Nicely engraved antique stock certificate from the Commonwealth Telephone Company dating back to the 1930's. This document, which is signed by the company President and Treasurer, was printed by Goes and measures approximately 11 1/4" (w) by 8 1/2" (h).
The company dates its beginnings to 1897, when Bert Stroh constructed a telephone line linking his home in Center Moreland, Pennsylvania, to that of a neighbor. His further linkups resulted in the organization of the Center Moreland Telephone Co. in 1902. Three years later this company merged with the Northern Lackawanna Telephone Co. to form Commonwealth Telephone Co. In 1912 Commonwealth Telephone signed a contract with the Bell Telephone Co. that gave it exclusive territorial rights. In return, Commonwealth was linked to the American Telephone & Telegraph long-distance lines and the New York Telephone Co.
Andrew J. Sordoni, a state senator, acquired a controlling interest in Commonwealth Telephone in 1928 through Public Service of Pennsylvania, Inc. and assumed the presidency of the corporation. Headquarters were in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania. In 1930 the company was supplying telephone service in Wyoming, Sullivan, and Susquehanna countries and parts of Luzerne, Lackawanna, and Bradford counties. Commonwealth made money throughout the Great Depression.
By 1953 Commonwealth Telephone was providing service in eight Pennsylvania counties, with 27,186 telephones in service and corporate headquarters in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Sordoni had moved up to chairman, while Andrew J. Sordoni, Jr. had become president in 1950. Commonwealth acquired Tioga County Bell Telephone Co. in 1953, adding more than 6,000 telephones to its system, and Pennsylvania Community Telephone Co., with over 15,000 telephones in service, in 1954. The number of counties covered, in 1960, had reached 16, with 75,046 telephones in service.