Independent, A True Visionary
Frank H. Woods,
Sr. (1868-1952) founded Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph in 1903 and served
as President and Chairman of the Board until 1946 when he resigned as President.
He remained as Chairman until his death in April 1952.
Mr. Woods, an
attorney, was associated with two Lincoln law firms from 1892-1910. He
became head of Woods, Woods and Aiken in 1919. Mr. Woods' association with
the telephone business began formally on March 7, 1903 when he and three
others signed articles of incorporation as Western Union Independent Telephone
Company which later became Lincoln Telephone & Telegraph and which
officially began business in June, 1904 with 1,800 subscribers.
of Frank H. Woods has been recreated at the telephone
museum named in his honor. Photographs of Calvin
Coolidge, General F. M. Woods (Mr. Woods' father) and
General John Pershing are displayed above his desk. Mr.
Woods was involved in coal mining, dairy, farming and
acquisitions, among other things.
was keen during this time. The independent companies banded together in
state associations and a national association. Frank Woods, Sr. became
the first president of the United States Independent Telephone Association
in 1910. This brought him national recognition and new responsibilities.
Mr. Woods soon
saw the need to eliminate wasteful competition between independent companies
and the Bell system. In 1910 he announced he was in favor of universal
telephone service and interchange of service among all telephone companies.
He was appointed to a committee of seven to explore the possibility of
national toll connections and other independent needs.
Held in high
esteem, Mr. Woods was commissioned to act for many independent companies
in the negotiations with Bell even to the point of selling their companies
if necessary. Mr. Woods soon earned the nickname of the "great independent."
After negotiating for seven months with the Bell System, the committee
of seven reached an agreement known as the Kingsberry Agreement, eliminating
competition between exchanges and furnishing national toll service to all
of phone service to the whole United States resulted in establishing the
industry on a sound basis. Mr. Woods, a true visionary, pioneered the use
of the dial for automatic telephones. LT&T was the first large company
to use this system and the first successful dial telephone company in Nebraska.
Mr. Woods also
contributed to the direction of the Automatic Electric Company, which now
makes all types of telephone equipment, Sahara Kohl Company and Addressograph-Multigraph,
where he served for over 20 years. In addition to his business interests,
he was very active in civic organizations.
His most notable
philanthropic achievement was the founding of the Woods Charitable Fund
in 1941 which still continues to this day. Mr. Woods was elected President
of the National Telephone Association in December 1909. Due to his activity
and vision in the formative years of independent telephony, it was fitting
that the Nebraska chapter of the Independent Telephone Pioneer Association
(ITPA) be named after him on June 21, 1941.
Frank H. Woods was
among 16 original telephone pioneers inducted into the ITPA
Hall of Fame in 1965.
I about I tour
I visit I history