II-106430 | Union Assurance Society office, Montreal, QC, 1894

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Union Assurance Society office, Montreal, QC, 1894
Wm. Notman & Son
1894, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , commercial (1771) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell, an American of Scottish origin (who also lived in Canada, at different periods of his life) uses a device he has invented to speak to his assistant, Thomas Watson. Working in his studio in Boston, Bell says to Watson, who is in another room: "Mr. Watson, come here! I want to see you." It's the first telephone call in history.

The telephone is a major instigator of a revolution in telecommunications. Montreal has telephone service starting in 1880. Telephones make their initial mark in the offices of Montreal companies, where they speed up the productivity of workers. Then they appear in large stores, before making their way into the homes of wealthy Montrealers at the beginning of the 20th century. By this point, telephone technology has been considerably improved, and the telephone soon becomes the most popular means of mass communication. Hello! Hold the line!

Source : Brand New and Wonderful: The Rise of Technology [Web tour], by Jacques G. Ruelland, Université de Montréal (see Links)

  • What

    Any modern insurance company must be equipped with telephones. However, in 1894, the norm is one wall unit per office.

  • Where

    The Union Assurance Society of London opens a Montreal office in 1894 after acquiring the Eastern Assurance Co. of Canada. In 1895, it becomes the Union Assurance Co. of Canada.

  • When

    Bell Telephone Co. of Canada is founded on April 29, 1880, in Montreal. It is a branch of the American company.

  • Who

    Before 1904, only the most progressive of companies use telephones. Individual Montrealers start installing phones in their homes around 1910.