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This is reproduced with the kind permission of Ann Campbell, Charles' great niece.
The Company






Cable connections




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Hazel Hill, one of the principal cable stations of the Commercial Cable Company, better known to cable men the world over as "CS", is situated on the southern slope of a hill two miles from the little fishing town of Canso. Canso is on the extreme tip of Cape Canso, the farthest East point of Nova Scotia, with Dover Bay two miles to the south and Chedabucto Bay a similar distance to the North, with lakes and streams connecting it with the sea in either direction. It is ideally situated for its purpose as a Cable Station, and indeed owes its existence to these conditions.
When the Company's first transatlantic and connecting cables to New York and Rockport, Mass, were laid in 1884, they were landed on White Island in Dover Bay and from the cable hut there, were brought by lake, stream, and trench, to the site of the future station at Hazel Hill, where the first office and station were erected, and, where the first traffic over the system was transmitted on Christmas Day of that year.
When the expansion of the Company's business demanded increased facilities, a third cable was laid in 1894 between Ireland and Nova Scotia, landing at a point in Chedabucto Bay, known as Fox Bay, from which point all subsequent cables were landed. From there it was brought by trench and lake to the station.
This cable was an advance on its predecessors, being much faster, and for awhile the three cables, working to full capacity, satisfied traffic demands, but it rapidly became evident that an additional line was imperative, and accordingly in 1899 a fourth cable was laid. This line followed a different route across the ocean being laid from New York to CS, thence to Horta, Fayal Azores islands, and from there to Waterville, Irelend. The adoption of this route enabled the Company to effect a direct exchange of traffic with the Eastern and Eastern Extension Companies at the Azores, and also to assist the European traffic through its existing lines from Waterville.
The Commercial Cable Lines
In 1900-1901, automatic cable relays were installed at CS. They were the invention of S.G. Brown of London, and were of the "Drum" type. They proved very successful, and were instrumental in eliminating manual transmissions, decreasing delays and improving accuracy. The Commercial was the first to adopt this modern improvement.
In 1905, a fifth cable was laid between "CS" and Waterville, which at the time, was one of the heaviest ever put down. Its speed was remarkable for its day, and its success was immediately demonstrated by its ability to handle a tremendous traffic. A short cable was laid the same year between "CS" and Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland, which provided telegraphic communications with that Island, over the Commercial lines.
In 1909-1910, the two original ocean lines were diverted into St. John's, Newfoundland and the short lengths between that point and "CS" extended to New York. A great increase in speed was thus obtained, and these older cables brought up to the standard of the rest of the system. They provided two fast direct circuits between New York and Europe through relays at St. John's, and further improved the rapidity and accuracy of the service.
Between 1910-1922, the introduction of magnifiers and other devices improved the existing cables' speed to such an extent that the company was able to handle the vastly increased traffic without laying further lines, although all were greatly pressed. Of course, cable laying was suspended during the war years and even after peace came it was impossible to obtain new cable from the manufacturers. However, the Company seized the earliest available moment to contract for a new line, and in 1923 the huge number six cable was laid.
This remarkable cable with its conductor of 1100 pounds of copper to the nautical mile was laid from New York to "CS", thence to Horta, Fayal, from there, to Waterville, Irelend, and from there it branched out to Paris, France, and to London, England. The speed of this line was so tremendous that a special apparatus was designed to meet it. Four channels were worked, two in each direction, and its success was immediate.
The introduction of regenerators about the same time as the laying of the new cable, was a distinct advance, improving speeds, and legibility of signals, and giving added flexibility to the system by the improvement of direct working between terminals. Thus New York and other important U.S.A. points were in absolute direct communication with London, Liverpool, Paris, Havre and other important European centres: there was no loss of time through re-transmissions and the chance of errors was reduced to a minimum.
In 1926, the two longest sections of the Atlantic system, the numbers three and five cables, each over 2200 nautical miles in length were diverted into St. John's, Newfoundland, giving them a fifty per cent increase of speed. Regenerators at "CS" and Waterville gave a rapid, direct, and flexible service between the U.S.A., Great Britain and Europe. In addition, a superimposed A.C. Duplex Circuit is worked on either of the two short "CS" - NF lengths, providing an additional circuit for emergencies, or a substitute circuit in the event of interruptions occurring to the other cables.



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© John Crellin 2009