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History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

1870s Siemens Brothers Cable Price List

Introduction: Nineteenth century price lists from cable manufacturers are uncommon. This list from Siemens Brothers, dated 187?, includes prices for gutta percha covered cable core containing one, three, and seven copper wires. The prices are in pounds, shillings, and pence (£. s. d.); 12 pence to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound.

On the original document the second column in each table has an illustration of the section of each wire, but these did not reproduce well, so I have included only representative images here.

The seven-strand conductor was the one most commonly used for submarine cables; the core as supplied would then have to be armoured to make the finished cable. The prices shown for seven-strand core average about £50 per nautical mile, so the cost of 2,000 miles of core for a typical Atlantic cable would have been £100,000. The exchange rate in the 1870s was five dollars to the pound, so the US dollar cost would have been $500,000, the equivalent of about $8 million in 2006 (adjusted for inflation). To this would have to be added the cost of armouring and laying.

Original document copy courtesy of Special Collections, Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

--Bill Burns

 

No. 1.


SIEMENS BROTHERS,

TELEGRAPH ENGINEERS AND CONTRACTORS,
MANUFACTURERS OF
GUTTA-PERCHA AND INDIA-RUBBER COVERED WIRES,
AND
SUBMARINE, SUBTERRANEAN, AND ELECTRIC CABLES OF EVERY DESCRIPTION.


3, GREAT GEORGE STREET, WESTMINSTER, S.W.


London,.......................... 187

 


 

A LIST

OF

GUTTA PERCHA COVERED WIRES.

 

 

SPECIFICATION AND PRICE
I. WIRES WITH SOLID COPPER CONDUCTOR
Number. Section of
Gutta Percha
covered Wire.

Diameter of
Copper Wire.

Number
of layers of
Gutta Percha.
Total Diameter
of Gutta Percha
covering.
Weight in
English lbs. per
Nautical Mile.
PRICE Number.
Per Nautical Mile
= 2029 Yards.
Per Statute Mile
= 1760 Yards.
    Millim. English
Inches.
  Millim. English
Inches.
Con-
ductor.
Dielec-
tric.
  £ s. d.   £ s. d.    
101 0.75 0.030 1 2.25 0.089 16 16 7 7 6 6 7 11 101
102 0.75 0.030 1 3.00 0.118 16 26 11 15 0 10 3 10 102
103 0.75 0.030 2 315 0.148 16 43 16 7 6 14 4 1 103
 
104   1.00 0.039 1 2.50 0.098 28 18   9 12 6   8 7 0   104
105   1.00 0.039 1 3.00 0.118 28 26 12 0 0 10 8 2 105
106 1.00 0.039 2 4.00 0.157 28 46 18 5 0 15 16 7 106
 
107   1.25 0.049 1 2.75 0.108 44 20   11 15 0   10 3 10   107
108   1.25 0.049 1 3.50 0.138 44 34 15 12 6 13 11 0 108
109   1.25 0.049 2 4.25 0.167 44 52 20 7 6 17 13 3 109
 
110   1.40 0.055 2 4.50 0.177 55 58   23 5 0   20 3 4   110
 
111 1.50 0.059 1 3.00 0.118 64 24   12 15 0   11 1 2   111
112 1.50 0.059 1 315 0.148 64 38 18 5 0 15 16 7 112
113 1.50 0.059 2 4.50 0.177 64 60 23 10 0 20 7 8 113
114 1.50 0.059 2 5.00 0.197 64 72 26 7 6 22 17 7 114
 
115 1.60 0.063 2 5.00 0.197 70 72   27 0 0   23 8 4   115
 
116   1.75 0.069 1 3.50 0.138 88 30   17 7 6   15 1 5   116
117   1.75 0.069 1 4.00 0.157 88 40 20 5 0 17 11 4 117
118   1.75 0.069 2 5.00 0.197 88 70 28 0 0 24 5 9 118
119 1.75 0.069 2 6.00 0.236 88 105 35 5 0 30 11 6 119
 
120   2.00 0.079 1 4.00 0.157 114 40   21 15 0   18 17 3   120
121   2.00 0.079 1 5.00 0.197 114 68 29 0 0 25 3 1 121
122   2.00 0.079 2 6.00 0.236 114 102 36 7 6 31 11 0 122
123 2.00 0.079 2 7.00 0.276 114 142 47 15 0 41 8 4 123
II. WIRES WITH THREE-STRAND COPPER CONDUCTOR
Number. Section of
Gutta Percha
covered Wire.

Diameter of each
single Copper Wire
forming the strand.

Number
of layers
of Gutta
Percha.
Total Diameter
of Gutta Percha
covering.
Weight in
English lbs. per
Nautical Mile.
PRICE Number.
Per Nautical Mile
= 2029 Yards.
Per Statute Mile
= 1760 Yards.
    Millim. English
Inches.
  Millim. English
Inches.
Con-
ductor.
Dielec-
tric.
  £ s. d.   £ s. d.    
124 0.70 0.028 2 4.25 0.167 42 52 20 17 6 18 2 1 124
 
125   0.80 0.031 2 4.50 0.177 55 58   23 15 0   20 12 0   125
126 0.80 0.031 2 5.50 0.217 55 90 29 15 0 25 16 1 126
 
127   0.90 0.035 2 5.00 0.197 70 72   27 10 0   23 17 1   127
128 0.90 0.035 2 6.00 0.236 70 106 34 15 0 30 2 10 128
 
129   1.00 0.039 2 5.50 0.217 86 86   31 7 6   27 4 4   129
130   1.00 0.039 3 6.50 0.256 86 124 41 0 0 85 11 0 130
III. WIRES WITH SEVEN-STRAND COPPER CONDUCTOR
131   0.70 0.028 2 6.00 0.236 100 100   36 7 6   31 11 0   131
132 0.70 0 028 3 6.75 0.266 100 132 44 10 0 38 12 0 132
133   0.70 0.028 3 7.25 0.285 100 154 50 15 0 44 0 5 133
 
134 0.75 0.030 2 6.30 0.248 112 112   40 10 0   35 2 7   134
135 0.75 0.030 3 7.00 0.276 112 142 48 5 0 41 17 0 135
136 0.75 0.030 3 7.50 0.295 112 164 54 5 0 47 1 2 136
 
137 0.80 0.031 2 6.75 0.266 130 130   47 0 0   40 15 4   137
138 0.80 0.031 3 7.25 0.285 130 150 51 15 0 44 17 9 138
139 0.80 0.031 3 8.00 0.315 130 188 62 5 0 53 19 11 139
The above Prices include free delivery on board in London, but do not include packing-cases or packing expenses.
Terms of payment—net cash on delivery in London.
The conductivity of the copper employed is equal to at least 90 per cent. of that of pure copper. The strand wires are formed by laying up the several single wires spirally.
The solid or strand wires are drawn through insulating compound before receiving the first layer of Gutta Percha; a coating of insulating compound is also applied between each two layers of Gutta Percha.
Estimates will be given on application for any sort of Gutta Percha covered wire not contained in this list. Such applications should be accompanied by a detailed specification of the required wire.

Last revised: 13 August, 2010

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