After March 20, AT&T to be just that - AT&T

March 02, 1994|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,Sun Staff Writer

An article yesterday gave an incorrect date for the annual meeting of American Telephone and Telegraph Co. The meeting is April 20.

The Sun regrets the errors.

American Telephone & Telegraph Co., a proud name in American business since 1885, was condemned to death by acronym yesterday for the crime of obsolescence.

News of the old name's pending doom came in a packet of materials mailed yesterday to about 3 million AT&T shareholders in advance of the annual meeting March 20 in Atlanta. Unless the shareholders grant a surprise reprieve, the sentence will be executed immediately after the meeting.


The company will be survived by AT&T Corp., its corporate heir. American Telephone & Telegraph's longtime companion, the notorious monopolist Ma Bell, died in 1984 after a severe attack of divestiture.

"Despite some feelings of nostalgia, it's appropriate at this time to adopt as the company's official name the brand name by which we are now so widely known," AT&T Chairman Robert E. Allen said in a statement.

Company spokesman Jim McGann said that "the words telephone and telegraph are not really up-to-date words."

AT&T shed the last vestiges of its telegraph business in 1991, and while it still remains active in the telephone business, the high-technology powerhouse also is involved in such ventures as computers and credit cards.

American Telephone & Telegraph was formed in 1885 as the long distance subsidiary of American Bell Telephone, said Sheldon Hochheiser, historian at the AT&T archives in Warren, N.J.

American Telephone & Telegraph was adopted as the name of the parent company in 1899 in a corporate reorganization, Mr. Hochheiser said. So it remained for 95 years.

AT&T now joins an alphabet soup of initialized companies that once bore actual names. They include USF&G Corp. (formerly the United States Fidelity & Guaranty Corp.) and AT&T's longtime nemesis, MCI (Microwave Communications Inc.).

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