Bell Labs: Imagination Inc.

With 22,500 people on its payroll (3,000 of them Ph.D.s), 19,000 patents and an annual budget of $1.6 billion, Bell Laboratories is a mighty engine of research and development. It is possibly the finest, and certainly the largest, private operation of its kind anywhere.

The think tank of the Bell System, Bell Labs is also a gigantic down-to-earth workshop, where imagination is turned into practical products and services. To one degree or another, Bell Labs has been responsible for most of the innovations in voice communications in this century. That is why AT&T was...

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