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Manhattan Quotation Company

Charles T. Chester (1826-1880) was an inventor, manufacturer, and dealer of telegraphic apparatus and batteries. He graduated from Yale College in 1845, and installed an upgraded 625-mile long fire alarm telegraph system in New York City in 1870. Chester organized the Manhattan Telegraph Company in 1871. Manhattan Quotation Telegraph Company

manh. teleg 1871/ manh. quo. sept 1872-dec 1877 / brand until dec 1892 in or about the month of September, 1872, the defendant, the Manhattan Quotation Telegraph Company commenced in the city of New York a business of conveying and transmitting intelligence on foreign and domestic financial matters to subscribers, including persons doing business within that part of the city of New York lying south of Chambers street,  

about the month of December, 1872, immediately after the transmission of each message or report by the plaintiff to his said subscribers, the defendant, The Manhattan Quotation Telegraph Company, has by its officers and agents transmitted and made known to its (the said defendant’s) subscribers in the city of New York south of Chambers street, the same information 

another competitor appeared upon the scene, in the shape of the Manhattan Quotation Company, It was organized under the laws of the State of New York, September 2, 1872 which was destined to become the most formidable and successful antagonist of the whole series. The instrument employed by them was devised by J. E. Smith, and required but one line wire, while its effective speed was considerably greater than that of the old instruments — a consideration which the growth of business in the exchange had rendered a very important one. The new concern pushed matters very energetically, and within a year of the time they first opened for business they had put in a large number of instruments. The old organization, naturally, were not disposed to share their large and lucrative business with a rival without a vigorous contest. Accordingly, several months ago the Gold and Stock Company commenced legal proceedings in the United States District Court against the Manhattan Company, alleging an infringement of a number of patents of which they were sole owners. Three distinct suits were instituted — one against the Manhattan Quotation Company, another against certain of its chief officers, engaged in promoting the enterprise, and a third against Mr. C. T. Chester, the manufacturer of the instruments employed. In addition to these, other suits have been commenced against the same parties by the Western Union Company for an alleged infringement of the notorious Page patent, and which are no doubt intended to test the validity of this somewhat questionable monopoly. Furthermore, notice was issued to all the subscribers of the Manhattan Quotation Company that they would be held liable for damages for using the instruments of that company. The Manhattan Quotation Company thereupon promptly issued a circular to their patrons, containing opinions signed by two eminent patent lawyers of this city, to the effect that the instruments used by the Manhattan Quotation Company did not "infringe any patent or patent rights under patents issued to any "parties other than those owned by the said company." On the 30th of December the Gold and Stock Company came out with another pronunciamento, announcing a reduction of terms from six dollars per week to ten dollars per month, to take effect on the first of January. But perhaps the most important feature of this circular was a copy of certain correspondence between the attorneys of the Western Union Company and the two eminent attorneys whose opinions appeared in the previous circular of the Manhattan Company, and was quoted in substance above. One of them says, in his reply: "I have recently examined several of the telegraph printing machines put up and in use by the Manhattan Quotation Telegraph Company in this city, and find that they embrace devices that were not in the machine previously examined by me, and upon which my opinion referred to was based." In conclusion, he pronounces the machine actually in use "An infringement of the 11th, 12th and 13th claims of Page's reissued patent." In reply to this, the Manhattan Quotation Company came out with another circular on the 2d inst., addressed to the bankers and brokers of the city, setting forth that the Gold and Stock Company — especially since their alliance with the Western Union— had become arrogant and unreasonable in their treatment of customers, slow and careless in furnishing quotations and financial news, and impatient of just "complaints," and claiming that they (the Manhattan Company) had furnished a vastly superior instrument; had abolished the former charge of $100 for the introduction of instruments; had reduced the charge for all kinds of service to the sum of $6 per week, and, finally, had contributed to the payment to the Stock Exchange of a rental of from $20,000 to $30,000. In regard to the heavy reduction of rates by the Gold and Stock Company, above referred to, the circular contains the following: And now, practically admitting that a fair competition on the merits of the instruments is too much for them, and that they have no hope of succeeding in their suits for a pretended infringement of their patents, this powerful monopoly has lately announced, by their circular of the 30th of December ult., that they will reduce the price of their stock instrument to $10 a month — thus resorting to the policy of crushing out this company by reducing the charges for similar service below a "living rate." The circular also denies that any deception has been resorted to, as charged by the Gold and Stock Company. The fight is likely to prove a lengthy and obstinately contested one, especially so far as the question of the validity of the Page patent is involved therein — and, judging from universal experience, it seems probable that the contest will end in a consolidation of the opposing interests in some shape, whatever may be the final result of the litigation. Meanwhile, the prospect is that the host of eminent counsel who have been engaged will reap a rich harvest. Nothing like so cheering a prospect, telegraphically, for these gentlemen has turned up since the days when "Fog" Smith, Henry O'Eeilly and Amos Kendall, fought, bled, and paid on many a well contested field

In 1873 the Manhattan Quotation Company entered the field as a competitor with an instrument driven by a weight, and governed by an escapement. It proved to be faster than either the Calahan or Edison printer. The former had been improved somewhat in construction, but the principle remained the same.  

