes, businesses, hotels, and hospitals.

Despite hopes to eventually expand nationally, the Tell Event never advanced beyond the exploratory stage, and the American Tell Event Company's business charter was dissolved in 1909.

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