History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
|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.
A film on the cable was produced by Pathéscope in 1924, and is titled “The Pulse of the World,” the Commercial Cable Company’s motto. The film is shown here courtesy of the Antique Wireless Museum’s YouTube channel.
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.
|Extracts from Telcon cable manufacturing records for the Commercial Cable Company: 1923 Atlantic Cable, Canso - Fayal - Waterville - Havre|
|Wires||Gauges in Inches||Weight/NM
length of N.M.
|Double Armour No. 0 and No. 1|
|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|
|17 No. 0|
|11 No. 1|
|17 No. 1|
|Waterville-Havre||3||1100/450||B.T.||17||1||17.20||Stephan||1 No.10 m/w|
|"||A3||3||1100/450||B.T.||17||1||.300||2.520||17.20||6.50||"||1 No.10 m/w|
|19 No. 1|
|13 No. 4|
|14 No. 6|
|21 No. 11|
|22 No. 13|
|23 No. 13|
|22 No. 13½|
Last revised: 9 October, 2022