NEW YORK -- New York talked to London today.
From a common telephone high up in an office building here Walter S. Gifford, president of the American Telephone and Telegraph company, spoke to Sir G. Evelyn Murray, secretary of the British General Postoffice, who was sitting in his office in London.
The voice of Gifford was carried across some 2,000 miles of the Atlantic and Murray's voice was carried back in response.
Begins new era
It marked the beginning of a means of communication across the Atlantic. Where today's inauguration of trans-atlantic telephone service may lead, none can tell. But many in New York today thought back to times beyond their own experience, when communication with Europe was by ships which took weeks to bring their burdens across the water, how the transatlantic cable has struggled along in its beginnings as an expensive luxury over which less than a million words a year were transmitted.
Then they looked at the six-day schedules for the mails from Europe today and the millions of words the cables now carry, giving almost instantaneous service when required; and their imaginations became dizzy with the thoughts of what the beginning of telephone service may mean.
The service is available to all telephone subscribers in either city.
Thirty put in calls
As the first trans-ocean service was opened for business, it appeared likely that some of the 30-odd New Yorkers who had put in calls to London would have to wait until Saturday to talk, although extra hours of service may handle the traffic. The United Press was informed that similar applications had been made in London. Only one conversation can be held at a time.
Gifford and Murray's conversation formally linked London's 369,000 telephones with the 1,186,573 telephones in New York.
Costs $25 A Minute
Trans-atlantic conversation will cost $1,500 an hour, or $25 a minute, with a flat charge of $75 for the first three minutes or portion thereof.
Public radio telephone service was inaugurated between the metropolitan areas and London in a five-minute conversation between Gifford and Sir Evelyn which was distinguished by the most annoying static encountered since tests of the apparatus began. But, despite the atmospherics, the sixty odd newspaper men and officers of the American Telephone and Telegraph company were thrilled to hear words spoken in London simultaneously made audible by means of radio telephony on the 26th floor of the American Telephone and Telegraph company.