Early in 1873 a formidable competitor, the Manhattan Quotation Telegraph Company, appeared in the field and offered to pay not only fixed annual rent to the Stock Exchange for the privileges enjoyed by the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company, but in addition a weekly royalty on each ticker in use. The rivalry resulted in the immediate reduction of the charge by the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company for the use of tickers from $6 per week to $10 per month. In this way a serious warfare commenced between the rival concerns which proved very interesting to the Stock Exchange by establishing the commercial value of the ownership and control of the quotations made on the floor of the Exchange.

The Manhattan Quotation Company’s instrument was the invention of Mr. J. E. Smith. Its principal features were that the name of the stock and the quotation following were printed on the tape in a single line from a single typewheel, and that it was provided with a unison device. While this instrument was accurate and rapid in its work, its method of printing in a straight line did not give entire satisfaction to subscribers; nevertheless, it was thought to be a part of wisdom to absorb this company, and within a few months thereafter an arrangement for an exchange of stock was completed and a majority interest in the Manhattan Quotation Company’s capital stock was turned over to the treasury of the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company and the competition was over. During this period of growth the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company secured many other valuable inventions, not only for protection in the future but also for the purpose of improving the system then operated. At this time the charge for use of tickers was restored to $25 per month.      

1873 - Baseball. We notice that our telegraphic friends are going into the baseball business with their accustomed energy, and print reports of two games recently played, one between the Gold and Stock and the Manhattan Quotation Companies' employee's, of this city, and the other between two clubs of telegraphers at Toledo, Ohio. Although we do not ourselves find time, or we may say inclination to engage in such exercises, we are always pleased to record such affairs, and to see the fraternity developing their muscle and invigorating their energies by such amusements and festivities. Properly regulated they cannot but prove beneficial, and we have no doubt much interest will be felt in these contests, which are becoming more and more popular every season. Professional base ball playing has degenerated into mere humbuggery and gambling, but the amateur performances are of an entirely different character. For the time, therefore, as a faithful chronicler of whatever interests the telegraphic fraternity, reports of athletic and festive sports of telegraphers are welcome to the columns of The Telegrapher. - 1873 (June 14), The Telegrapher, Volume 9, Number 361, Page 148 Base Ball - The first match game of the season between the employees of the Gold and Stock and those of the Manhattan Quotation Company took place at Brooklyn, on Saturday, 7th June. The game was called at 5.05 P. M. Owing to the lateness of the hour but seven innings were played. The following is the score: G&S 40, Manhattan 23. - 1873 (June 14), The Telegrapher, Volume 9, Number 361, Page 150

1873 - Sharp Practice,—Surreptitious Cable Quotations. - As is generally known, there is a very active competition going on between the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company and the Manhattan Quotation Company of this city, in the business of financial reporting. Upon the ground that all is fair in such contests, both parties are doing their best to secure a larger share of this business. Growing out of this contest was the following, which took place recently, and which for a time created considerable talk and excitement in financial circles, and, as is alleged, developed the fact that one of the employees of the Gold Room was in the habit of betraying the secrets which he was expected to guard. It is stated that the Manhattan Quotation Company, having met with flattering success in reporting stock quotations, entered upon a new field of operations about the 1st of June. The capacity of their instrument for furnishing quotations being greater than is required for reporting the stock market, they commenced furnishing foreign quotations to their subscribers, thus entering into direct competition with Mr. J. J. Kiernan's Financial News Bureau. Mr. Kiernan furnishes foreign and domestic financial news through the medium of a printing instrument popularly known as the "Financial Instrument." One of these machines is located in the Gold Room, for the information of members of that board. Mr. Kiernan baring suspected that there was a "leak" in his system in that vicinity, sent a bogus London dispatch over the circuit which runs through the Gold Room, giving the price of Erie 1/4 per cent, below the market. The transmission of this dispatch was witnessed by an officer of the Gold Room, and its appearance upon the printed slip of the Manhattan instruments shortly afterwards, confirmed the suspicion that items of this kind were appropriated without due credit or payment of tolls. One of the doorkeepers of the Gold Room, being suspected of obtaining dispatches in this clandestine manner, was brought before the officers of the Exchange, where, it is stated, he at once made a written confession of his operations, acknowledging that be was paid for this questionable service. The following dispatch appeared upon the Manhattan instruments immediately after the above revelations: "The 3 P. M. London quotation sent over our wires today was taken from a public bulletin posted in the Gold Room. This bulletin is now alleged to have been bogus. This company does not claim to transmit original London quotations as yet." - 1873 (June 14), 

