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186: The Telegram Dictation Service

02/09/2011 - 08:45 AM

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The photograph, which appeared in “Selezionando. Notiziario della 1a Zona” in March 1961, captures an operator for the "186" telegram service at her work. After typing out in duplicate the texts dictated by the subscriber over the telephone, the operator would insert the message into a case and forward it to the main telegraph office using the vacuum tube postal system.
At the time, the service was expanding rapidly. For instance, in Milan the number of telegrams sent in 1950 was 525,937; by 1960 the number had risen to 1,798,2334. Similarly, 288,669 telegrams were sent from Turin in 1950, and 479,749 in 1960.
Today the telegram dictation service, now on the wane throughout the world, remains active in Italy. In the United States,  Western Union, the company that first introduced the telegram back in 1861,  has decided to retire the service and replace it with the more modern and practical e-mail.

 

The historical  image contained in this page is the property of Telecom Italia. Please contact the Telecom Italia Historical Archive calling the number + 39 0115729401 to be allowed to use it.