Telegraphed Messages Had Hilarious "AutoCorrect" Mistakes
Have you ever sent a text message only to later find out your phone's software AutoCorrected the shit out of it, making it unreadable or, even worse, completely changing the meaning? For example, in trying to fix what it perceives as a spelling error, the phone might change "basket" into "casket," or "gasoline" into "Vaseline," or "hi grandma" into "I smoke meth and worship strange gods."
"Nyarlathotep? You know we're a Baphomet family."
Well, telegraph users in the 19th and early 20th centuries had to put up with a surprisingly similar annoyance: Just because you sent the right signals through the wire didn't necessarily mean the same words would reach the other side. The Victorian version of AutoCorrect was called "hog-Morse" after the tendency for the word "home" to come through as "hog," resulting, for example, in a message that said "home sweet home" becoming "hog swat hog." Other examples include turning "cow" into "coat," "wife" into "wig" and "U.S. Navy" into "us nasty," which had to be the name of at least one '80s R&B group.
This led to awkward situations, like the time a commission firm in Richmond, Virginia, received a telegram inquiring about the price of "undressed staves" ... where "staves" (wooden posts) had accidentally been replaced with "slaves." An employee at the firm replied: "No trade in naked chattel since Emancipation Proclamation."
Via Wikimedia Commons
Trolling, gratuitous racism -- that guy single-handedly invented the Internet.
Another time, the message "Governor general turns first sod" (referring to a railway ceremony in London) came through as "Governor general twins first son," which was further expanded by a news agency into "Lady Kennedy, the wife of Sir Arthur Kennedy, Governor-General of Queensland, yesterday gave birth at Government House, Brisbane, to twins, the first born being a son." This took everyone in London by surprise, especially because the governor was single.