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Commercial Cable Company Horta office (Azores) letter copies from 1911 to 1913.

There are three more years to come but transcribing (the flimsies are not OCR-able) is slow !

My comments are in [square brackets] - generally all other text is as seen with typing idiosyncrasies etc unchanged. Click here for more about the cables referred to in the letters. The "D.A.T." is Deutsch-Atlantische Telegraphengesellschaft; "E & A." is I think "Europe & Azores Telegraph Co" but could be "Eastern & Associated Telegraph Company" by that time.

Date To Content Signed by
20/11/1911 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Enclosing please find a letter of thanks from the Civil Governor for the subscription of 100,0000 reis given by this Company to the Horta Fire Brigade.

The E & A, and the D.A.T. have each subscribed a like amount.

F Chevallier


30/11/1911 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for November

The increase of the E & A. traffic mentioned in my last report has been well maintained throughout the month. "Through" business remains about the same as previous months.

The cables and instruments have remained in good working order, and balanced on the whole have been steady. Trouble occurred on the 15th inst, when we experienced some difficulty in relaying signals from WV. Specimens of these signals for this date have been taken out and forwarded to the General Superintendent for inspection.

A severe gale occurred on the 10th and 11th insts, some slight damage was done to the roofs of the "Cedars" and a few tiles displaced.

The electric lighting has now been completed for the lighting of the joint corridors and entrance of this building; a great improvement being effected. It has also been installed in the E & A. Co's instrument, and other rooms and offices. Their method of installing must work out very expensive, as all wires have been drawn into iron tubing, and a considerable amount of time and labour has been expended. Our system with cleats is I think just as neat, quite as safe and far less costly.

A Huertley Cable Receiver has arrived for the D.A.T Co, and has just been set up for experimental purposes. I shall be able to report on the results later. They have been working it on the Emden [Germany]-Vigo [Spain] cable for some time, and it is said that a considerable increase of speed is being obtained. The D.A.T.Co's Superintendent informs me that Mr Heurtley will arrive here in a few weeks to adjust, and insure the good working of the instrument.

Operator P. Keating left the company's employ on the 23rd inst. He has signed a paper renouncing all claims upon the company, but is dissatisfied with the amount you authorised me to pay him; no proportion of foreign allowance being granted. He also considers himself entitled to passage money to England. I enclose a latter from him to this effect, which although addressed to me, I think it is as well to forward.

I do not wish to be on bad terms with this man who is to be local manager of the Fayal Coal and Supply Co Ltd, with whom we may find it convenient to do business.

Will you please give the matter your further consideration.

Operator Moore returned from holidays on the 29th inst; this finishes the Staff holidays for the year.

Operator Gibson was unable to take duty on the 23rd inst owing to slight stomach trouble.

F Chevallier


9/12/1911 The Vice President and General Manager, New York [Letter accompanying accounts for November] F Chevallier


11/12/1911 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Enclosed please find Return of words exchanged between Canso and Waterville, Via Azores for the month of November, as handed to the Superintendent of the E & A Co here. F Chevallier


Not all letters transcribed hereafter
31/12/1911 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for December

…"Through" business has been brisk since the 5th inst owing to the interruption to No 3. During previous interruptions of our main cables the D.A.T. have occasionally rendered assistance, but in the present instance they have been unable to on account of pressure.

…I intend to cut into the first set of joints in our underground cables as soon as the wet season is over, making a report upon their condition.

The Emden-Vigo cable developed a fault on the 24th inst, and can only be worked simplex; this has made the D.A.T. and E & A, people busy. The two local boys commenced work in our office on the 1st inst … both are making themselves useful in passing over, numbering, and timing messages, and when not otherwise engaged are kept busy practising.

As a rule education is neglected here and few amongst the ordinary people can read or write. The E & A, and D.A.T have tried local boys, but only a small proportion have given satisfaction. I think the two we have should turn out well, and am endeavouring to give attention to their training.

F Chevallier


26/01/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York SUPPLIES

Your Service C6155 January. The sulphate of and bichromate of potash have been received in good condition.

the sulphuric acid is held in St [Michael's?] until a ship can be found to bring it to Fayal, the ordinary [?] boats refuse to carry it.

F Chevallier


26/01/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York I enclose an application from operator R.Bishop asking permission to marry. He is steady, well behaved, and a good worker, and with care would be able to live on his present payments. He is taking holidays early this year, and if not permitted to marry now, will have to wait another three years.

Kindly sanction by wire.

