Today in 2013, the last traditional telegram message went out.

Yes, I said 2013! Just a decade ago, parts of the world were still using telegrams to send and receive messages!

That doesn’t necessarily mean there were people tapping out code like Samuel Morse did in 1844.

But still, these telegrams were going out well over a century after the invention of telephones, let alone smartphones with cell service and text messaging.

And they came long after the internet gave us all sorts of ways to connect.

So why were there still telegrams here in the 21st Century?

Well, for a lot of reasons.

That last telegram was sent in India, a large and populous country where not everyone could afford or even obtain a smartphone, landline or computer.

For some people, a telegram might have been the cheapest, fastest, easiest way to get a message out.

Telegrams were also used widely by official sectors of the country, like governments, banks and lawyers.

The military banned the use of phones for certain kinds of requests and messages, but servicemembers could send telegrams in those cases.

And like so many Bollywood movies portrayed, some couples who had eloped to avoid disapproving relatives let their families know about their marriages through telegrams.

Sometimes, it’s just that people keep using older technologies even after new ones become popular.

After all, Western Union kept its US telegram service in place until 2006.

The Indian state-run telegram service shut down in 2013 over high costs and declining demand.

There are still telegram-like services, but you have to first input the message on the web, which is not really the same.

That’s probably why there were lots of people who wanted to send an old-school telegram one last time while they could.

The very last one was sent by Kavita Waghamare.

It was a poem paying tribute to her mother, her country and the steadfast telegram workers.

Today in 1885, Sarah Goode became the first Black woman to receive a US patent.

She invented a cabinet bed for people who lived in small apartments.

During the day it was a roll-top desk, and at night you could reconfigure it and go to sleep.

So she kind of invented Transformers.

It’s been 7 years since the last telegram was sent in India: Facts about the ancestor of telephone (India Today)

India Marks End of Era with Last Telegram (Voice of America)

Sarah E. Goode (

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Image via National Postal Museum/Creative Commons