Why STOP Is Used In Telegrams

Gratuitous advice about things that are useful and helpful to know.
Forum rules
Post concise and to the point answers not intended to be lengthy discussions.
Topics may be useful advice, tips, or trivia.
The general Code of Conduct rules apply to this forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Yogi
Oracle Class Poster
Oracle Class Poster
Posts: 7013
Joined: 04 Aug 2007, 19:37
Location: Chicagoland
Contact:

Why STOP Is Used In Telegrams

Post by Yogi »

Myth: Telegrams used STOP in place of punctuation because punctuation cost extra

The real story: Morse code originally had only capital letters and no punctuation. This generally was not much of a problem, but during the first world war when telegrams were widely used in the military, a misunderstood message could be disastrous. The custom arose of using the word STOP between sentences in military telegrams so that any ambiguous phrases would not be misinterpreted. The custom caught on with the public. Even after punctuation was introduced, people continued fashionably using STOP between sentences in telegrams even though they didn't have to.

User avatar
Ice.Maiden
Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel
Posts: 70045
Joined: 14 Aug 2009, 23:31
Location: Peak District

Re: Why STOP Is Used In Telegrams

Post by Ice.Maiden »

Good grief! I can imagine that some messages could get very misconstrued.

As a matter of interest, I've never known anyone to send a telegram. Can you still send them??

User avatar
Yogi
Oracle Class Poster
Oracle Class Poster
Posts: 7013
Joined: 04 Aug 2007, 19:37
Location: Chicagoland
Contact:

Re: Why STOP Is Used In Telegrams

Post by Yogi »

I received one not to many years ago as a birthday greeting. I guess Western Union is still in business, but telegrams are about as useless as FAX machines these days.

User avatar
Ice.Maiden
Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel
Posts: 70045
Joined: 14 Aug 2009, 23:31
Location: Peak District

Re: Why STOP Is Used In Telegrams

Post by Ice.Maiden »

I thought they were completely obsolete, but woah! I've just checked it out, and was surprised how they've come on!!!

http://www.britishtelegram.com/

Probably a boon to those without email access, etc. Unlike the US, there are still quite a lot of people over here who don't have, or use, the latest technology.

User avatar
pilvikki
Royal Poobah Penguin
Royal Poobah Penguin
Posts: 40729
Joined: 07 Aug 2007, 23:32
Location: france

Re: Why STOP Is Used In Telegrams

Post by pilvikki »

yes, telegrams. been eons for sure.

but the STOP word makes sense.

User avatar
Ice.Maiden
Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel
Posts: 70045
Joined: 14 Aug 2009, 23:31
Location: Peak District

Re: Why STOP Is Used In Telegrams

Post by Ice.Maiden »

It sure helps! :lol:

Post Reply