Chain letters, 1935 style

28 12 2013

I’m doing some family tree research on my summer break and part of that process is to check digitised newspaper articles for family notices (births, deaths, marriages, etc.). As I’m checking dates, names etc. I’m also correcting the electronically translated text for the entire section, not just for my relatives’ information. (The National Library of Australia has this amazing online collection of digital articles [http://trove.nla.gov.au/] that can be edited by anyone, thus harnessing the true power of crowd sourcing — for example, by noon today, some 150,000 edits had been made to newspaper text.)

Anyhow, I’d just finished editing the family notices for a particular date in 1935, when I saw this at the end in the classified advertisements:

ad_the_West_9_Aug_1935

Very strange! Fancy asking someone in 1935 to copy a letter 157 times (that would be BY HAND), then giving that letter to 891 friends (I’m not sure how 157 letters becomes 891… and even you did have 891 friends [or even 157 friends] then no doubt you’d have to mail some of these HANDWRITTEN letters at YOUR cost…) and then 793 of those friends have to purchase these ‘cabin weekends’ so that you get 33 million cakes at 74 cakes a day for 54.5 years! Even using a calculator I couldn’t get that maths to work.

And there’s no information on how you go about purchasing a ‘Fremantle cabin weekend special’.

Very weird… perhaps it was a coded message for someone? Or maybe someone was predicting Facebook and the like where you *could* have 891 friends and post something to them all 😉


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28 12 2013
treadlemusic

Wow! That’s a bit mind-blowing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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