How the Telegram Era Ended



Western Union was formed in 1856 to exploit the hot technology of the telegraph to send cross-country messages in less than a day, and for more than 150 years, messages of joy, sorrow and success came in signature yellow envelopes hand-delivered by a courier. However, in 2006, the company made the decision to transition from a communications company to a financial services company. Telegrams reached their peak popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, when it was cheaper to send a telegram than to place a long-distance telephone call. With long-distance rates dropping and different technologies for communicating evolving, Western Union phased out couriers in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By 2005, only 20,000 telegrams were sent at about $10 a message, mostly from companies using the service for formal notifications. The last 10 telegrams included birthday wishes, condolence messages, an emergency notification, and several people trying to be the last to send a telegram. So, what was the very last telegram sent? "The telegram is dead Stop”