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Trans-Atlantic Telephone Cable

Clarenville can claim the distinction of being chosen as the first place for the laying of the Trans-Atlantic Telephone Cable which took place in June, 1955.

Following a decision of Great Britain, United States and Canada, Clarenville was used as the Western terminal of the Trans Atlantic Telephone cable. The first cable was laid in 1955 from Clarenville to Oban, Scotland, a distance of 2,250 miles. The following year a return cable was laid from Oban to Clarenville.

The cable had signal amplifiers called repeaters every 20-miles which were powered from Oban and Clarenville. Since the transistor had only been invented by Bell Labs circa 1954, the decision was made to use proven vacuum tubes for which much data was available. The amplifiers were made with each component in its own cylinder which was believed to be about 2 to 3-inches in diameter and about 6-inches long. They were connected together by flexible couplings. The actual amplifier (repeater) length with all the cylinders was about 8-feet long but was a total of about 20-feet when it was spliced into the 1.7-inch diameter cable. There was a gradual transition in diameter on each end of the repeater. This construction made the repeater assembly flexible so each repeater could be spliced into the cable every 20-miles on land and loaded onto the big cable drums on the cable laying ship. A British ship, "HMS Monarch," was the largest cable laying ship in the world at the time. Later, AT&T built their own ship, the "Long Lines." By this time the repeaters were not spliced into the cable on land but was done during the cable laying.

A repeater station, a "booster" to strengthen signals, is situated on Cormack Drive, Clarenville. This building is bomb resistant and has its own diesel power unit and generates the power for half of the telephone cable/across the Atlantic. This very significant communications station was operated by the Eastern Telephone and Telegraph Company until 1978 when it was purchased by Newfoundland Telephone.

Source: and Ted Gleichmann

Trans-Atlantic Cable Cut February 21, 1959

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Article was published on February 25, 1959 in the Newark News
Information Courtesy of: Ted Gleichmann

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