One Who Knows the Telephone Herald
San Diego Citizen, Formerly Resident of Budapest Tells How Popular Telephone Herald Was In That City.
HERE is a man in San Diego who knows all about the successful workings of the telephone herald, or, as it is called in its native city, Budapest, the telefon hirmondo.
This is Mr. Henry White of Ocean Beach, who owns the famous restaurant on the cliffs, known as "Henry's Cafe."
Although possessed of an ordinary Anglo-Saxon name, Henry, as he is generally called, is a typical Hungarian, with the true Magyar temperament. He was born in Budapest, his grandfather being English, and lived there all his life until he came to America.
His brother was the owner and editor of the largest paper there, the Daily Ledger, as we would call it in English, which furnished the news to the telefon hirmondo, and Henry was the advertising manager of that paper until he left for this country. Henry speaks English--as he does a dozen other languages, being highly educated in that respect--with only the suggestion of a foreign accent, and in talking over the question of the telephone hirmondo recently, was most enthusiastic over its past record and the possibilities for its future in San Diego.
"I can see no reason why this telephone herald should not be the same great success it was in my city," he said. "In the days I was in Budapest, it had some 20,000 subscribers and paid a very handsome return to its stockholders--I think it was about 20 per cent, if I am not mistaken.
"Here it ought to do better. The telephone is an American invention and its use in the telephone herald service ought to be as much greater here as the Americans exceed all other nations in the way they advertise.
"In San Diego alone, with its 11,000 telephones, you ought to get at least 5,000 subscribers, which at $1.50 a month would mean an income of $7,500 a month or $90,000 a year. The returns from advertising ought to pay all the costs of operating and all other expenses, leaving $90,000 a year as your net income.
"This would be nearly 25 per cent dividend on a capital of $350,000, and for those who only paid 25 per cent of the par value for their stock it would mean a yearly return or dividend of 100 per cent, which, while almost incredible, still has often been paid in the telephone business, or even greater.
"I have been astonished to think that the telephone herald has taken so long to circle around the world, for the way it was used in Budapest and the great convenience it was there, should have induced its use all over the world long before this.
"But it takes some time to get people to see things and to educate them up to an idea, but when that is done they will not get weaned away from it very soon. I know I would like to have a half dozen of these sets of telephone herald receivers in my place right now, as I know what a drawing card it is for the restaurant from what I have seen in my own native city. Every saloon in town would want a half dozen or more, while all the restaurants would want a number of sets for the use of their patrons--probably one for each table.
"Imagine how easy it would be for a man who is in the habit of spreading a paper before him when he is eating his breakfast and often letting his breakfast get cold, just putting the telephone strap over his head and go on calmly eating his breakfast, while he listens to all the important news of the world being related to him by one of the stentors at the central station.
"The concerts that are being given by Angelotti's Royal Hungarian Orchestra at the U. S. Grant hotel at dinner time could be duplicated into every house in the city having the telephone herald service, and thus advertise the hotel while inducing the people who hear the orchestra over the wire to want to go and see them.
"It would be the same with the theaters. The theaters would be perfectly willing to give the first act of some play or some one sketch of vaudeville so as to advertise the theater and get the people to come and see the rest.
"Then supposing the announcement is given that a lecture will be given at say 10 o'clock in the morning on the latest development in styles for the ladies and the dressmaker has just returned from Paris with the latest styles and that the tendency is toward a revival of hoopskirts and all the latest ideas in this respect will be shown at 11 o'clock at Marston's, don't you suppose it would bring them in with a rush?
"Wouldn't Marston be only too willing to pay for such advertising as that which brought results?
"Every barber shop would want a set for every chair, so that the man lying in the chair being shaved would not have to depend on the barber for his news, but could got it hot from the wire while he was being shaved and thus utilize so much time that is now lost.
"In fact we found from our experience in Budapest that there was no end to the uses to which the telephone herald could be put. In this respect it was like the telephone itself, on the side on which it has developed most, that is the side of intercommunication.
"We see how much the telephone saves us in time and travel, for before we would have to go across the country or city to see the person we wanted to talk to, while now we save that time and often wonder how we ever did business without the telephone. The younger people don't appreciate the telephone and telegraph as they don't know how it would be without them.
"It will be the same way when the telephone herald is established, for people will be wondering after a while how they could ever get along without it.
"It will be possible to teach languages over the telephone herald wire better than in any other way, for the listeners could have their books and with the receivers over their ears could pronounce the words after their instructors and thus get the correct accent.
"There are in the Agnew sanitarium and other hospitals several hundreds of patients who are suffering from pain, and the hospitals cannot keep nurses with them all the time to soothe their pain, but they could furnish them the telephone herald receivers and with these over their ears they could listen to what is going en outside in the world, concerts, etc., and thus their minds be taken off of their sufferings.
"I am glad to hear from your statement," he said to Mr. H. A. Schmidt, who is the president of the local company, that they now have amplifiers, so that the system can be put in, say in a private house where a reception is being given or a bridge party held, where the guests can hear the strains of Angelotti's orchestra at the Grant hotel or some concert given at the Isis theater, through the amplifiers without each one being obliged to use the receivers.
"In fact the demand for this service will be almost unlimited. I believe that it will be as great or greater than the ordinary telephone where people want to talk to each other. But supposing you don't know anyone in San Diego but want to hear someone talk about it who does know? There are many people who have telephones in their houses now that are not used at all some days but I venture to say that not a day would pass by but that this telephone herald would be used wherever it was installed.
"I know that this telephone herald will pay big dividends and I am frank to say that I would urge everyone who can afford it to buy some of the stock in the company, as long as it can be bought at the present low price of 25 cents, as I believe it will make big money for everyone who buys it. You can send anyone you want to me and I will gladly tell them how successful this has been in Budapest."
Anyone who desires additional information or is interested can call at the office of the company, 915-916 American National Bank building, and see Mr. Schmidt, who will be very much pleased to give the information, or they can call up on the Sunset phone, Main 4821, and make a definite appointment.
SAN DIEGO TELEPHONE HERALD CO.