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

1930 Key West - Havana Telephone Cable

Deep water section of the cable

Manufactured for AT&T by Norddeutsche Seekabelwerke A.G., the 111 nm. cable was laid by NSW's cableship CS Neptun (1). The cable was non-loaded, and insulated with paragutta. The conductor consisted of six thin copper tapes wound spirally on a central copper wire, the interstices between the tapes and the central conductor being vacuum impregnated with melted rubber. Next came the paragutta insulation; a layer of cotton tape; and then copper tape for protection against the teredo and other submarine borers. Over this were laid six heavier copper tapes to act as the return conductor. This core construction was used for the entire length of the cable.

The cable was finished with one of three types of amoring, according to the depths in which it was to be laid. For shallow water (depth up to 1000 feet) 12 heavy iron wires were used, each 0.3" diameter. For the intermediate cable (1000 to 2000 feet depth) 16 iron wires of 0.2" diameter were used; and for the deep water section, 22 high tensile steel wires, each about 0.1" diameter. All sections were completed with a layer of fabric tape and two layers of jute.

The cable opened for service on 6 June 1931. The Cuban-American Telephone Company accepted the submarine cables from the manufacturer on January 12, 1931. Channel 3 was placed into service on January 22, 1931. Channels 1 and 2 were placed into service on February 26, 1931.

The shore end of the cable, six miles in length, was laid
from a barge, as the water was too shallow for CS Neptun (1)

Source: Bell Telephone Quarterly, Volume XVII, No. 1. January, 1938


For further information on the history of the Key West - Havana telephone cables see this article by J. Gregory Griffin, which notes that “The Cuban-American Telephone Company accepted the submarine cables from the manufacturer on January 12, 1931. Channel 3 was placed into service on January 22, 1931. Channels 1 and 2 were placed into service on February 26, 1931.”

Last revised: 5 May, 2016

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