F Chevallier


31/01/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for January

… The Emden-Vigo cable was again interrupted from the 16th to 25th insts, causing the E. & A and D.A.T. companies to be very busy with diverted traffic.

Mr Powell arrived on the 12th inst with the Brown's Thermo Multiplier. this instrument was put to work recorder on the Emden No 1 cable, and gave considerable help during the recent pressure. Heurtley's instrument was kept working on Emden No 2 cable with very satisfactory results; attaining an average speed of 200 l.p.m. Mr Powell and the D.A.T. Co's Superintendent are giving us every facility for watching and studying both these instruments, but at present it would be premature to make comparisons as to their respective merits: the Thermo instrument being still in an experimental stage. No practical results have yet been obtained with it in connection with the Drum relay, as so far as is has not been tried on our cables. I hope to be able to report to you fully as soon as our experiments and trials are concluded.

I am disappointed with our latest arrival from [omitted], operator [omitted]. He is an extremely poor operator, and I am unable to entrust him with even light duties….

F Chevallier


12/02/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Thermo Pile Multiplier

I enclose copies of two services exchanged Mr Powell and "Curbed" London.

Mr Powell is still experimenting and is now becoming accustomed to the peculiarities of the Thermo Pile instrument. many difficulties have cropped up when adjusting it for relay working, but at last some good results have been obtained on NY No 1 cable, ( K.R. 4 9 ) at about 170 L.p.m. duplex. I do not feel satisfied that this speed would be maintained in actual work.

the balance of the D.A.T. cable have been exceptionally good of late, favouring the experiments. At present the Heurtley instrument is faster on recorder, and has more of a margin of sensibility, although when adjusted for high speed working it shows up the balance more than the Thermo instrument.

For recorder working on Emden No 2 cable, ( K.R. 3 95 ) the Thermo has done over 180 L.p.m. duplex. The Heurtley can easily do 200 L.p.m. and more if the balance does not interfere. It is a question of sensibility, but Mr Powell claims that his instrument is effected far less by the balance than the Huertley on account of the heat lag. This seems to be so when working relay: the current then passing from the thermo piles thorough a transformer, the secondary of which goes to the relay coil. the Heurtley instrument has not been tried here for relay working, so no comparison can be made in this respect.

I think Mr Powell will eventually succeed in getting more satisfactory results.

the suggested improvement by Mr Brown in the enclosed Service has been tried, but results were not at all satisfactory.

F Chevallier


26/02/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York I am arranging with the Manager in England for the silver cup to be brought out by operator R.Bishop, who will be returning here from holidays about the middle of June.

I have agreed with the Manager in England to have it engraved as follows:-

Presented by

Clarence.H.Mackay Esq.

President of the Commercial Cable Co.

Probably after the race is run, the event and winners name will be added here. I find that there is an engraver in Fayal who could probably do it, but not in the same workmanlike manner, or for the price it would be done in England.

Last year the sports were held in October, but I should like the cup to be here in plenty of time in case of an earlier date being fixed for this year.

F Chevallier


  The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for February

We have been particularly busy during the month owing to the Commercial Pacific route to the Far East being interrupted. The number of Services relating to this Far Eastern business has been exceptional, and out of al proportions to the actual amount of paid traffic transmitted.

"Through" traffic over No 4 has been very light in consequence of the cable being almost exclusively given up to the increased volume of AZ work. There has been some slight increase of delay at various times, occasioned by rapid filing by the E. & A Co, but on the whole the average compares favourably with normal conditions.

The cables remain normal. the relays continue to work well, and the balances have been good.

Mr Powell has continued his experiments with the Thermo Pile Multiplier on the D.A.T. cables, but it is necessary for further trials to be made with various alterations and different adjustments before definitive conclusions can be arrived at.

On the 4th and 5th insts we experienced a very strong gale … the annemometers [sic] at the observatory recording ninetyfour miles per hour. Great damage was done throughout the island…

The Fayal wireless mast was blown down, the German property suffered considerably, whilst our own buildings did not escape…

F Chevallier


14/03/1912 Geo. G. Ward, Esq


Mr Powell has been successful in getting very satisfactory signals from New-York on Relay at 175 l.p.m. with the Thermo instrument. (Specimen enclosed). He has tried a number of alterations and adjustments, varying the number of thermo piles from 2 to 7 without much advantage. One of the greatest improvements was effected by New-York who changed his sounder transmitters fro light polarized relays, and for fast speed working this seems to point to the fact that heavy sounder transmitters are unsuitable. I think for practical work, simplicity the Thermo instrument has advantages over the Heurtley, but the latter has scarcely been used lately, apparently left for Mr Huertley to improve its working on recorder, and to try it for relaying.

