Props: Canadian National Telegram from 1931(ish)

Enjoying the now-disappeared sunshine that we had here a week or so ago, I went for a bike ride and came across a fairly common sight in any city: boxes of stuff left on the curb. These boxes were of a slightly different breed. Rather than the usual pile of broken student stuff, these looked awfully like my grandfather’s basement once did. My curiosity led to me root around a little, and lo did I find but this: A blank telegraph form from around 1931.

Front of the Telegraph
Front of the Telegraph
Back of the telegraph
Back of the telegraph

(I have the full form scanned at 300 DPI but it is more than 50mb large in that size. The above images are smaller but still at 300 DPI)

Dating is a little hazy, but I surveyed the few others I could find online. These facts quickly became clear:

1. Canadian National Railways (parent of Canadian National Telegraphs) came into existence in 1918 but didn’t truly exist as a railway until when they took over Canadian Northern Railway in 1922, who had previously taken control of Great North Western Telegram. Notice the similar logo?

Great North Western Telegram from 1917
Great North Western Telegram after the 1917 Halifax Explosion.

2. W. G. Barber was appointed General Manager at some point in 1923 or 1924. Canadian National Railways Systems 1923 Annual Report listed C. E. Davies as Acting General Manager, Telegraphs, and the 1924 report lists W. G. Barber. (All can be found on McGill University’s excellent Canadian corporate annual reports)

3. The 1930 Report is the last to list Barber as General Manager, but the 1931 is missing the executive list and by 1932, D. E. Galloway is now listed as Vice-President in charge of Telegraphs

4. Also in 1924, CN acquired some telegraph lines here in British Columbia. This is likely what led to the advertisement on the bottom of this form

5. In 1926, the form looked almost the same (source):

1926 Canadian National Telegraph Form
1926 Canadian National Telegraph Form

6. However, by the 1940’s the form cited D. E Galloway rather than our now forgotten Barber (source): 1943 Telegram7. All of this lead me to the holy grail: an identical copy of the telegram form I have (source):

Telegram-Bennett1Enjoy. Hope you get some good use of this.

4 thoughts on “Props: Canadian National Telegram from 1931(ish)”

  1. Wow, what a find!
    As a teacher, this would be an amazing item to use when teaching history (and language).
    And as a student of history and proud Canadian, this is just plain cool.

  2. I worked for CNT from 1955 to 1962 and at that time J.R.White was General Manager and John Ford was Chief engineer, Ed O’Brien, Asst Chief Engineer. I know Abraham Harry Blevis was wire chief at that time but I don’t know when he came to this position nor when he retired. He started at CNT before 1928. I worked all across Canada supervising cable installations( telegraph/voice/video) and microwaves systems.

  3. I worked for CN Telegraphs at 531 Granville St., Vancouver, from 1959 to 1962 in the phone room, taking telegraphs over the phone and reading incoming telegraphs on the phone to recipients in the Vancouver area. There were about 8 telephone operators and we were always BUSY! People sent telegrams because long distance phone calls were very, very expensive in those days.

    1. Hi Judy, I worked with Ted Ball and Herby yip in the service department. I was an address clerk. Remember a telephone supervisor getting annoyed with me, this was in the fall of 1962, so you likely knew her,.
      I keep searching the internet for CN Telegraphs and there is not much on there, seems to have disappeared. Often wonder if anyone else is out there that remembers the company.
      The manager at the time was a Mr Williams.

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