Unofficial Background on the
North Pittsburgh Telephone Company

 

A short background on the former North Pittsburgh Telephone Company of Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.

Early North Pittsburgh History

From Cranberry Township History, part 11:

In 1906 a group of businessmen from Gibsonia went to Pittsburgh to ask the telephone company there to extend service to their area. But the phone company had more requests for service than it could handle. The men were urged to start their own local telephone company. So they organized the North Pittsburgh Telephone Company to service northern Allegheny and southern Butler counties.

By 1908 the telephone company had 147 customers, mostly in Richland Township along Route 8. In 1910 a telephone exchange office was opened in Wexford. By 1912 phone service had reached Warrendale.

Telephone lines were then extended north from Warrendale and west from Mars into Cranberry Township. But many people didn't subscribe to phone service until the 1920s and 1930s. In fact, only about one third of U.S. farms had telephone service in 1950.

Early telephones had no dials or pushbuttons. To make a call, people picked up the receiver, turned the handle, and waited for an operator to place their call. Antique telephones of the type used in the early 1900s may be viewed today at the North Pittsburgh Telephone Company offices in Gibsonia.

Six to ten families shared the same party line. If someone else was talking when you wanted to call, you waited until they were finished. The first private line in Cranberry Township was installed at Meeder's Market at Criders Corners (modern intersection of US Route 19 and PA Route 228). A telephone exchange office was opened nearby on the old Mars-Criders Road. It is still known as the "Criders Corners" exchange.

From Richland Township, Township History:

In the early part of the year 1906 several of the leading citizens of the community of Gibsonia and the vicinity met to discuss plans for obtaining telephone service. After discussing the matter with the Central District Printing and Telegraph Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (later Bell of Pennsylvania), certain officials of that Company suggested that those interested in telephone service North of Pittsburgh should organize a local company which could be connected to the Telephone Company by trunk lines. On November 1, 1906 a perpetual charter was secured in the name of North Pittsburgh Telephone Company operating under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Within a period of two years from the inception of telephone service the company installed 258 telephones or certificates by bequest. On December 4, 1909 a new building was ready for occupancy. A new Western Electric switchboard was installed and the new exchange named "Gibsonia." The Wexford exchange was installed on July 1, 1910, and Curtisville during World War I, to serve the coal industry.

An interesting sidenote -- until October of 1917, all lines and telephones of the company were serviced by horse and buggy. At this time it was decided to modernize, and an automobile, "Ford, Model T type," was purchased. Mars was added in 1923 and Curtisville in 1940. 

Other History of Note:

Freeport, Pennsylvania originally had telephone service from the Freeport Telephone Company. North Pittsbugh Telephone Company purchased the Freeport Telephone Company in 1954. In downtown Freeport, there is an apartment complex that to this day (circa October 2005) that still has a sign that says "Freeport Telephone Company" over the doorway. A picture of this can be found on the North Pittsburgh Central Office Buildings Pictures & Information page.

For a technical history of North Pittsburgh Telephone, please visit the North Pittsburgh Telephone Technical History Page.

Modern History

In the mid 1980s, North Pittsburgh formed a holding company and became part of North Pittsburgh Systems, Inc. (NPSI). NPSI is a holding company and through its subsidiaries, provides telecommunication services and equipment in western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh. Its subsidiaries primarily include North Pittsburgh Telephone Company (NASDAQ: NPSI); Penn Telecom, Inc.; and Pinnatech, Inc.

North Pittsburgh Telephone operated as an incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) that provided various services to approximately 71,500 business and residential telephone lines in southwestern Pennsylvania (northern Allegheny & southern Butler counties, and a small portion of Westmoreland county).

It also provides digital subscriber line (DSL) services. Penn Telecom, through its optical fiber cable network, offered broadband services, competative local exchange carrier (CLEC) services and long distance services, as well as provided traditional key and private branch exchange (PBX) systems to business customers. Pinnatech principally provided Internet and broadband-related services primarily though their Nauticom brand. North Pittsburgh Systems provided directory advertising and billing, as well as sells telecommunications equipment. 

In 2007, the company was sold to Consolidated Communications of Matton, Illinois - who also owns and operates telephone services in Illinois and Texas. The sale was completed in January 2008.

Official Links

Consolidated Communications
The new owner of the North Pittsburgh Telephone Company as of January 2008.

North Pittsburgh Systems, Inc.
North Pittsburgh Systems was created in 1986 as a holding company that owns and operates North Pittsburgh Telephone Company, Penn Telecom, and Nauticom.

North Pittsburgh Telephone Company
Founded in 1906, NPT is an incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) that serves several suburban communities north of Pittsburgh, PA.

Connect Time
Digital Subscriber Line services offered by North Pittsburgh.

Penn Telecom
Created in 1982, Penn Telecom serves as the Business, Competative Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) and long distance inter-exchange carrier (IXC) arm of North Pittsburgh Telephone Company.

Nauticom
The Pinnatech divsion of NPSI (marketed as Nauticom) started out as FirstNet Internet services in Glenshaw in 1994. North Pittsburgh purchased FirstNet and rebranded it as Nauticom. Nauticom now has their own offices in nearby Wexford, PA.

Note: Telephone World has no connection with Consolidated Communications, NPSI or any of its affiliated companies. These links are for users of this site to find the official documentation of these companies.

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Page last modified December 20, 2008
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