Re: Western Union Public Telegram Offices

> 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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