Corporations: New Life in Old Wires

To millions of Americans, the 113-year-old Western Union Telegraph Co. means bicycling messengers in green uniforms, miles of wire-carrying poles along railroad tracks and yellow shafts of light from all-night offices. The telegram business still accounts for more than half of the company's revenues, but it is dwindling along with the poles and messengers. Venerable Western Union is transforming itself into a new kind of telecommunications giant, using the latest pushbutton automation to provide a range of services as broad as electronic wizardry allows. This week, from the top of its...

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