Telex Teletype Machine What It Is And What A Telex Operator Does
Fresh out of high school I started my first full-time job as a Telex Operator at Farmer’s Life Insurance Company on Mercer Island, in the beautiful state of Washington. The year was 1976 and at that time there were many jobs in this field.
What Is A Telex Teletype Machine
A telex or teletype machine is similar to a typewriter. It is a printer that is connected to a telegraph type machine that transmits data to another telex machine via telephone circuits using electrical signals. When you type your information on the keyboard it is typed onto a tape, which is coded. There is paper in the telex as well for you to keep a back up copy of what you are sending. Once you are finished typing your information you then dial the number on a rotary dialer. When the telex machine that you are transmitting to answers, you then press a button and send your tape through a tape reader. A confirmation of receipt along with a printed copy will be sent to the sending telex machine once the data has been received.
Using The Keyboard
Typing was done on manual keys that had to be pressed fairly hard in order to perforate the tape. If you happened to make a typo and caught the mistake right away you could correct it. Catching the mistake later meant that the entire document you were typing had to be retyped.
Many companies had the telex in an enclosed room, as telex machines were very noisy making it annoying for co-workers in and around the same area as you. The machine that I used was in a large room with just patricians. In my particular job I would get all my telexes that needed to be sent typed and ready throughout the day. The last two hours before I was to go home I would send all my telexes.
Mornings after sending the telexes I would first check the machine for all printed out confirmations. Each one was then torn off the machine and matched up to the coded tape that had been sent the previous night along with the original message that each department had given me to send. A photocopy was made to go into my files. All messages had to be proof read to make sure everything was correct before delivering the sent messages to each department.
Qualifications At That Time To Be A Telex Operator
- Type at a minimum of 45 words per minute with minimal error
- Be organized
- Be able to handle stress well
All in all I found being a telex operator to be a pretty good first job in an office environment.
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