It appears to be more sensitive than the Thermo instrument, and consequently is perhaps more effected by the balance. Up to date the Huertley is the faster. All experiments so far have been confined to the German cable.

Mr Powell is not at all pleased with the expected arrival of Mr Heurtley just at this time, and I am under the impression that a good deal of jealousy exists, and for this reason the Heurtley apparatus has been intentionally kept in the background.

F Chevallier


??/03/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for March

…traffic passing between the E, & A Co and ourselves decreased after … restoration of Commercial Pacific cable…

No 4 not used for "through" traffic until 24th inst, since when, owing to interruption of No3 its has been kept .. busy…

…Mr Heurtley arrived here on the 16th inst. He expects to be able to improve the working of his multiplier on the D.A.T. cables, and also intends to make some experiments with it for relay working. He has done little at present, having to wait until Mr Powell has completed his trials with the Thermo multiplier before attempting anything serious.

Mr Powell does not, I think, intend trying his apparatus on our cables, and as his colleague Smith is in New-York all his time is occupied with the D.A.T. cables.

A great deal of indignation is expressed in the Islands at the increased taxation. …

Operator Bishop leaves for England by this mail-boat for three months holiday, and intends to marry whilst away.

F Chevallier


30/04/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for April

…"Through" traffic over No 4 diminished somewhat after the restoration of No3, although the cable has been used rather more freely by both Canso and Waterville than is usual…

… I have opened the trench … for repairs to our undergrounds … the core up to the joints tests exactly as it did three years ago. the faults are in the joints and are as before due to the new Gutta not having adhered properly to the original gutta-percha. … I have borrowed four landlines from the D.A.T. for working our cables whilst making these repairs.

Our relays continue to work satisfactorily. … Mr Heurtley … trying his instruments on both the Fayal-Emden cables. He has by balancing got speeds up to 220 l.p.m. on duplex, but the conditions are very favourable just now, with cold dry winds. When the warm damp days come along it will not be easy to keep the balances steady enough for such speeds…

Mr Powell is about to start trials of the Thermo Pile instrument in our office, and is expecting Mr Smith to arrive in Canso shortly.

F Chevallier


31/05/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for May

…variation of the WV balance has not recurred, and for the high speed trials no change of adjustment in our Art lines has been found necessary. Mr Powell was pleased with the good balances, which helped him to a great extent.

He has done good work with the Thermopile instrument, relaying traffic from WV to CS at a speed of as much as 180 l.p.m. at times.

Mr Heurtley has been experimenting in the D.A.T. office with a relay with dead contacts; simply a platinum wire attached to a recorder coil, and working between stops, this seems to work very well, the contacts are good and the stiction is not noticeable.

The repairs and special tests of our U-G cables were completed on the 14th inst. and I am posting a separate report…

At the position of the fourth set of joints from the office, the work was greatly delayed by water in the trench, and cutting had to be made through a sand bar at the mouth of a small river before the water could be lowered sufficiently.

I have missed our friend Senhor Cunha de Brum, who was always helpful in getting us permission for opening the streets etc. His death … causes a great loss to this town, and I am afraid the help he always gave .. is not likely to be continued by his successor.

The E, & A Co's Lisbon-Fayal cable is now being repaired by the C.S.Britannia.

F Chevallier


11/06/1912 MEMORANDUM TO … The Vice President and General Manager, New York The balance of the supplies ordered to be sent from London, have now been received in good condition.

All articles ordered in my Memo: 387 of November 10th, 1911 have been received, with the exception of the Sulphuric acid which is still detained in St. Michaels. It is expected that some vessel will be found to bring it, and on several occasions I have advised the agents … not to miss any opportunity for sending it.

F Chevallier


30/06/1912 MEMORANDUM TO … The Vice President and General Manager, New York

[We clearly have a different secretary at this point so the change to "MEMORANDUM TO" may reflect nothing more than a change of style]

Report for June

Traffic passing between ourselves and the E. & A Co:, has shewn [sic] an increase owing to the interruption of the competitive route. Through traffic via FOURTH has been practically the same as during last month.

… The balances are … quite good, even on the very damp days we have experienced recently.

In the German office the Huertley multiplier and relay continue to work well, but no specially high speeds have been required of it. the German Co: have commenced enlarging their Single Quarters, and are making a very fine and ornamental building of it; judging from the plans the additions will be costly, but they spare no expense on any of their undertakings.

