The maximum number of characters one can use in a text message was formulated almost 20 years before most people had ever heard of texting.


German researcher Friedhelm Hillebrand was working on a precursor to today’s SMS system in 1985 when he concluded, after considering the average length of a postcard and the typical message on telex (a then-popular messaging service for business executives), that 160 characters was sufficient for this new type of communication.

This limit has stuck all these years, although micro-blogging service Twitter now restricts message to 140 characters. 

Then again, if Hillebrand had known about “LOL,” “btw” and the like back in 1985, he would have probably settled on 140, too.


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.