As Daniel Stowell discussed in his post on routing, it was sometimes necessary to add null words to the end of messages to ensure that every line was the same length. The person who composed the message didn’t care how long the telegram was, so it was up to the telegraph operators to fill in the blank space. When confronted with a message like this:
the operator had to add two words to round out the line. In this situation the operator chose the mundane option:
There are plenty of examples of niceties being passed over the wires, but there are also some delightful insights into the personalities of the operators. I call these little discoveries Telegram Tails, and will be sharing them regularly on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #telegramtails. If you find any good examples, be sure to post them on a talk board or put them on social media!
Tags: ciphers, codebooks, codedmessages, militarytelegraph, telegrams, telegramtails, telegraph, telegraphoperators, uscivilwar
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