On the eleventh inst:, time signals from Montreal were given for the benefit of the American training ship "RANGER", which was staying for some days in out port.

The Captain, his wife and daughter, and the officers were at the "Cedars" [Superintendent's house] on several occasions for tennis.

F Chevallier


12/06/1912 MEMORANDUM TO … The Vice President and General Manager, New York The silver cup presented by Mr Mackay, has been brought to Fayal from London by Operator Bishop. It is a particularly good prize, in fact, too good for the ordinary Fayal youth to win, which possibly mighty occur, and I consider it best to confine the race to members of the three Fayal staffs.

the sports will I believe be held in October. Kindly convey our thanks to Mr Mackay for presenting the cup, and for the encouragement it gives to many of us, who are anxious to promote athletics in Fayal.

F Chevallier


12/06/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York The shipment of six cases Sulphuric acid from London per S. S. FIX on December 15th and the six cases per S.S. MARIE on February 13th, have been received minus two cases, one thrown overboard the other broken and useless. Each case contained four 42 lb jars. F Chevallier


  The Vice President and General Manager, New York The Superintendent of the D.A.T. Co:, has been endeavouring to induce the Camera of Horta to supply water for the office, and the buildings of the three Companies, which are at the present time entirely dependent on the rainfall.

We were promised when the water was brought to the town, that the mains would be laid to our buildings, but not sufficient money was provided … The D.A.T. Co: are often out of water, we have been short but have sufficient…

The Camera have no money, but propose that the pipes … be paid for by the Companies; … The Camera would repay the Companies by not charging for water until an amount, equal to the value of the pipes, had been used.

The German Sup't is very anxious to have the water laid on…

It will probably become necessary for me to wire you later, as to the decision arrived at by the other companies, and to ask for your instructions with regard to this matter.

F Chevallier


31/07/1912 MEMORANDUM TO … The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for July, 1912

Traffic passing between ourselves and the E. & A. Co:, has been about the same as for last month. Our "through" traffic has been increased since the interruption to No: 5 cable on the 24th, inst:, and some of our E. & A. business has had to circulate via the D.A.T. Co:.

…The Companies medical man, Dr Mesquita, was taken seriously ill a fortnight ago, and intended to leave for Lisbon to undergo treatment on the 19th, inst:, but the ship being full he was unable to leave. Dr Neves has temporarily taken his place.

The usual annual regatta takes place on August 11th; the boat race will probably be abandoned, the staff of the E. & A. Co: not being able to provide a crew. The swimming events are generally well contested, but the Germans have many more athletic young men to enter for everything.

E. & A. Co:. Superintendent Wood sailed for England on the 14th, inst:, he has been very unwell for some time, and it is hoped that the change may be beneficial. Mr Hardwick the Assistant Superintendent is acting in the mean-time.

F Chevallier


31/08/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for August

…The insulation of the landlines continues to fall owing to the increase of temperature, therefore I am unable to detect any deterioration since the last repairs. I shall forward a curve made from tests of these underground cables after I have been able to obtain tests at low temperatures.

Our balances have been good, and I am glad to say that the intermittent variation, which I have on several occasions reported, on our WV circuit has been removed.

On Sunday the 18th inst the variation in the balance appeared and did not disappear at once as on every other occasion, and I was able by testing with weak currents, to avoid breaking it down, eventually located it under a screw in the Cable side Lodge Lightening guard. The makers had not properly cleaned the insulation from the wire before clamping it under the screw, and the cause of the bad contact was plainly seen…

Water Supply. It is to be hoped that the proposed arrangement with the Horta Camera will be agreed for running the mains. The D.A.T.Co could arrange to connect to the town supply pipes nearer their property avoiding the "Cedars" altogether, in which case it would become very expensive for us later on…

The annual inter-company regatta and swimming races was held on the 11th inst. The boat race proved an easy win for the D.A.T.Co; they had the advantage of six oars against the E & A Co's four. This was entirely the fault of the latter crew, some of them refusing to row owing to a dispute. Of the swimming contests, the 180 yds championship was won for the "Commercial" by Moore, the longest dive was won by the same competitor, and Davis gave another win for the "Commercial" in the Consolation race.

Of the other events the Germans won the Fancy diving, the 90 yds handicap, and the diving for plates. The E & A the 90 yds scratch and the team race.

F Chevallier


30/09/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for September

…The Huertley relay used by the D.A.T.Co has been out of action for some days owing to balance troubles. The trouble is not in any way due to the instrument itself.

