TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Western Union Public Telegram Offices

Re: Western Union Public Telegram Offices

Fri, 10 Feb 2006 04:30:23 -0500

>> I don't know about telegraph rates, but long distance telephone rates
>> were based on distance. A call 1,000 miles away cost considerably more
>> than a call 100 miles away. If telegraph rates were flat by distance,
>> then telegrams would be more likely sent for longer distances than
>> short distances.

> Telegraph rates, like telephone rates, were set by distance. I once
> had occasion to send a local telegram, and I believe they were common
> in some cities.

North by Northwest was on TCM a few hours ago. The plot hinged on Cary
Grant wanting to send his mother a telegram across mid town Manhattan
as she was at a friends where they had just moved in and the phone
wasn't yet installed.

My how times have changed.

Also for years you couldn't place many types of toll calls to or from
xxx-9xxx numbers as almost all pay phones were numbered that way. I
worked at a business with such a number in the early 80s and calling
the office collect was a big hassle at times.

David Ross

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Your complaint about exchanges which
used '9' as the first digit in the suffix is very true. Many years ago
when I was living in Chicago, I knew a guy whose mother had a phone
on the LOngbeach-1 (312-561) exchange. Her number was LOngbeach-1-9xxx
and she had a terrible time placing long distace calls or receiving
collect calls. Operators would never believe she was giving her number
correctly or that she had a private (not a coin) phone. Every other
telephone in Chicago had been converted to (1) 911 calling; (2) long
distance direct dialing (3) in most instances totally ESS while
LOngbeach-1 kept plugging along as a step-by-step office for several
more months. It was in the Chicago-Edgewater central office up on
Carmen Street around Ashland Avenue somewhere. PAT]

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