Western Union - Computer Definition
The Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company, formed in 1851, became the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1856 through a series of acquisitions. Western Union completed the first transcontinental telegraph line in 1861, which put the Pony Express out of business. Western Union introduced the stock ticker in 1866, a standardized time service in 1870, and a money transfer business in 1871. In the fall of 1876, the American Bell Telephone Company offered to sell the Bell telephone patents to Western Union for $100,000.Western Union President Carl Orton reportedly replied,"What use would this company make of an electric toy?" In 1877, however,Western Union became convinced of the telephone's importance, and began to compete fiercely against AT&T until it lost a patent lawsuit and exited the business in 1879.Western Union later was a leader in intercity fax service, microwave and satellite communications, and Telex service. On January 27, 2006, the company discontinued telegram service, and is now a financial services company. The last 10 telegrams included birthday wishes, condolences on the death of a loved one, notification of an emergency, and several people trying to be the last to send a telegram. See also fax, microwave, Pony Express, satellite, telegram, telegraph, and Telex.