The arrangement with the Horta Camera for the water supply, and which is now to be put before the Board of Directors of the E,& A Co is as follows:-

The Camera require and advance of eight hundred and twentyseven milreis to purchase the street mains, this amount to be redeemed in water… It is proposed that we have four accounts with the Camera – ie Commercial, D.A.T, E, & A, and Joint… I take it that the E, & A Co will inform you of the decision their directors come to with regard to this matter….

…official message sent to Lisbon congratulating Dr Mesquita on his having been successfully operated upon. He is I believe recovering. Ii is uncertain when he will be able to return to Fayal, in the meantime Dr Neves is looking after his practise.

F Chevallier


31/10/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for October

…The Huertley relay which was out of action for three weeks was put right for a few days by the D.A.T.Co, but has now gone wrong again. The trouble seems to be in the adjustment of both the hot wire and butt contact relay instruments. I do not think there is any serious defect, but the trouble appears due to want of experience in getting the correct adjustments.

The Mackay Cup.

The Fayal Athletic sports took place on the 6th inst when the silver cup presented by our President was contested for in the mile race. For several reasons I stipulated that only members of the three companies would eligible to win the cup. There were thirteen started, six being Portuguese. A.H.Peile senior operator, and Captain of Sports in the E, & A C0 won the race in ??? style, the second man being Portuguese.

Our runner Bishop, who was expected to win, badly misjudged the speed, and was unable to catch up at the finish; later on he won the quarter mile easily.

I should like, if Mr Mackay will be good enough to give a prize for next year's sports, to allow the Portuguese to compete for it as well as cable people.

The unbusinesslike way in which the club has been managed is to be remedied, and the Portuguese members have given way to the "Foreigners" on all points in question.

Dr Mesquita, after a severe illness, returns from Lisbon to Fayal by this mail boat, and will resume his duties at once…

F Chevallier


13/11/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Staff report for 1912

[Staff mentioned and generally commended were:

Supervisor [Frederick George] Ward

Senior Operator Houghton

Senior Operator Jones

Senior Operator [George Montague] Sterling

Senior Operator Barton

Operator Relle

Operator O'Reardon

Operator Gibson

Operator Davis

Operator Moore

Operator Bishop

Operator Mawson

Operator Bubb

Operator Swaine

Mechanician Cameron

-presumed local and paid in local currency

"Local boy" Labescat

"Local boy" Medeiros

Battery-man J.Oliveira

Chief Servant A.deC.Silva

Labourer Amaral

Labourer J.Borges


Operators were paid salaries of between $35 and $70 per month according to efficiency. There is no information about the salary levels of higher grades. Local workers were paid up to 20 milreis per month – no indication of the lowest rate. 20 milreis appears to have been worth about $20 or £4 at that time judging from financial letters not reproduced here.]

…The price of labor [sic] has gone up , and the emigration to America has made it difficult to procure servants or labour of any kind.

F Chevallier


17/11/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Operator E.O'Reardon requests me to obtain your sanction for him to marry. I can recommend that you give him permission. F Chevallier


30/11/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for November

… A high insulation fault has appeared in the Fayal-St Vincent cable. It has not interfered so any extent with the working, and it is too high [resistance?] to locate; but the tests would point to it being nearer Fayal.

We had a slight earthquake at 4 a.m. on the 19th sufficient to wake everyone. Happily these disturbances have not been nearly as frequent of late.

Superintendent, and Mrs Wood [E. & A. Co] arrived by this mailboat. He has been away in England on sick leave for four and a half months, and was expected to return some weeks ago; but was detained owing to the sudden illness of Mrs Wood.

F Chevallier


31/12/1912 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for December

…The Fayal-Emden cable was interrupted from the 6th to the 9th inst, and the Emden-Vigo cable was down at about the same place from the 9th to the 23rd inst, which made the D.A.T. and E, & A offices here very busy. The Heurtley instrument is said to have been of great assistance during the breakdowns.

It may interest you to know that there were 47 earthquakes recorded at St Michaels in 1911, some lasting four days. Col Chaves, the director of the Azores observatories tells me they are about the same here, but owing to want of cash no recording instruments have been set up in Fayal, as work here costs twice as much as in the other islands.

F Chevallier


9/01/1913 The Vice President and General Manager, New York …In the Joint Station account for December the sum of 55,728 reis has been charged for recovering the cable mark buoy, driven away from its moorings by gales, its repair, and replacing; also for a new notice board for the protection of cables. our share of the above amount will be apportioned according to the number of cables protected. F Chevallier


31/01/1913 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for January

… Owing to the interruptions west of AZ, "Through" traffic shows a considerable increase, No 4 being extensively utilized, and kept open East and West until early morning.

