The Telephone Herald began regular operations in Newark, New Jersey on October 24, 1911. A featured event that day was the fourth game of the 1911 World Series baseball championship, played between the American League's Philadelphia Athletics and the National League's New York Giants. Led by third baseman Frank Baker, home team Philadelphia won the game, and would eventually win the series, by four games to two. The Telephone Herald's play-by-play information came from telegraph reports sent directly from the stadium, which was a standard service offered to newspapers during this era.
New York Times, October 25, 1911, page 7:
500 GET THE NEWS BY WIRE AT ONCE
The Telephone Herald Begins Its Service by Reporting the Giants' Third Defeat
IT WORKS ON A SCHEDULE
You Listen When You Like for What You Want and if You Hear a Whistle Something Big Is Coming.
Of the Newark fans who heard by wire yesterday how Baker and his Philadelphia associates had defeated the Giants again, fifty got their bulletins in the waiting room of a department store, and others by telephone in their own homes.
The wire that carried the news ran from the offices of an institution which calls itself a newspaper and yet has no printer's ink and no print paper. It is The Telephone Herald, and the bulletins it sent out yesterday on the baseball game were the beginning of a service which it is proposed to make permanent.
In each home where the system had been installed two ear pieces hung down from the wall, so arranged that two persons might use them or only one. In addition to the baseball bulletins the subscribers received throughout the day stock reports, general news, a violin selection, a piano solo, and a tenor and soprano duet. Subscribers had to take things as they came, since there was no way by which they could reach the newspaper's editors with special demands for base-ball news while the piano was performing, or for racing results while Baker's two-base hit was being recorded.
The department store had fifty ear pieces hanging from the walls of its main waiting room. From 3 o'clock until 5 every one of the ear pieces had a listener.
For election night several restaurants have arranged to have a set of ear pieces for each table. Next Sunday a sending machine will be placed just under the pulpit in a Newark church, and the sermon will go "hot over the wire" to the homes of subscribers. The company installing the service feels that there is no limit to it. It plans also to put the machines in theatres to give the subscribers a variation of the entertainment especially provided in the company's headquarters.
When a TIMES reporter called at The Telephone Herald offices in the Essex Building he found everybody listening at ear pieces. They were ranged in a room that otherwise was without much furniture. As every one was busy listening the reporter picked up an ear piece that was not working and heard, in a fairly distinct voice: "Second half of the fifth inning, Collins out, Baker at bat."
W. E. Gunn, the general manager, was willing, after the game, to oblige an inquirer who wished to look through the plant. The first room entered was made up after the fashion of an ordinary newspaper office. There were typewriter desks and young men, who might have been reporters, busy at the machines. A "city editor" sat apart, drawing many lines with a blue pencil through the material submitted to him. He was "paring it to the bone," he said, for the purposes of a telephone bulletin service. With his duties the similarity with a newspaper office ended, for when he sent a "copy boy" hustling with his pages of "copy," the boy rushed to a telephone booth instead of to a typesetting room.
In the booth a young man was reading in a rather loud and slow fashion. Before him were two mouthpieces, each about four times the size of the mouthpiece of an ordinary telephone. The mouthpieces were arranged so that they were end to end against each other, with just room for the talkers face between them. He did not talk into either mouthpiece directly, his voice being caught sidewise in each. As he read off the news bulletins--those particular ones were about a race meet somewhere--the 500 subscribers were listening or not as they desired.
"They never can molest the sender," the "city editor" explained, "for there is no come-back over our wires. All they can do is to listen and hang up when they are tired if the kind of news running does not interest. Each subscriber has in his home our schedules telling what kind of news will be running at any given minute. So he can look to his schedule for the kind he wishes."
On any one of the thirty-odd headpieces in the company's outer office it was easy to hear and understand the bulletins. How it would be further away after they had passed over a long trunk line, it was not so easy to determine. The company's officers assert that their instruments are ample. They explained, however, that is was not planned to make any phonographic or other connections so that the subscriber could loosen the flow of music or news for a group of guests at dinner.
"But we have a device," he continued, "by which we can startle subscribers into the consciousness that we have something extra-special for them. We can make our receivers repeat a whistle loud enough for it to be heard some distance away. Let some big news event break and we'll whistle 'em to their instruments to catch it, and then send it over.''
The inspiration of the plan to serve drama and the news over the telephone came to this country from Budapest, and the holders of the American patents for the instruments in use in Budapest hit upon Newark as a likely town to give the plan a first American trial. If it succeeds in Newark it will be tried in other cities. To make music for the service a specially constructed music room has been provided with sounding boards and a number of sending instruments attached to music stands. A violinist was performing at one stand and a pianist at another when the door was opened to admit an inquirer yesterday
It was the opening of the before dinner service for young folks and children. The performance of both instruments was blended into a duet on the wires. It was to be followed by same fairy stories for children talked into a sender by an elocutionist of the professionally reciting kind. After the bedtime for the children--from 8:30 to 11 o'clock--vaudeville jokes were to be sent, followed by orchestral music until 1 A. M.
The morning schedule, opening at 8 A. M., calls for the announcement of the exact time by whistle, and then the forwarding of Stock Exchange reports and bulletins culled from the cables and telegraphic reports to morning newspapers. After 9 o'clock, when the husband, presumably, has gone to his office, the housewife is to be informed of the special bargain sales announced for the day, the location of theatres in which matinees are scheduled, the social calendar for the day, and "local personals," which admittedly is another name for "small gossip."