The Telegraph Regulations and e-mail

The Telegraph Regulations and e-mail
Cheshire Catalyst


What is a Telegram?
A telegraphic dispatch
"Telegram." Dictionary,
(Accessed 2020-07-28)

Telegrams are meant to be 'dispatched' by electrical or electronic means'. Morse code is electrical in nature since it is represented by simple on and off switches of electrical current, symbolized by dots for short on periods, and Dash for longer periods of the telegraph key being held down.

Emile Baudot of France took this simple means of telegraphic transmission, and converted it to a code that could be sent via a typewriter like keyboard, called the Baudot Code, and Telex was born

a communication service involving teletypewriters connected by wire through automatic exchanges
"Telex." Dictionary,

As a 'phone phreak', I found the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) early, and found many of the Bell System Practices that made up American telephone service were translated into the 'Reccommendations' of the ITU. As an international Standards body, the ITU cannot Require anything of a soverign government (while phones are operated by 'recognized private operting agencies') like AT&T in the US and Bell Canada in Canada, they are operated by Government operated Post Offices in many other countries), so the ITU can only make 'Reccommendations' to those governments, which are what the ITU standards are called, yet tend to have the Force Of Law in most countries.

As I became more interested in the data circuits of the telephone network, I found myself in the realm of the Telegraph Regulations, since the 1 and 0's of the data world were translations of the Dits and Dahs of the Morse Code world of the Telegraph. It was how the World transitioned into data from 'what they already had', and crafty old Emile was there waiting for them with his Baudot code working the Telex circuits. So while Baudot was institutionalized as ITA3 (International Telegraph Alphabet #3), ASCII, the American Standard code for Information Interchange, was established at ITA5 (ITA 3 & 4 were Forward Error Correcting (FEC) versions of Baudot for radio transmission). ITA1, of course, was the Morse Code.

By the way, the = (equals sign character) in Morse Code is made up of the run together letters B -... T - (-...-), and is used to mean 'Break Text' between paragraphs in long telex messages, and also between the Text of a Telegram, and the Signature of the sender. The Telegraph Regulations state: The Signature shall be indented 5 or more spaces', which is why I indent my Signature in emails, though the software many times removes excess spaces. I consider e-mails, and even SMS text messages, to be the direct linear descendant of Telegrams. When I 'sign' SMS messages, I use an = character before my 'Signature'.

This is how I send a text = Cheshire )

In my e-mail messages, I use two 'New Line' (Line feed) characters betwen the last line of my message and the start of my 'Signature Tag'. The ITU Telegraph Regulations state that in a Telegram, "the signature shall be indented 5 or more spaces", and for those of us that follow Internet Regulations, we know the difference between MAY and SHALL. (MAY means optional, and SHALL means must!). Some email systems take multiple spaces as wasted space, and deletes most of it, so I use a sequence of <space><dot><space> and then another eight more spaces, so that my signature gets indented a bit, if not completely to ITU standards.


Richard Cheshire is known in phreak and hacker circles as The Cheshire Catalsyt, a pseudonym he's used since publishing in the TAP newsletter of the 1970's and 80's. He is currently retired, and is a volunteer at space museums near the Canaveral Spaceport, and hosts rocket launch viewing at Space View Park in Titusvile FL. You are invited to join him for a launch any time.