Historic Documents, Stock Certificates

Arizona Telephone and Telegraph Co. – Tucson, Arizona Territory. Printed by Western Bank-Note Co., Chicago, IL. Steel engraved vignette – very special, in that it shows every facet of the telephone business.
Billings Automatic Telephone Company—Billings, MT. Printed by Goes/McKee Printing Co, Butte, MT. This certificate was printed locally by a union print shop. Historically, unions have been very strong in Montana. Rocky Mountain Bell had a contract with the IBEW, Montana in 1899.
Colorado Telephone Company, The--Denver, CO. Local design by Collier & Cleaveland Litho, Denver, Colorado. This vignette features Denver’s beautiful front range skyline, and is the first of many custom-made stock certificates used by the company. The owner of this certificate, Frederick O. Vaille, was the founder and only president of the Denver Dispatch Company that began telephone service in Denver in 1879. With 161 customers (including the Rocky Mountain News), this was the 17th exchange in the nation to open, and was one of the largest in the world.
corn belt
Corn Belt Telephone Company--Waterloo, IA. Printed by Goes/Parrot & Sons, Waterloo, IA. Founder’s Certificate. W. B. T. Belt was an early shareholder in this company. Belt followed Casper Yost as president of NWB in 1919.
Dakota Central Telephone Company--Aberdeen, SD. Printed by Goes/Parrot & Sons, Waterloo, IA. Begun by John L. W. Zietlow as the Dakota Central Lines Telephone Company. The new name came in 1904. This may be one of the most interesting telephone companies in the American West. The history of John Zeitlow and Dakota Central is told in Move Over Mr. Bell by Allen Gates and Robert Perry.
Denver Telephone Company, The--Denver, CO. Printed by The W. H. Kistler Stationary Co., Denver, CO. This is truly a mystery company. Other than the 40 certificates, we find no other references to this company in our archive. Colorado Telephone/Mountain States and Rocky Mountain Bell executive officers owned the vast majority of shares in this company, and historic Denver citizens W. J. Brown, W. D. Wynkoop, F. H. Reid, E. M. Burgess and Howard Vaille owned one share each.
Detroit Telephone Company, The--Detroit, MN. Printer unknown. This company was purchased by Tri-State Telephone company around 1911.
eastern or
Eastern Oregon Telephone Company--Arcadia, OR. Printed by Goes/ Prudhomme, Printers, Bookbinders, Lithos, Portland, OR. Purchased by Rocky Mountain Bell in 1906, this company was merged into Malheur Bell, a fully owned MST&T subsidiary.
Fremont Telephone Company--Fremont, NE. Founder’s certificate. Printed by Goes/Parrot & Sons, Waterloo, IA. When the company was sold, its president was Charles E. Hall, who also was the president of the Nebraska Telephone Co.
Leadville Telephone Company, The--Leadville, CO. Locally designed and printed. Between them, Horace Tabor and his first wife, Augusta, owned 2,660 shares of the 2,672 shares of stock issued by the Leadville company. After buying the Leadville company in 1888, Colorado Telephone decided to connect Colorado’s two largest cities, Leadville and Denver. It took four attempts to finally cross Mosquito Pass (alt. 13, 180 feet). As a result of the “Leadville Line” experience, engineers came up with the heavy-duty “H” fixture telephone pole configuration it took to carry telephone wires over the Rockies.
nw telx
North Western Telephone Exchange Company of Minnesota—Minneapolis, MN. Locally designed and printed. This is the “root” company of Northwestern Bell. This exchange opened for business in January of 1879 making it the 16th Bell System telephone exchange to open in the nation.
Northwestern Bell Telephone Company--Omaha, Nebraska. (Merged with Mountain Bell and Pacific Northwest Bell to form U S WEST, 1984). Printed by American Bank Note Co. Generally, stock certificate vignettes don’t feature a living “normal” person. This vignette features Angus A. Macdonald, a toll patrolman, who walked a key section of the New York City-Boston-Maine toll line for 28 straight hours during the Great Blizzard of 1888. Angus was featured in a famous painting - “Spirit of Service” - by Frank T. Merritt which was commissioned by AT&T to honor all of its employees.
Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company--Ogden, Utah Territory. Custom designed and printed by A. Gast & Co. Lithographers, St. Louis, Mo. This company began in 1880 as the Rocky Mountain Telephone Company, then after an agreement with the American Bell Telephone Co., Boston, it reorganized itself into the Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Co. In 1911, it merged with Colorado Telephone Co. and Tri-State Telephone Co. to become Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Co., 1911.
Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company. Custom designed and printed by Gibson Miller & Richardson, Omaha, NE. The fist full of lightning vignette is interesting and the diamond formation of cross-arms on the telephone pole is even more interesting. Since we’ve seen no evidence of such construction being used in the telephone business, it may be only an “artistic design.”
Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company. Custom designed and printed by Kelly & Co. Litho, Salt Lake City, UT. Territorial certificate. This custom vignette provides the certificate’s owner with a puzzle to figure out the company’s acronym. The interesting diamond cross-arm arrangement from the previous certificate remains.
Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company. Custom designed and printed by Utah Litho Co., Salt Lake City, UT. H. L. A. Culmer, Salt Lake City, did the original trademark artwork of the mountain scene placed inside the bell on this certificate’s vignette. An authorized full-size, color reproduction of this art can be seen in our museum at 1005 17th Street.
Shakopee Telephone Company, The--Shakopee, MN. This company was started by “Dr.” H. P. Fischer to help him save his failing hot mineral spring and mud bath spa. After rolling the spa into the phone company, the phone company’s books contain entries pertaining to beds, springs, mattresses, insulators, pillows, blankets, telephones, sheets, poles, washing machines, rubbing alcohol, pikes and so on.
ten sleep
Ten Sleep Telephone Company--Ten Sleep, WY. Formed in 1902, this company was purchased by Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Co. in 1903. Unique certificate, size, paper quality and design above average.
tri state
Tri-State Telephone Company, The--Denver, CO. Printed by Goes/The W. H. Kistler Stationery Co., Denver, CO. Merged with Colorado Telephone Co and Rocky Mountain Bell to form Mountain Bell, 1911. Tri-State was a fully-owned subsidiary of the Colorado Telephone Co. and was formed to operate exchanges in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas and to bypass regulation by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.
Uintah Telephone Company--Vernal, UT. Printed by Goes. Issued/uncancelled vignette seems to be a slightly stylized “Wonderphone” manufactured by the Cracraft-Leich Electric Co.
Yellowstone Park Telephone and Telegraph Company-- Bozeman, MT. $500 gold bond. MST&T gained ownership of this company’s assets when Rocky Mountain Bell merged with Colorado Telephone in 1911, but the first full-fledged telephone service inside Yellowstone Park began when MST&T opened an exchange for the National Park Service on Aug. 1, 1927.
Zenith Telephone Company-- Augusta, MN (exchange in Duluth, MN). Printed by Goes. The company was purchased by private interests in 1910. Control was purchased by Tri-State Telephone & Telegraph Co. in 1912, and NWB assumed control of Tri-State in 1933. This certificate represents the control of the Zenith Telephone Co. being sold to the Tri-State Telephone and Telegraph Co.

You can find many more documents in our archives. Contact us at 303-296-1221 or via email for information.

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