Canadian Independent Telephone Print Ad

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In Canada at the beginning of the 20th century, the Bell Telephone Company was expanding rapidly, but was concentrating first on the more heavily populated areas. To fill the need in rural areas, small independent companies were started. By 1921, there were around 680 non-Bell companies in the province of Ontario alone.

The Canadian Independent Telephone Co. (CITCo), Limited, founded by William A. Woods, a Hamilton businessman, was incorporated to manufacture and supply equipment to these small telephone operations. Originally located at 18-20 Duncan Street in Toronto, the company later moved to larger premises on Adelaide Street. CITCo owned and operated its own radio station in Toronto, a marketing strategy that was common at the time. It was listed in Canadian radio magazines as station CKCE, operating on 450 meters. This station listing appeared from July 1922 until May 1924.

The company was experiencing financial difficulties in 1923, and the Canadian Machine Telephone Company filed for bankruptcy. Its rural telephone systems were placed under receivership and were eventually taken over by the Canadian Bell system in 1925. The last advertisements for CITCo products appeared early in 1924, suggesting that the company lasted as a manufacturer of broadcast receivers for about a year.

Since CITCo was one of the first manufacturers of domestic radio receivers in Canada, it attracted the attention of young men seeking a career in radio work. One of these was Ted Rogers, who visited the Westinghouse laboratory in Pittsburgh in 1923 on behalf of the CITCo. There he met Frederick S. McCullough and soon acquired the Canadian rights to the McCullough tube.

Eventually the Rogers family acquired the Canadian Independent Telephone Co.’s assets. These included the Canadian Radio Corporation trade name and the De Forest and Armstrong patent rights. The Rogers family went on to build Rogers, a communications business still in family hands today.

-Robert P. Murray & Herb K. Frederickson

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