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

1879/1880 Cook Strait Cable
(Wanganui - Wakapuaka, New Zealand)

Sample case for the 1879 New Zealand cable
[Science Museum, London]

In 1866 the first cable across the Cook Strait, which separates the north and south islands of New Zealand, was laid on the second attempt. The failure of the first 1866 expedition is detailed on this page.

In 1879 the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company (Telcon) manufactured and laid the cable shown above for the Government of New Zealand, using the ship Kangaroo. The cable was 120nm in length, comprised of 10nm of Type A (shore end) cable and 110nm of Type B (intermediate) cable. The line opened for service in 1880.

A single multi-strand conductor was used, with the Type B cable having 10 armouring wires. The Type A shore-end cable had two layers of armouring; the inner the same as that used for the Type B cable, the outer consisting of 10 three-wire strands, similar to that used on the shore end of some of Telcon's long-distance cables.

Copyright © 2008 FTL Design

Last revised: 27 January, 2008

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Research Material Needed

The Atlantic Cable website is non-commercial, and its mission is to make available on line as much information as possible.

You can help - if you have cable material, old or new, please contact me. Cable samples, instruments, documents, brochures, souvenir books, photographs, family stories, all are valuable to researchers and historians.

If you have any cable-related items that you could photograph, copy, scan, loan, or sell, please email me: billb@ftldesign.com