When telegrams were the accepted and most common form of efficient communication, individuals were often charged by the word. In 1891, an English journal put forward the following competition in relation to this fact:
There were 450 competitors for the prize offered by an English journal for the longest twelve word telegram, and the winner put in the following, which was accepted by the telegraph officers for transmission for sixpence, the regular rate: “Administrator general’s counter-revolutionary intercommunications uncircumstantiated. Quartermaster general’s disproportionableness characteristically contradistinguished unconstitutionalists’ incomprehensibilities.”
-Henry Williams in A Book of Curious Facts, 1903
The man who sent it, C. Smith, won his sixpence fee back plus an additional forgotten prize.