Connections and Isolation

Farther Apart

The relay stations at each end of an underwater cable stood in the most isolated of places - extreme points of land where they would be closest to the opposite shore and away from fishing boats that might snag the cables.

Isolated Stations

Islands of no commercial importance became convenient stepping-stones for cables. Fanning Island, in the Pacific, was uninhabited before Britain established a cable station there in 1902. Dirt had to be imported so that plants could be grown.

Fanning Island Fanning Island, Pacific Ocean, 1904
Courtesy of Cable & Wireless Archive, Porthcurno, Cornwall, Great Britain
Mombasa, Kenya, 1890
From Charles Bright, Submarine Telegraphs, 1898
Mombasa, Kenya, 1890
Heart's Content, Canada, 1866 Heart's Content, Canada, 1866
National Museum of American History

Inside a cable station
Inside a cable station, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, 1858
This was the landing site of the first Atlantic cable.

Drawing by Robert Dudley, from W.H. Russell, The Atlantic Telegraph, 1865

19th century curling stone Stations were equipped with pool rooms, tennis courts, and other diversions to keep the operators happy. At Heart's Content, an early cable station in Newfoundland, many of the operators came from Scotland, where the winter sport of curling was popular. This curling stone is missing its handle.
Curling stone from Heart's Content, late 1800s
Loan from Heart's Content Mizzen Heritage Society


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