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


The capacitance and inductance of long lengths of cable immersed in water meant that conventional land-line transmitting and receiving equipment could not be used. A whole range of specialised equipment was developed by the scientists and engineers involved in laying and working the early cables.

This section shows some of the equipment used in the submarine cable industry over the years.

Click on the image to go to the page for that item.

Siphon Recorder (early 1900s)

Brown Drum Relay

Silvertown Cable Test Key

1857 (?) Atlantic Cable Test Key

Repeater cable jointing machine

1954 STC Repeaters

Cable Transmitters - 1921 article

Telcon Jointing Instruction Case

Last revised: 10 November, 2014

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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: [email protected]

—Bill Burns, publisher and webmaster: