In the late 1920s, short-wave radio seemed to make cables obsolete. Radio was cheaper both in equipment and in operations. But it was not always reliable, especially when sunspots flared. And it was not as private. So steps were taken to make sure that the cables survived.
In Britain, the government made telegraph and radio firms merge into a company called Cable & Wireless. In the United States, Congress legislated that a certain percentage of overseas communication would travel by cable.
|Western Union cable and radio sign, about 1930
National Museum of American History
Telegraph signals sent by radio waves could go to places that were beyond the reach of cable.
Radiograms, 1930 (left), 1938 (right)
Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
|Radio antennae, Riverhead, Long Island, New York, about 1930
Clark Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution