Spam messages are the worst. Luckily, today most of them end up in your spam inbox. But what was likely the world's first spam message was delivered via telegraph wires to very confused recipients. In May of 1864, a group of British politicians received a knock on the door with a telegram waiting on the other side. Expecting a note of critical national importance, they were surprised to see an ad inside the envelope. The telegram communicated that a local dental practice, run by "Messrs Gabriel," would be open from 10am to 5pm until October.
Some of the recipients were outraged by this unsolicited advertisement, and even wrote a complaint to the Times: "I have never had any dealings with Messrs Gabriel and beg to know by what right do they disturb me by a telegram which is simply the medium of advertisement?" This event shows how new communication technologies are always met with surprising new ways of using them. Learn about the invention of the telegraph in the video below.