Early U.S. Telephone-based Entertainment Companies

Thomas H. White -- May 27, 2018

This is an overview of the information -- admittedly fragmentary and incomplete -- I have found about U.S. telephone-based news and entertainment services established in the first two decades of the 1900s: the United States Telephone Herald Company and its associated companies (only the New Jersey Telephone Herald (1911-1912) and the Oregon Telephone Herald (1912-1913) are known to have gone into commercial operation), the Oregon Enunciator Company, three Telectrophone companies, the Michigan Tellevent Company, the Tel-Musici Company, the New York Magnaphone and Music Company, and two Musolaphone companies.

United States Telephone Herald Co. (New York City)
State: Delaware
Date incorporated: March 5, 1910
Termination: Charter repealed January 28, 1918 (Two years taxes unpaid)
Offices: 110 West Thirty-fourth St.
Officers/employees: Manley M. Gillam (Pres. & Dir., 1909, 1911, 1913, 1914), William H. Alexander (Sec. and Treas., 1909, 1910), A. E. Memmert (Chief Engineer, 1910), James Gillies (Treas. & Dir., 1911, 1913), Cornelius C. Balassa (Sec. & Dir., 1911, 1913), Árpád Németh (Patentee, 1911, Chief Electrical Engineer, 1913), Ladislaus De Doory (1910, 1911), W. F. (or W. E.) Gillam (1913). Directors: S. Baum (1911), Henry W. Davis (1911, 1913, 1915, 1917), Arthur L. Gillam (1911, 1913), Ernest C. (Edwin D.:?) Morse (1911, 1913), Frank Vernon (1913, 1915).
Service: Public demonstration on September 8, 1910 at 110 West Thirty-fourth St.
Other information:Functioned as a parent company for the associated companies. The original parent company was apparently the Telephone Newspaper Company of America, incorporated in New York state in October, 1909, with organizing directors Manley M. Gillam (president), William H. Alexander, and Cornelius Balassa, all of New York City. [In September, 1912, the Telephone Herald Sales and Supply Co. was chartered in New York, by New York city residents John McLaren, E. J. Forhan and F. B Knowlton. The company charter was forfeited in 1929. It is not clear if this company was associated with the other Telephone Herald Companies.]

Associated companies

Boston Telephone Herald Syndicate, Inc.
State: Massachusetts
Date incorporated: April 23, 1913
Termination: Dissolved February 21, 1916
Officers/employees: At incorporation: Ladislaus De Doory (pres.), John M. Grosvenor, Jr. (tres.), Jesse W. Morton.

California Telephone Herald Co. (San Francisco)
State: California
Date incorporated: February, 1911
Termination: Charter declared forfeited and repealed for non-payment of taxes February, 1915
Officers/employees: Incorporators: G. S. Holbrook, W. A. Whelan, W. B. Heckmann, A. H. Vorrath, R. M. Graham, R. Boreman, William T. Newverth, A. C. Gould and A. Jacoby; Benjamin Boreham (manager, 1912).
Service: Demonstrations in September, 1911 at 821, 822, 823 Head Building.

Central California Telephone Herald Co. (Sacramento)
State: California
Date incorporated: Incorporation papers filed February, 1912
Termination: Merged with Pacific Telephone Herald Company in December, 1913. Charter declared forfeited and repealed for non-payment of taxes, February, 1915
Officers/employees: Incorporators: C. J. Ward, F. W. Bresse and S. H. Whisner; Officers (December, 1912): S. H. Whisner (Pres.), C. J. Ward (V.P. and G.M.), Louis Breuner (Treas.) and F. M. Bresee (Sec.); Directors (December, 1912): S. H. Whisner, D. W. Carmichael, C. J. Ward, Henry Mitau, F. M. Bresee, Louis Breuner, Thomas Oats, S. H. Maginess, A. H. Hall, Frederic H. Thomas, B. F. Briggs, Carl Schmeiser.
Service: Demonstrations begun April 2, 1912 from 4th Floor, Elks' Building.