The suit brought by John J. Kiernan (representing the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company) against the Manhattan Quotation Telegraph Company, for alleged interference with his news and cable dispatches, has failed. The motion for an injunction against the Manhattan Company, which was argued before Judge Barrett, of the Supreme Court, last week, was denied by the Court, with costs. - J. N. Ashley, 1873 (Nov 22) 

jan 1874 The Gold and Stock Telegraph Company have recently issued a circular to its subscribers, calling attention to the fact that that Company was the pioneer in the business of reporting by telegraph the fluctuations in the prices of gold and the various securities dealt in by the Exchanges; that it had brought the system to a high point of perfection by patient industry and zealous effort, and had expended a large sum of money in acquiring patented improvements of great value in the line of its business, but that a company calling itself the Manhattan Quotation Company, has appeared on the field with an instrument which in several respects infringes upon various of the patents owned by the Gold and Stock Company, for the use of which instrument the Manhattan Company have induced a number of persons to subscribe. An action at law has been brought to prevent the use of this instrument. There is a bad feature in this case. It seems that the Manhattan Company are misleading the public and its patrons as to the true condition of affairs, and in this manner are rendering the latter liable in damages to the Gold and Stock Company, in the event of the suits which have been commenced to restrain its operations being decided adversely. And there seems to be no doubt of this result. In support of the claims made, the Manhattan Company are publishing what purports to be opinions of leading patent lawyers in favor of the originality of the instrument now being used. These lawyers, in letters embodied in the circular referred to, state explicitly that the instruments upon which their opinions were based were not the instruments against the use of which the Gold and Stock Company are taking action. This looks very much like fraud, inasmuch as the Manhattan Company, although informed through its President of these later letters of the counsel, have not thought proper to correct the misapprehension of the public on this point. Much could be said here in favor of maintaining vested rights, but it is not necessary. The good sense of the public will at once allow, without taking into account the fact that the Gold and Stock Company originated the business and has served them well for years, that it should be protected in the enjoyment of the property which has been honestly acquired by invention or purchase, and that it should not be annoyed by piracies, attempted or real. The facilities possessed by the Gold and Stock Company in acquiring and distributing the peculiar information desired by subscribers are very great. In neither quantity nor value can its reports be equaled, and so long as the existing arrangements between it and the Western Union Telegraph Company continue, this condition will remain. A speedy decision upon the points in dispute is to be hoped for, and we trust that the courts will no longer allow a delay which serves only to prolong the injustice under which the Gold and Stock Company are laboring. The Western Union Company being largely interested in the operations of the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company, it is desired and expected that all employees of the Western Union Company will, to the utmost of their ability, facilitate the business, and in a general way promote the interest of the Gold and Stock Company

The_New_York_Times_Thu_Jan_29_1874_page 8 - F. A. Abbott, a witness for the defense in the case of John J. Kiernan vs. the Manhattan Quotation Company, now at hearing before Rufus F. Andrews, Referee, being charged with stealing the plaintiff's news, refused to answer the question as to how he obtained news for the defendant, and was sent before Judge Lawrence for contempt. 

1876 - Telegraphic News as Property. — An Important Legal Decision. An important decision was rendered on Wednesday of last week by Judge Van Brunt, in a case heard before him several months ago, in the Supreme Court, Special Term, in this city. The principal point involved was the proprietary right of telegraphic news. The facts of the case may be briefly stated as follows: John J. Kiernan arranged with the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company to take charge of the business of furnishing foreign news received over its wires to their customers below Canal street, and he also arranged with the Associated Press to receive their foreign financial dispatches thirty minutes before general distribution. Nearly simultaneously with these arrangements was one made by one Abbott with the Manhattan Quotation Company 

Report of the New York Produce Exchange - Page 24 New York (N.Y.). Produce Exchange - 1878 - ‎29 May 1877 - Petitions to have Kiernan's News Indicator and the Manhattan Stock Indicator placed on our floor, were also favorably responded to by the Board, so that members now have access to every class of mercantile, financial and general news that is to be found anywhere. 



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