The Standard Telegraphic Cipher Code
New York, 1881 : pp 246-249

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standard 246 standard 247 standard 248 standard 249


N.B.: Tables shown somewhat enlarged.

Alfred B. Shepperson (? - 1910) authored two cotton codes -- The Telegraphic Cipher Code (1878) for domestic use, and the Standard Telegraphic Cipher Code (1881) for domestic and foreign use. At 306 versus 204 pages, the latter book has somewhat fuller features, including tables for quotations of three grades of cotton with one codeword, as shown above. Such three-price code words can be found in other specialized codes (e.g., hemp and copra). The Standard's codewords, by not exceeding ten letters in length, satisfied wordcount regulations of overseas administrations.

Shepperson also compiled private codes for cotton brokers -- many of them at Library of Congress presumably for copyright reasons -- and other codes (e.g., for cotton futures) and reference books.

Shepperson was publisher of the statistical annual Cotton Facts 1876-1910; the series continued after his death in the latter year, revised and enlarged by C. W. Shepperson. The firm published and distributed numerous technical and other books on cotton -- including Meyer's Atlantic Cotton Code -- and, later, rayon.



Note provision only of fractions in quotations above. Correspondents assumed a shared background knowledge and sound judgement. This was explicitly stated in the codes, as above, or here, in John Hinrichs's Baltimore Export Cable Code (1890) :

"The exact price is to be guessed at according to market value at the time -- the correct tens will easily be supplied when the units are given."




Note again the reliance on the correspondents' judgement, to determine, for example, "if 56 or 66, etc., Francs was intended."

From an advertisement for the Standard code in the 1927 edition of Cotton Facts :

Quotations of three grades require but ONE word. The time of day and tone of the market, with quotations, are all given with ONE word. Orders to buy, giving quantity, grade, terms, price and mode of shipment can be made with ONE word. Orders to buy, giving quantity, grade, price and shipping directions take but ONE word.

The Cipher Words have been carefully arranged, none containing over ten letters and conform strictly to the regulations of the Cable Companies.