1874 to 1899

1874 – The telephone is born in Canada
Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone in Brantford, Ontario, only 103 kilometers (64 miles) from Nortel Networks present world headquarters. Patent rights go to the National Bell Telephone Company (U.S.) and Bell Telephone Company of Canada.
Manufacturing Plant 1882 – Bell Telephone Company of Canada branches into manufacturing
Faced with the death of the one man who supplied all its telephone units, and the prospect of losing Canadian patent rights if it didn’t manufacture domestically, Bell Telephone Company of Canada launches its own manufacturing division in Montreal. The Mechanical Department opens with two employees and grows to 13 employees by year end.
1886 – The first switchboard
The Mechanical Department manufactures its first telephone switchboard — the 50-line Standard Magneto Switchboard.
1890 - Expansion to meet Bell Canada contracts 1890 – Expansion to meet Bell Canada contracts
Ground is broken for a new factory to house the Mechanical Department’s 200 employees, who by now are fabricating nearly all the equipment used by Bell in Canada.
1895 – Defining the organization around customer needs
Canada evolves from a cluster of insignificant British colonies into a country, with a transcontinental railway and the beginnings of a national phone system. To take advantage of opportunities to sell to other operating companies, and to sell non-telephone apparatus, the Northern Electric and Manufacturing Company Limited is incorporated.
Northern Electric Logo
Fire Alarm 1895 – Identifying and meeting a critical requirement
Fire can still ravage a city block in the time it takes horse-drawn fire engines to respond. Early warning is critical. The Northern Electric Manufacturing Company develops The No 3. Signal Box, one of the first fire-alarm boxes.
1899 – Growth by targeted acquisition
Bell Telephone of Canada purchases a wire and cable manufacturing company, which will eventually be merged with the telephone equipment manufacturing subsidiary.