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singing_telegram.jpgMessages announcing births, deaths, congratulations, and world wars came in Western Union’s cryptic telegrams for more than 150 years. The last one has been sent.
The company quietly ended telegram service last Friday, and has not even got a message about it on its website.Western Union now wires nothing but money. It did not announce who sent or received the last telegram.
When the first trans-Atlantic telegram was sent in 1861, it was as astounding as the first computer, or the first fax. Telegrams were used to announce the first flight in 1903 and the start of World War I. During World War II, the sight of a Western Union courier was feared because the War Department, the precursor to the Department of Defense, used the company to notify families of the death of their loved ones serving in the military, according to Associated Press.
I got telegrams congratulating me on my college graduation and my first wedding. I sent a few too. But Western Union’s biggest innovation was surely the singing telegram, and it won’t be sending any of those anymore either. Not to worry, there are still plenty of singing telegram companies around.