James Mayes

Did recruiters exist in 1891?

In Recruitment, Social Media, Twitter on April 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Throughout the ages, communication has been fundamental to mankind’s development.  Twitter is one of the current platforms of choice – and many love it’s 140-character limit, pushing people to think more carefully about what they actually write. Extracting value from every word. As you’ll probably know, I’m a fan too, an ardent one.

I was therefore fascinated recently when I came across an excerpt from The Anglo-American Telegraphic Code of 1891 (3rd Edition!).  Telegraphs were very much the Twitter of their day, with language evolving to meet the brevity required; many of the services of that time charged by the word, so code books evolved to help people save money.  I’ve picked a few out which have entertained me:

Acescet                Has met with a trifling accident

Causson               Give liberally for charitable purposes

Insidiator            How much is your life insured for

Schottish             The wet season now prevails

Employ                 Take every precaution against escape

Titmouse             I accept with pleasure your invitation for the theatre tomorrow evening

Certainly, I prefer these to the text/SMS abbreviations we see more and more of – but then I fail to see the beauty in words like “ur”. It just hastens the decline of the oft-abused apostrophe. Should I see text language as a natural evolution too?  Time will tell.  For now, I’m going to leave with one final thought.  I don’t know for certain whether recruiters existed in 1891. I’m will to guess they did though, on the basis of one last code word:

Antalgic                Application was received, acted upon and rejected

Apparently, feedback wasn’t too detailed back then!

[Credit goes to Schott’s Almanac 2010 for bringing this slice of history to me]

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