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

CS All America
by Bill Glover


Built in 1921 by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson, Neptune Works, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Length 278.4 ft. Breadth 37.0 ft. Depth 22.4 ft. Gross tonnage 1819.

British Empire Exhibition, 1924. Stand No. 184.

"ALL AMERICA"—Twin Screw Cable-Laying and Repairing Steamship
Built and Engined by Swan, Hunter, & Wigham Richardson Ltd.,
Neptune Works, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
For All America Cables Inc, New York

Built as a cable repair ship for All America Cables and based for most of her career in the Caribbean, but also undertook repair work on the west coast of South America when required. Remained in service until the summer of 1961 when sold for scrap to a breaker’s yard in Charleston, North Carolina, arriving there on 13 September.

Fitted with four cable tanks, three forward and one aft. Dimensions were No.1 18.0 ft dia. by 6 ft 6 ins high. No 2 Outer 25.0 ft dia. by 11.0 ft high, inner 15.0 ft dia. by 11.0 ft high, No 3 Outer 26.0 ft dia by 11.0 ft high, inner 15.0 ft dia by 11.0 ft high: No 4 18.0 ft dia by 21.0 ft high.

Two completely separate combined paying out-picking up machines were mounted forward of No 1 tank on the upper deck, with the controls being located on the awning deck. No paying out machine was provided aft but the cable could be fed by means of rollers from the forward machines. Three bow sheaves and one stern sheave, all 3 ft 3 ins in diameter, were fitted.

All America Review, February 1921

New Cable Steamer “All America”

In 1907 the cable steamer Guardian of the Central & South American Telegraph Co., of New York was found to be in every way admirably suited for her work; and when the associated company, the Mexican Telegraph Co., found it necessary to build a boat, they decided to have a duplicate of that vessel constructed. The two cable companies named are now united under the name of the All America Cables, Inc., and the new vessel is to be named the All America.

The All America is a twin-screw cable-repairing steamer about 295 ft. in length overall, with a length B.P. of 270ft., a breadth of 37ft., and a depth moulded of 24ft. 9in. She is being built under special survey to class 100 A.1 with Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, and is also arranged to conform to the American shipping requirements.

The vessel has four cable tanks, three forward and one aft. All these tanks have steel cones, and the two largest cable tanks have inner tanks. There is a total coiling capacity in the cable tanks of about 14,000 cu. ft. The cable machinery is of the latest and most improved pattern. There are three bow sheaves forward and one aft, and the necessary deck leads, dynamometers, telegraphs, and other accessories required in vessels for cable-laying.

The accommodation for the telegraph and cable staff is very complete, being arranged on the upper and awning decks amidships There is a large testing room and battery room on the awning deck, and there are workshops and suitable arrangements for storing the buoys and special appliances used in cable-repairing work.

The vessel is designed to carry a total deadweight of about 1,750 tons on about 18ft. mean draught, but her maximum load draught with summer freeboard is in excess of 20ft., so that she can carry a much larger deadweight in case of need.

The propelling machinery consists of twin-screw triple-expansion engines of the builders’ own design and make. The diameters of the cylinders are 15½, 25 and 43in. respectively, with a stroke of 30in. Steam is supplied by two boilers 13ft. 3in. in diameter by 11ft. 6in. long, designed for a working pressure of 180lb and fitted with Howden’s forced draught. The boilers are arranged to burn oil fuel. For this purpose oil-fuel bunkers are provided having about 500 tons’ capacity, thus enabling the vessel to keep at sea for a long period without having to return to port to replenish her fuel. The engines are of sufficient power for a service speed of about 11 knots.

The auxiliary machinery includes electric light and power plant, of which there are two sets, one steam- driven and one oil-driven; refrigerating machinery and insulated chambers for the ship’s provisions; a Lucas sounding machine, two steam winches, a steam windlass, steam steering gear, and an installation of wireless telegraphy for a day range of 200 miles. The vessel’s equipment includes a motor lifeboat, two steel lifeboats, and other working boats suitable for the vessel’s service.

The All America will begin her career under the command of Captain Taylor, who for several years commanded the Guardian and has had great experience in cable-laying and repairing work in South American waters.

CS All America Afloat
(All America Review, June 1921)

The British trade paper Electricity reported in its issue of 9 December 1921:

The cable steamer All America, which has been built and engined at the Neptune Works of Messrs. Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson, Ltd., to the order of the All America Cables, Incorporated, went to sea on Tuesday, October 11, for her trial trip, and kept up a speed of 13ΒΌ knots.

During the trial trip the owners were represented by Mr. A. Scott Younger, of Messrs. A.R. Brown McFarlane and Co., Ltd., who has acted as consultant on behalf of the owners, and Captain Taylor, under whose command the vessel will begin her career.

For personal stories of life with All America Cables, see
George S. Watson's Remembrances of a Cable Operator
and Captain Frederick Hack and CS All America.

Last revised: 28 February, 2022

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