What is TELEX at all? TELEX (= TELeprinter EXchange) is a world-wide public teleprinter network. It operates with the ITA2 (international telegraph alphabet Nr.2) and a transmission speed of 50 Baud. It is an independent network and can be seen as the oldest of all existing data networks and forerunners of fax and eMail service. In those days times data terminals were mainly mechanical teletypewriters as described on these web pages. Today, almost before the disconnection of the TELEX network , the few subscribers who stilll remain-, are usually using PCs with with TELEX software or Internet/TELEX gateways. Thre is still a need of TELEX as it is still in some communication-technologically more underdeveloped areas of the world the only reliable type of telecommunications with foreign countries. Also in the maritime radio service over satellite (Inmarsat C) and SITOR over short waves TELEX is still in use.

Since however basically the days of the TELEX network are counted, here a small compilation of the most important data of the German TELEX networks in chronological order.

A good source for information about TELEX in general is Larry's website.

TELEX related items

History of the German teleprinter (TELEX) network:

1926 First longer persisting pilot trials with teleprinters after the start-stop system on lines between Berlin - Chemnitz and Nuernberg -Munich. License agreement of the Lorenz AG with Morkrum Kleinschmidt Company to the producing of teleprinter apparatuses.
1929 First larger application of start stop teleprinters at Berlin police with 300 machines and manually swithcing center. First strip printers, later followed by a message distributing system with 300 page printers.
1930 First private networks at banks, big vompanies and press agencies.
1930 Start of pilot trial for a public teleprinter network (later TELEX) in Germany.
1931 Definition of the ITA2 as telegraph alphabet and telegraphing rate of 50 Baud as world-wide standard for public teleprinter networks.
1933 First automatic switches were installed in Hamburg and Berlin.
1935 Number of subscribers reached 100, transition from trial to normal operation.
1939 Number of subscribers reached 700.
1942 Germanwide teleprinter network with 6 main exchanges and 28 sub exchanges (see map) using the TW39 system. With the following countries international traffic existed: Switzerland, Holland, Denmark, Belgium, England, Boehmen Maehren (after the war Czechoslovakia), France, Hungary
1945 After WWII, there were already 3000 subscribers at the end of year 1945.
1945/46 Interconnection of various smaller manually switched networks in the Soviet occupation zone (later GDR) to a government network the forerunner of the later public TELEX network of the GDR (East Germany).
1948 First starts for the setting up a new teleprinter network after the war. Now separately into east and West Germany. Reopening of teleprinter production at the C.Lorenz AG with the types Lo15 (page printer) and T36Lo (strip printer). At Siemens with the model T37.
1949 210 subscribers connected to 7 switching centers. (GDR)
1950 Number of subscribers 2360 (West Germany), 500 (GDR)
1953 Number of subscribers 8600 (West Germany), 800 (GDR)
1954 Number of subscribers 14000 (West Germany), 1000 (GDR)
1955 Introduction of of the TW55 switching system (a copy of the pre war TW39) in the GDR.
1973 Introducion of the EDS (Electronic Switching System) in West Germany.
1976 First time electronic teleprinters are used. (SEL Lo2000 and Siemens T1000).
1981 Number of subscibers 140,000 in West Germany.

Since mid of the 80's there is a constant decrease of subscribers in favor of fax.

There was again a small peak for telex with the reunification of the two German states. In contrast to telephone lines (which were almost not available, telex lines between east and West Germany were available. With the reunification and the fast set up of a modern telecommunications infrastructure in East Germany by the German Telekom this status however lasted only for a very short time.

In the age of Internet, ADSL and ATM speeds of 50 Baud (bit/seconds) can be seen only as historical.

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