Before the telegram service was discontinued by Deutsche Post, thousands of people took the opportunity to send a last telegraphic greeting at the turn of the year. On December 31 - the last day before the offer was discontinued - 3,228 telegrams were sent in the Federal Republic, Deutsche Post reported on Wednesday. For comparison: In previous years, between 200 and 300 telegrams were sent – per month.
Invented in the 19th century, the telegram was one of the fastest ways to transmit important information well into the 20th century. The text dictated in person or by telephone at the post office or in the telegraph office was usually sent by telex to a post or telegraph office near the recipient and then delivered by courier.
Since the usually quite high price for a telegram was based on the number of words, a separate language style developed with short forms instead of complete sentences. A typical formulation was something like: "Arrive Saturday 8 p.m. Grandma". With the spread of the telephone and even more so with the advent of the internet and smartphones, the telegram dramatically lost its importance.
Recently, it has hardly been used by private customers, emphasized the Post. Companies would sometimes still use it for reminders or as a token of appreciation for long-standing employees on company anniversaries, but even that had become less and less common. In 2018, Swiss Post had already stopped sending telegrams abroad. At the turn of the year, it discontinued the service completely, following the example of many other postal companies around the world.
A mini telegram with up to 160 characters recently cost at least 12.57 euros, a maxi telegram with up to 480 characters 17.89 euros - in the simple version. With a decorative leaf, 21.98 euros were due.