It has survived the Great Depression, two world wars, and various recessions throughout its illustrious century of existence.

Yet, through it all, the Ironton Telephone Company managed to prosper, and this year celebrates its 100th year in business.

For its achievement, the company has been selected as Business of the Month by the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce.

It's an accolade the business doesn't take lightly, according to Craig Brady, manager of information systems.

"Being selected as the Business of the Month is a great distinction and we as a company are proud to be selected in our 100th anniversary year," Brady said. "There are not many telecommunications companies left in this country where you can go into the front door and pay your bill or check your DSL modem at our DSL kiosk."

Brady said Ironton Telephone Company "prides itself in our hometown service", and added that it hasn't had a general rate increase since 1975.

"Ironton has been able to hold the line on costs by diversifying and first providing Business telephone systems outside our territory and after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 competitive local and long distance telephone service in the rest of Pennsylvania," he said. "Just this year, we can service the citizens of New Jersey as well."

What's more, he said the company continues to add over 100 new subscriber lines each week.

"These additional revenues allowed our customers the largest free calling area in the Lehigh Valley and eventually reduced telephone service costs," he said. "We expect to be serving our customers well into the next century."

The company was founded in 1909 by a group of businessmen in Ballietsville, Brady said. He said "Butcher" Bill George later purchased the then fledgling phone company because he heard of a pending rate hike by Bell of PA., which would have made a phone call from his Ballietsville farm to the stores he supplied in Allentown and Bethlehem a toll call.

By the late-1920s, Ironton had 57 telephone customers, Brady said.

Still owned by the George family, the company has 4,200 Ironton customers, and also serves 42,000 competitive dial tone customers in eastern PA and New Jersey, he said.

William D. George II had owned two cable television operations; one in Lehigh County, and one in Berks County, before he sold both to different Service Electric Cable TV companies, Brady said.

"Partnering with the oldest cable TV franchises in the country positioned Ironton to provide telephone service to more customers than they could alone," he said. "This partnership, great service, competitive pricing and a strong dedication by its employees and owners has made for the right formula for success."