Massachusetts Telephone Herald Co.
State: Delaware
Date incorporated: August, 1912
Termination: Corporation charter repealed January 24, 1916
Officers/employees: Incorporators: R. R. Cooling, C. J. Jacobs and H. W. Davis (Wilmington, Delaware)

New Jersey Telephone Herald Co. (Newark)
State: New Jersey
Date incorporated: October, 1910
Termination: Charter declared null & void January 18, 1916
Offices: Essex Building (second floor), Clinton Street
Officers/employees: Incorporators: Eugene Gorenflo, Duncan McIsaac and Nicholas J. Surgess. Employees: Captain William E. Gunn (V.P. & G.M, 1911; Pres., 1912; V.P. & G.M., 1912), Percy Pyne (Pres., 1912), C. E. Danforth (secretary-treasurer, 1912), Manley M. Gillam (Dir., 1913, 1914), John P. Rainbault (General Manager, 1912), J. L. Spence (Chief Engineer, 1912), George Edward Bailey (Engineer, 1911-1912), Condit S. Atkinson (News Department Editor, 1911-1912, legislative correspondent at the N.J. legislature, 1912), Richard D. Arons (Stentor, 1911).
Service: Commercial operation began October 24, 1911, suspended late February, 1912, restarted late May, 1912, terminated December, 1912.
Other information:Investors: Mr. Blaidsdale, Percy R. Pyne, 2nd, H. B. Hollins, Charles E. Danforth

Oregon Telephone Herald Co. (Portland)
State: Oregon
Date incorporated: Unknown.
Termination: January 16, 1917, for failure to file statements or pay fees for two years.
Offices: 506 Royal Building (Seventh and Morrison)
Officers/employees:  D. S. Doernbecher (Pres., 1913, 1914), Charles F. Swigert (Vice-Pres., 1913), Frank Le Monn (Sec. & Mngr., 1913, 1914) [may be same person as P. W. le Mown (Secr. & treas., 1913], Lawrence A. McNary (General Counsel, 1913), Directors (1913): Frederick A. Kribs, S. G. Reed, Robert F. Cox, William R. McGarry, Marius Hansen, and Manley M. Gillam.
Service: Extensive demonstrations beginning in May, 1912. June, 1912 advertisements said commercial service would start "around October 1st". Last known advertisements for the service appeared in June, 1913.

Pacific Telephone Herald Co. (Oakland)
State: California
Date incorporated: Unknown
Termination: Charter forfeited for failure to pay licence tax, March 4, 1916
Officers/employees: C. Fred Horner (president, Feb., 1914), E. A. von Hasslocher (v.p. and general manager, 1913 & 1914), J. B. Whited (secretary, early 1913. secretary-treasurer at time of death, September, 1913), J. B. Lanktree (secretary, late 1913), Mr. Ward (local manager, 1913), Directors: William Angus (1914. President at time of death, October, 1914)
Other information:Demonstrations at H. C. Capwell Company's Store began February, 1913 and lasted through at least April, 1913. Original corporate offices at 303-304-305 Union Savings Bank Building, Oakland, later 1741 Franklin Street. Case No. 474 of the Railroad Commission of the State of California (Pacific Telephone Herald Company vs. The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company), for access to leased lines, dismissed November 5, 1913. Purchased rights for 21 western U.S. and southwesten Canada from the parent company, November, 1913. Absorbed the Central California Telephone Herald Company, December, 1913.

Pennsylvania Telephone Herald Co. (Philadelphia)
State: Delaware
Date incorporated: December 30, 1911
Termination: Corporation charter repealed January 25, 1917
Officers/employees: At incorporation: Frank Vernon (Pres. & dir., 1912, 1913, 1915), Ivor B. Blaiberg, (vice-president, 1912) and Albert D. Miller (secretary, 1912)
Other information:Corporate activity reported in 1912-1913

San Diego Telephone Herald Co.
State: California
Date incorporated: August, 1911
Termination: Unknown
Officers/employees: At incorporation: H. A. Schmidt (president), M. N. Schmidt and G. Stephens
Other information:Corporate information reported in 1912

San Francisco Telephone Herald Co.
State: California
Date incorporated: October 29, 1912
Termination: Charter forfeited November 30, 1913 for failure to pay licence tax.
Officers/employees: Founding directors: W. H. Dohrmann, J. F. Dohrmann, A. J. Beecher, F. W. Beecher, Thomas R. White, C. E. Youngblood, Rudolph Schlueten, Clarence Eppstein and E. L. Manner.
Other information:Daily demonstrations at 687 Market Street advertised January 5, 1913.

