Escher.gif (426 bytes)

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

1923 Commercial Cable Company Atlantic Cable
Canso - Fayal - Waterville - Le Havre

A typical telegraph cable may have four or more different weights of armouring along its run, and a complex long lay even more. This Telcon sample case has seven different types, all with the same conductor, but with armouring designed for the location of the cable in the lay.

Many of the cable samples shown on the Atlantic Cable site are seen in isolation, as only single examples are available, which makes it difficult to grasp the full scope and complexity of a cable project. However, I recently acquired nine different mounted samples from the 1923 Commercial Cable Company cable between Canso, Nova Scotia, to Le Havre, France, via the Azores and Ireland, also made by Telcon. All the samples are shown here and below, but even this does not cover the full extent of the variations used on this cable.

This cable was laid in 1923 by the southern route, calling at Horta in the Azores. The section New York-Canso was made by Siemens Brothers and was laid by CS Faraday (2), whilst the remainder of the cable, from Canso to Le Havre was made by the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company and laid by CS Colonia, CS Stephan, and a chartered ship, T.W. Stuart.

Some of Telcon’s cable manufacturing records are held at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, and the extracts below for the 1923 CCC cable show no fewer than fifteen separate cable constructions used on different parts of the route. The longest is a deep sea run of 711 nautical miles; the shortest a section of shore end at .005 nm, just thirty feet.

The samples are all shown to scale below; the conductor is the same in all cases, but the many variations in armouring can be clearly appreciated. Note also that what appear to be multi-conductor cables are in fact special purpose shore-end sections. Only one of the two or three conductors carries the signal; the others are used as sea earths and run just a few miles out into the ocean.

The double-armoured cables have one layer of normally spiraled armouring surrounded by a layer of rock armour. The rock armouring wires are tightly wrapped at a very shallow angle, which makes them resistant to separation caused by physical movement ofr the cable from wave action.

The cable samples are shown in increasing order of armouring size, from deep-sea to shore-end. The nickel outer ring is the mount for each sample and is not part of the original cable, as can be seen in the group photograph above.

Type D
Armour: 23 No.13 wires

 

Type D1
Armour: 21 No.11 wires

 

Type B
Armour: 14 No.6 wires

 

Type E
Armour: 13 No.4 wires

 

Type A2, two conductors
Armour: 17 No.1 wires

 

Type O3, three conductors
Armour: 16 No.0 wires

 

Type G2
Two conductors
Armour: 17 No. 0 + 6 No. 0 wires
Although identical in form to the other samples,
this type does not appear in the Telcon
manufacturing records for the 1923 CCC cable

 

Type G3
Three conductors
Armour: 16 No. 0 + 6 No. 0 wires

 

Type G3
Three conductors
Armour: 17 No. 0 + 6 No. 0 wires

 

Extracts from Telcon cable manufacturing records for the Commercial Cable Company: 1923 Atlantic Cable, Canso - Fayal - Waterville - Havre
Cable Type Core B.T. or
plain
Wires Gauges in Inches Weight/NM
in air
Measured on
length of N.M.
Ship Remarks Ref # Sample
code
No. Size Each Wire Finished
Double Armour No. 0 and No. 1
Canso-Fayal   3 1100/450 B.T./L.C. 6/17 0/0 .340/.340 3.400     Colonia   1 G3-6/17
"   3 1100/450 B.T. 6/16 0/0   3.275     "   2 G3- 6/16
"   3 1100/450 B.T./L.C. 6/19 0/1 .340/.300 3.290 47.08   "   3  
"   3 1100/450 B.T. 6/17 0/1 .340/.300 3.153 38.07   "   4  
Waterville-Havre   3 1100/450 B.T./L.C. 6/19 0/1 .340/.300   47.08   Stephan 1 No.10 m/w    
"   3 1100/450 B.T. 6/17 0/1 .340/.300   38.07   " 1 No.10 m/w    
Also sample G2-6/17 0/1
16 No. 0 armouring wires
Canso-Fayal   3 1100/450 B.T. 16 0 .340 2.480 19.19 1.30 Colonia   5 O3-16
 
17 No. 0
Canso-Fayal   3 1100/450 B.T./L.C. 17 0 .340 2.600 27.53 .005 Colonia   6  
 
11 No. 1
Waterville-Havre     1100/450 B.T. 11 1 .300           7  
Canso-Fayal     1100/450 B.T. 11 1 .300 1.710 10.14 122.15 Colonia      
Fayal-Waterville     1100/450 B.T. 11 1 .300 1.710 9.93 51.00 "      
 
17 No. 1
Waterville-Havre   3 1100/450 B.T. 17 1     17.20   Stephan 1 No.10 m/w    
"   2 1100/450 B.T. 17 1    

17.00

  "   8 A2-17
Canso-Fayal   3 1100/450 B.T. 17 1 .300 2.340 17.14 7.70 Colonia      
"   2 1100/450 B.T. 17 1 .300 2.340 16.75 4.30 "      
Fayal-Waterville A2 2 1100/450 B.T. 17 1 .300 2.320 16.98 11.05 "      
" A3 3 1100/450 B.T. 17 1 .300 2.520 17.20 6.50 " 1 No.10 m/w    
 
19 No. 1
Waterville-Havre   3 1100/450 L.C./B.T. 19 1         Stephan   9  
Canso-Fayal   3 1100/450 L.C./B.T. 19 1   2.540 25.74 .05 Colonia      
Fayal-Waterville   3 1100/450 L.C./B.T. 19 1   2.520 25.36 .06 "      
 
13 No. 4
Canso-Fayal     1100/450 B.T. 13 4 .238 1.510 7.72 99.85 Colonia   10 E-13
 
14 No. 6
Canso-Fayal     1100/450 B.T. 14 6 .200 1.360 6.09 10.70 Colonia   11 B-14
Fayal-Waterville     1100/450 B.T. 14 6 .200 1.370 6.11 18.00 Colonia      
 
21 No. 11
Canso-Fayal     1100/450 pl. 21 11 .120 1.190 3.99 138.60 Colonia   12 D1-21
"     1100/450 B.T. 21 11 .120 1.191 4.05 79.50 "      
Fayal-Waterville     1100/450 B.T. 21 11 .120 1.190 4.00 31.00 "      
"     1100/450 B.T. 21 11 .120 1.190 3.93 235.00 "      
 
22 No. 13
Canso-Fayal     1100/450 pl. 22 13   1.140 3.11 605.80 Colonia   13  
 
23 No. 13
Fayal-Waterville D   1100/450 pl. 23 13 .095 1.060 3.08 344.00 Colonia   14 D-23
 
22 No. 13½
Canso-Fayal     1100/450 pl. 22 13½   1.140 3.11 711.50 Colonia   15  
Fayal-Waterville     1100/450 pl. 22 13½ .090 1.140 3.09 627.00 Colonia      

 

Last revised: 3 March, 2012

Return to Atlantic Cable main page

Search all pages on the Atlantic Cable site:

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

—Bill Burns, publisher and webmaster: Atlantic-Cable.com