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

La Société Industrielle des Téléphones
by Bill Glover


La Société Generale des Téléphones supplied half the core for the cable laid on behalf of La Participation des Câbles des Antilles in 1887, this being the first submarine cable manufactured in France. La Société began life as MM Rattier et Cie, manufacturers of gutta percha and rubber insulated cables, who had laid many hundreds of land cables.

With help from the French Government the company set up an armouring factory at Calais in 1890, and was then able to produce complete submarine telegraph cables without relying on others to armour such cables. The first complete cables produced by the company were the extensions to La Participation's cables in the West Indies. W. T. Henley Telegraph Works carried out the installation.

Following this, the company decided to set up a subsidiary company; La Société Industrielle des Téléphones, to undertake the manufacture and installation of cables. CS Westmeath was purchased and renamed CS Francois Arago. The first cable manufactured and laid by the new company was the 1892 Marseilles - Oran cable, and this was followed by the New Caledonia - Australia cable in 1893.

La Société Industrielle des Téléphones changed its name to La Compagnie Industrielle des Téléphones, which in 1963 became La Compagnie Industrielle des Télécommunications and in 1970 changed to CIT-Alcatel. Câbles de Lyon took over the assets La Société Generale des Téléphones including the factory at Bezons and Calais, the latter having been rebuilt following its destruction in World War II. Following this, Câbles de Lyon produced the cables and CIT Alcatel the repeaters.



Purchased in 1893 and used for cable work until 1914. Sold out of the cable world in 1914 to La Compagnie Francaise de Marine et Commerce and then renamed Peronne.


1892 Marseilles - Oran
1893 Australia - New Caledonia
1895 Madagascar - Mozambique
1896 New York - Haiti
1897 France - Cape Cod (USA)
1898 Cape Cod - New York
190? Madagascar - Reunion
190? Reunion - Mauritius
190? French Indo China - Borneo
190? French Indo China - China

Last revised: 24 October, 2019

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