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Who sent the 1st txt msg? And what'd it say?

  • OMG: Text message turns 20 on Monday
  • LOL: It was sent to a cellphone that weighed almost 5 lbs.
  • BTW: 200,000 text messages sent every minute worldwide
The first text message was 'Merry Christmas' to Vodafone exec Richard Jarvis.

Cutting edge -- in 1992. This is the cell phone model which received the first text message ever sent.

You most likely spent the evening of Thursday December 3, 1992, watching an all-new "Seinfeld" or belting along to Whitney Houston's chart-topper "I Will Always Love You".

But, not Neil Papworth. The British engineer was making history. That night, Papworth composed and fired off the world's first text message.

Twenty years and a few trillion global texts (and a few billion sexts) later, Papworth's action has proven to have a monumental impact on our culture. Greater even, than "Seinfeld". An estimated 200,000 text messages are sent every second around the planet.

And some of them even contain full sentences.

The 22-year-old was working on the project for Vodafone. On the night of December 3, he sat at his computer and typed "Merry Christmas" to Vodafone exec Richard Jarvis, who was attending a company holiday party. The letters flew through the telecom's network and landed on Jarvis' cellphone.

Of course this being 1992, this was his cellphone. A smartphone (or even a flip phone), it was not. Jarvis' Orbitel TPU 901 weighed 4.5 pounds and at 8.5 inches tall and 6.5 inches wide, barely fit in a backpack, much less a pocket. But still, on its display flashed history.

"I was a little bit nervous. I just wanted everything to work," Papworth recently told Toronto's Globe and Mail. "Back then, it was just intended to be used like an executive pager, to get a hold of people on the road," he said. "No one knew it would evolve into such a monster."

Papworth now lives in Montreal and finds some amusement with his unlikely place in history. "I do get a kick out of being called a 'legend', once a year", he told the Guardian. "Even if at the time the achievement was nothing remarkable. I was just doing my job."

In other words, "Me? A legend? ROFL. Srsly, nbd. L8r."

Follow Jonathan Anker on Twitter @JonFromHLN



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