Southern California Telephone Herald Co. (Los Angeles)
State: California
Date incorporated: Incorporation papers filed May 23, 1911
Termination: Charter forfeited for failure to pay licence tax November 30, 1911
Officers/employees: Peter Archbold Gordon Grimes, F. N. Grimes and H. A. Schmidt (Dir., 1911), W. O. Phillips (manager)

Washington Telephone Herald Co. (Seattle)
State: Washington
Date incorporated: June, 1911, capital of $500,000 of common stock
Termination: Company forced into receivership by E. E. Davis in October, 1911 due to claimed outstanding $750 debt. Charter stricken during the period from October 1, 1912 to October 1, 1914 for failure to pay annual licence fee
Offices: 339-340-341 Henry building
Officers/employees: Sherwood Gillespy, president; B. J. Klarman, vice president; N. R. Solner, secretary and treasurer; and E. E. Davis.
Service:Demonstrations conducted at company headquarters in June 1911

Pennsylvania Telectrophone Company. (Philadelphia)
State: Delaware
Date incorporated: August, 1913
Termination: Repealed January 23, 1922 (taxes unpaid for two years)
Officers/employees: At incorporation: W. G. Taylor, C. B. Bishop, H. W. Davis -- all from Wilington, Delaware. 1915: Albert D. Miller (president), Joseph W. Kesfler (vice president), Charles F. Helm (treasurer), E. B. Raup (secretary) -- all from Shamolin, Pennsylvania. 1913-1915: James Earl Miller (daily programming and publicity)
Service: Demonstrations, February, 1914, Gimbel Brothers department store in Philadelphia.

Telectrophone Company (Shamokin, Pennsylvania)
Officers/employees: Promoters (1914): Edmond P. Schmidt, James F. Mendels and F. A. Lerch.
Service: Demonstration in March, 1914 at the Graemar hotel.

Telectrophone Company of Southern California.
State: California
Date incorporated: July, 1914
Termination: Charter forfeited for failure to pay license March 4, 1916
Officers/employees: At incorporation: T. S. Fuller, Thomas Connell, H. E. Richmond, Oscar L. Horn, Fred Donoghy (promoted by F. M. LeMonn)

Michigan Tellevent Co. (Detroit)
State: Michigan
Date incorporated: 1907
Termination: Dissolution filed August 2, 1909
Officers/employees: James F. Land (Manager, 1907), Arnold Augustus Schantz (Secr., 1908), E. L. Ford, W. A. Jackson, George M. Black, and James H. Swart

Tel-Musici Company (Wilmington, Delaware)
State: Delaware
Date incorporated: January, 1908
Termination: Unknown
Service: Promoted by George Webb of Baltimore, Maryland. References to operation in Wilmington, Delaware from April, 1910 through April, 1914. (Operated by the Wilmington Automatic Telephone Company, which was owned by the Wilmington & Philadelphia Traction Company.)
Officers/employees: John J. Comer (General Manager, 1909-1910)

The New York Magnaphone and Music Company (New York City)
State: New York
Date incorporated: June, 1911
Termination: Unknown
Officers/employees: At incorporation: George R. Webb, Charles A. Benton, Josiah L. Blackwell, Benjamin Natkins, Adelbert R. Whaley and Oliver W. Doty of New York and Henry W. Webb of Baltimore.
Service: Received charter for "the Borough of Manhattan and that part of the Borough of The Bronx west of the Bronx River" in 1912, but never went into operation.

Musolaphone Corporation (New York)
State: Delaware
Date incorporated: Unknown
Termination: Repealed January 27, 1919 (taxes unpaid for two years)
Service: Demonstrations and promotion March, 1913 & 1914.

Chicago Musolaphone Company
State: Illinois
Date incorporated: May 10, 1913
Termination: Unknown
Officers/employees: John J. Comer (1913), A. J. Bjorn, Albert Hiram Foote (electrician) (1914), Frank Reichmann (1914)
Service: Musolaphone home and business system operated in Chicago by the Illinois Telephone & Telegraph Company, 1913-1914. Located at 111 South Dearborn Street (1914). Affiliated with the Automatic Electric Company and Automatic Enunciator. Promoted under the name Multa Musola, Musolaphone, and Automatic Enunciator.

Oregon Enunciator Co. (Portland)
State: Oregon
Date incorporated: 1913
Termination: January 16, 1917, for failure to file statements or pay fees for two years.
Offices: 83 Fifth Street
Officers/employees: Christopher (Pearse) Scott (pres.& electrical engineer, 12/1912-1913)
Service: Advertised and promoted, 1913. Included references to the Multa Musola and Automatic Enunciator.