Western Union transmitted its first halftone photograph in 1921. AT&T followed in 1924, and RCA sent a Radiophoto in 1926. The Associated Press began its Wirephoto service in 1935, and held a trademark on the term AP Wirephoto between 1963 and 2004. The first AP photo sent by wire depicted the crash of a small plane in New York's Adirondack Mountains.
Technologically and commercially, the wirephoto was the successor to Ernest A. Hummel's Telediagraph of 1895, which had transmitted electrically scanned schellac-on-foil originals over a dedicated circuit connecting the New York Herald and the Chicago Times Herald, the St. Louis Republic, the Boston Herald, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Édouard Belin's Belinograph of 1913, which scanned using a photocell and transmitted over ordinary phone lines, formed the basis for the AT&T Wirephoto service. In Europe, services similar to a wirephoto were called a Belino.