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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Western Union: End of An Era

For 145 years Western Union delivered telegrams across the world. With no fan fare at all that era has ended. Western Union is out of the personal telegram service.

Live Science technology is reporting:

"The decline of telegram use goes back at least to the 1980s, when long-distance telephone service became cheap enough to offer a viable alternative in many if not most cases. Faxes didn't help. Email could be counted as the final nail in the coffin."

They further report that the first telegram was sent in 1844 by Samuel Morse. I can remember as a kid I had my own private telegraph line that went to my neighbors house. We constantly tapped out messages to each other.

This story also coincides with a Roanoke Times Story: Former employees get a giggle out of recalling days gone by. A story of a Roanoke singing telegraph company that would dress in a variety of costumes from Wonder Woman to Chippendale dancers, and now they can only recount in memories the interesting and odd times they had.

When I was young, I can remember composing a Christmas greeting with my Grandmother for delivery by Western Union. She kept reminding me of the cost of each individual letter. My first experience with editing.

Thanks to the SW Virginia Law blog for bringing the Roanoke Story to our attention.


At 1:06 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

I was sad when I read your post. I have never sent or received a telegram in my life, but have seen them delivered plenty of times on tv and in movies. I know that communications are better now, and this is no longer needed, but it seems a bit sad to see it go silently into the night.

At 10:48 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thanks for the comment Melissa, I too am sad about this. I recently saw a show about Thomas Edison on the History Channel. It was amazing that the inventiveness he used in refining the telegraph signal and used it for stock tickers. Everything electronic works from the idea of the on off switch.


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