Tough Tidings: The message bearer's woes

The message bearer's woes

From its start in 1851, Western Union built a reputation as America's fastest and trustiest messenger. The company constructed the first transcontinental telegraph line in 1861, introduced telex messages in 1958, created Mailgram service in 1970 and began operating the first domestic satellite communications system, Westar, in 1974. But now Western Union's electronic pulse is barely perceptible. The company said last week that it lost $58.4 million in 1984 on sales of $1.1 billion. Coming on top of a $59 million deficit in 1983, the news fanned speculation that Western Union may be unable to survive. "Its future is bleak," says...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!