Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Of course it will not do for the ordinary, person to attempt the extreme condensation practiced for example by foreign correspondents of the larger newspapers who, because their cable tolls are high and words are precious, make use of a variety of ingenious combinations which are interesting merely as phenomena peculiar to the handling of cable dispatches for newspapers.

For example, a press correspondent might ,first write this dispatch:

"The enemy has not yet been met or even seen on account of the entanglements thrown up during the night," etc.

Revised for the cable, this dispatch might read:

"Enemy unmet unseen account entanglements upthrown night."

Needless to say, this form is unsuited to the ordinary business or social telegram.

A Small Booklet by Nelson E. Ross, 1928

via daily jive


FXH said...

I miss telegrams.stop.

Kent said...

Boy, grumpy!

"When telegrams are received without the well known title of "Mr." do not censure the sender as lacking in respect. To insure accuracy in transmission the title is omitted..."

"If an employee of the telegraph company calls your attention to an obvious error, do not be offended"

" If you sign your name "John" followed by a series of hen tracks, neither can that be transmitted. You may have intended the word for "Johnson," but you cannot reasonably expect the telegraph employee to be a mind reader as well as an operator."

And the coup de grace:

"Suppose, for example, you are dictating a telegram to a person whose initials are M. E. or M. B. That may sound to the receiving operator like N. E. or N. B. Instead of losing your temper, you have merely to say, "M for Mary,"...

boynton said...

I miss telegrams semi-colon not the singing

a series of hen tracks?

Gianna said...

i don't miss them. i only got bad memories of telegrams on account of the fact that the only one i've ever received was from the police requiring me to attend court because my lover had been arrested.
but i digress. so now i will just stop STOP warmly STOP

boynton said...

I was reminded of the bad as I googled some images. That wartime fear of the message.
Or tidings of joy...