Of steam engines and cell phones

Yesterday was one of those days I about had to beat myself up
to get moving. Everything hurt, my brain was disconnected, and
my body said ‘oh hell no!’ to anything that involved movement.
Not sure what the problem was but hopefully it’s just part of
getting older.

This morning I was thinking of Sprint Corporation for no
apparent reason and discovered something I did not know. You may
know that Sprint is a telecommunications company that provides
internet and cell phone services. But did you know its roots
can be traced back to a railroad?

The Brown Telephone Company and the Southern Pacific Railroad
are both said to be origins of Sprint. Brown Telephone began in
1899 to give phone service to rural areas in Abilene, Kansas
and was started by Cleyson Brown.

The Southern Pacific Railroad was founded in the 1860s as a
subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Company. The company operated
thousands of miles of track and the telegraph wire which ran
alongside the track. In the 1970s the company was looking for
ways to use these lines for long distance calling.

This spawned several lawsuits between the company, AT&T, and
the FCC. Prior attempts to offer long distance calling wasn’t
approved by the FCC so the railroad used a loophole that would
allow a fax service called SpeedFAX.

Southern Pacific Communications came up with a new name to
tell the difference between the switched voice service from
SpeedFAX and came up with SPRINT. This stood for Southern
Pacific Railroad Internal Network Telecommunications.

In 1982 GTE Corporation bought the telephone operation from
Southern Pacific. In 1992 Uninet (United Telecom Data) bought
enough of the Company to acquire the original company and in
1992 United Telecom officially changed its name to Sprint
Corporation. And that’s my story.

Enjoy our Friday as the weekend has begun. As soon as I have
another cup of coffee before getting busy doing what should have
been done yesterday.
Comments are always welcome.

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