TV Cream

Bric-a-Brac: T is for...

Telex Machines

Get me Dusseldorf!Back when businesses which made deals ‘over the pond’ really were big, the only way to break news of your latest Supermousse shipment was via Telex, an important-looking metal bench incorporating a typewriter keyboard, a telephone dial, and a constantly chattering teleprinter styled in the Results Service manner, attended by a perennially busy yet unruffled secretary and routinely consulted by a stern-looking executive who would frown, tear off a sheet of recently spewed-up paper, study the figures, then frown some more. Then the fax came along and spoiled everything by being desk-mounted instead of desk-engulfing, plasticky instead of metallic, whiney instead of clattery, and easily available in Ryman’s of all places.



  1. iStuart

    February 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I have to correct you on the size of the first faxes. I was at Airtours in 1984 when we got our first one. It was at least 60cm x 60cm x 20cm and weighed about 15-20KG and it was 100{30e2395aaf6397fd02d2c79d91a1fe7cbb73158454674890018aee9c53a0cb96} made of metal. I looked at it and I said “Why does it say FAX on it?” and my boss replied it’s short for facsimile” “Oh” I said. (It was a month or two before we got one installed in a resort, and, therefore, able to see it in use.). We still used the telexes for years after because so few companies had faxes then.

  2. johnnyboy

    February 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    We got a fax machine installed in our office @ 1986. It used thermal fax paper, which we always ran out of at the most inopportune moments (mainly because we kept tearing big reams off so we could play thermal noughts-and-crosses with our fingernails). It was a replacement to something called ‘Mufax’, which was a huge (and I mean huge) wet-paper – A3 sized – jalopy thing that printed off aviation charts using a helical scan roller and blade on the other side. Very Heath Robinson, but it worked I suppose.

  3. johnnyboy

    February 9, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    ..oh, and we had a Telex machine as well, but it was small and had a green screen (said Telex on it – so must be correct), so we didn’t have the 4.45pm footy results-type clatter drowing out the beep from the upstart fax machine in the corner

  4. Adrian

    February 9, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    LOL – presumably the same sort of ‘executive’ who would say things like “I need that report by close of play today!”

  5. Richard Davies

    August 10, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    I can remember seeing old letterheads with a telex number on & wondering what it was for.

    Apparently companies with a telex machine could have their telegrams relayed through rather than the post office sending someone round on a moped.

  6. Geoff Kole

    December 9, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    My Dad’s office had one and there were only a few “girls” in the day who sent them regularly. They had truncated messages such as…. Need more metal//Stop//What happened?//Stop//Urgent!//Stop

    I figured out how to send telexes however the “girls” (grown woman) felt I was encroaching on their turf.

    My Dad’s company was Generation Metals that was based in Hauppauge, NY 11788. We serviced the Aerospace Industry. RIP Bernard Kole (Bernie). You were a great Father

  7. Richard Davies

    December 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I remember Adrian Mole being confused by the telegram from his mum that read “Adrian Stop Coming Home Stop”.

  8. Stuart Walsh

    August 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    I worked for a travel company in the 80’s and occasionally one of our customers would peg out or get killed whilst on holiday. When this happened the ops dept would contact a specialist company to bring the stiff back to the UK. That company’s Telex callback was EMBALM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top