Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Has the World Sent its Last Telegram?

Government Technology

The world is saying goodbye to telegram communication. The last telegram will be sent in India next month.

June 18, 2013 By Sarah Rich

Those who thought telegrams were already a retired form of communication might be surprised they’re still in use today, but not for much longer. The messaging service will officially come to an end next month when the world’s last telegram will be sent in India, according to the Huffington Post.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), India's state-owned telecom company, said the reason for discontinuing telegram services is due to revenue losses traced to the rising trends of SMS messaging and smartphone use, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

In 2006, the U.S. retired the method of communication when Western Union decided it was time to discontinue telegrams. Western Union telegrams were in use for more than 150 years. The first was sent by Samuel Morse, creator of Morse Code. His telegram was sent from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore on May 24, 1844, to his partner Alfred Vail.

The message said, “What hath God wrought?”

Over the last century and a half, the U.S. has had some memorable telegrams. Here’s a look at some of the nation’s most well known messages delivered via telegram.

George Kennan, a U.S. diplomat who helped establish the first American embassy in the Soviet Union in 1933, sent an 8,000-word telegram -- now famously dubbed the “Long Telegram” -- in 1946 from Moscow to the Department of State addressing his views on the Soviet Union, and American policy toward the communist state, according to His message began with the assertion that the Soviet Union could not foresee "permanent peaceful coexistence" with the West.

The first successful flight, completed by the Orville and Wilbur Wright, was announced by telegram from North Carolina in 1903. The message said, "Successful four flights Thursday morning," according to The Telegraph.

Upon the detonation of the hydrogen bomb, also known as the Manhattan Project, Edward Teller, one of the lead physicists on the project, sent a telegram message in 1952 to former colleagues in the Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory in New Mexico, according to American Heritage.

The message simply read, “It’s a boy.”

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