locked Re: Coal in Tennessee

George Eichelberger


I don’t think we have ever scanned any of the cipher books in the archives. They were changed periodically and we have several. 

The use of ciphers seems to have dropped off when telegrams started using teletype machines rather than an operator. I imagine more than one telegraph operator made some money “on the side” when he saw something interesting in a telegraph message.

Here is an example cipher from the same archives Presidents’ file box 124, File 5127 dated 8-3-1903. Someone, using a cipher book has typed in the replaced text above transmitted version.

 PS If folks will review the list of Presidents’ files scans I posted and find something interesting, I will post some examples from that file.

On Feb 6, 2022, at 3:28 PM, aramsay18 <aramsay37@...> wrote:

Ike, very interesting letter.  Thanks for sending it.  Do you have their cipher book?  It would have likely been largely phrases, company names, placenames, management names, etc. encoded in some sort of numeric substitution.

Best Regards from Berryville VA
Andy Ramsay

On Sun, Feb 6, 2022 at 10:21 AM George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:
Although very little coal has been mined along the CNO&TP and H&NE for years, the early 1900s Southern Railway Presidents’ file include multiple files on new discoveries, possible new rail lines, SR or competing, and export opportunities (mainly through Charleston). The attached three-page letter is one of a series of telegrams, some in cipher, that gives a good indication of how important coal traffic was. The wording of the letter is somewhat unusual as it describes a possible L&N “invasion” into Southern territory.

The detailed list of Presidents’ files that have been scanned I posted yesterday shows multiple examples. (There are many more files to be scanned…volunteers are needed.)


PS The L&NHS is in the process of moving their archives into the TVRM archives building at Chattanooga. Both groups will be working in the archives Feb 18 and 19th. Also, it is early in the planning process (and still tentative) but now is the time to plan to go to TVRM around Oct 1st for a combined SRHA-L&NHS convention. If (!) there is enough interest and arrangements can be made, a “Railway Prototype Modelers” (RPM) meet will be scheduled there at the same time. Details will follows as they are decided but it may be time to plan to go to Chattanooga, and bring your best prototype models for several busy days at TVRM.

<1903-8-3 L&N "invasion" Pg 1 copy.jpeg>

<1903-8-3 L&N "invasion" Pg 2 copy.jpeg>

<1903-8-3 L&N "invasion" Pg 3 copy.jpeg>

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