BELL-3ANG | Telephone News

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1953, 20th century
Bell Canada Historical Collection
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Keys to History

Microwave Network Established Under the Direction of Thomas Wardrope Eadie, President of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada from 1953 to 1963

When he started with the Bell Telephone Company of Canada in 1923, Thomas Wardrope Eadie had just graduated in engineering from McGill University. Over the next three decades, the engineer would hold a number of technical and administrative positions. Radio waves were one of his passions. He was one of the architects of the cross-Canada telephone system using microwave technology. In July 1953, he became company president, a position he held until 1963.

Eadie guided Bell as it built a cross-Canada microwave network. The network, considered to be one of the great technical achievements of the 20th century, consisted of 139 stations spread out over 6,200 km, making it the longest in the world. The towers act as relays to transmit communications by radio waves (microwave networks). By the time Eadie retired as president, there was a telephone in most homes in the areas served by Bell.

  • What

    The Canadian microwave network improved long-distance telephone communications and made television broadcasting possible.

  • Where

    Microwave networks were pioneered in the Maritimes. When Prince Edward Island was connected to the mainland in 1948, it was a world first.

  • When

    During the Second World War, a number of microwave applications were developed, including radar. In the 1950s, the nature of telecommunications changed with the advent of television in 1952.

  • Who

    Heinrich Rudolf Hertz was a German engineer and physicist. In 1888 he proved the existence of the electromagnetic waves theorized by James Maxwell in 1873. He has lent his name to the hertz (Hz), a unit of frequency (one cycle per second) used to measure radio waves.