Very heavy seas have caused much damage to the cable landing place, entirely washing away the sandy beach which formally [sic] extended for about thirty yards between the sea wall and high water mark, with a depth of 17 feet at the wall. On the 16th inst the sea had encroached so much that the foundations of the wall were being undermined, and all the ten cable were left suspended ten to twelve feet from the top, and five to six feet from the bottom.

Most of the wall for two hundred yards, except at the landing place had collapsed. The work of removing about twelve feet from the top of the wall was commenced as soon as possible, so that in the event of the wall failing no damage would be done to the cables which pass through it, and we hope to be able to lower them to a safe position when the conditions are favourable. Much of the wall is built of huge blocks of stone which makes it awkward to handle, and the work at times is hazardous owing to seas breaking over at high tide. We have been able to obtain the assistance of the Orbas Publicas for carrying out the necessary work.

The three photos enclosed show the position of the cables, but they hardly give an idea of the size of the sea wall, which is none feet in thickness.

Emden-Fayal No 2 developed a fault on the 23rd inst about fifty miles from this end. The C.S. Grosse Hertzog von Oldenburg, with Mr Ruhmkoff on board, is expected here in ten days to make the repair.

The Lisbon-Fayal cable was interrupted near Lisbon from the 13th to 22nd inst.

Influenza has been prevalent throughout the month, whole families being down with it. Superintendent Schroeder has just recovered from a severe attack, eleven of his staff were off duty at the same time.

F Chevallier


28/02/1913 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for February

Since my January report the work of safeguarding the shore ends of the cables in better positions has been continued, and all of them have been lowered below the sea wall foundations; the work being carried out by the Board of Works. Removing the wall and lowering the cables has been somewhat arduous, and at times dangerous; and as a great deal of digging was required before sufficient slack could be obtained. It has been impossible to keep an exact account of time spent on the different cables so as to apportion the charge to each company.

The total const amounts to 625,908 reis, for which the E, & A Co will be responsible for one half, and one quarter each to be paid by the C.C.Co and the D.A.T.G.

The Pico cable is Portuguese property and a proportion of the cost will be debited to the Portuguese government, so that the E, & A Co will pay less than half of the total cost

The E, & A, and D.A.T.G Superintendents and myself, after discussing the matter agreed the following payments, which I trust you will approve.

           C.C.Co   156,477 reis

          D.A.T.G   156,477  "

           E, & A   204,398  "

  Portuguese Govt   108,556  "

            Total   625,908  "

Taking the rate of exchange at 47 5/16 pence to the milreis our share is equal to £30.17.0 This arrangement appears to be quite fair. the E, & A Co will settle with the Board of Works, and make a special statement in the Monthly Joint account.

AZ-WV Interruptions.

On the 8th inst the C.S. Oldenburg arrived at Fayal to repair Emden No 2 cable, interrupted on January the 24th, and whilst grappling hooked the AZ-WV cable, which she was unable to lift. Not knowing that they had damaged it, and not sure whether it was Emden No 2 or another cu grapnel rope and proceeded fifteen miles further from Fayal where they hooked their own cable.

A "Wireless" I despatched was not received, and the ship was also unable to get into communication with Fayal by wireless. Only after the ship had cut into Emden No 2 were we able to advise of injury to our cable.

On the 15th inst, when about to make final splice on Emden No 2 cable Fayal end was lost, and ship returned to Fayal on account of stormy weather. Fifteen mile of cable had been picked up, two of which were in bad condition, no yarn at all, sheathing wired bright, and the G.P. [Gutta Percha] exposed in places.

It was then determined that ship should proceed to repair the AZ-WV cable before resuming their own work. On the 18th inst the weather was sufficiently fine for work, and cable was hooked on the 19th inst, but bad weather again coming on when cable was nearing the surface, a buoy was attached to grapnel rope. This buoy later on broke loose and the weather still being very rough, the ship, after waiting about until the 21st inst put back to Fayal.

On the 23rd inst the ship put to sea again, but returned on the 27th inst having experienced very rough weather.

Mr Ruhmkorf reported that the buoy which marked the position of the fault on our AZ-WV cable had drifted, and owing to the islands being covered with mist they were unable to get sights for locating the position. they were able to grapple on the 23rd and 245th insts, but probably did not cross our cable at all. the weather then became very rough. The ship has again put to sea today February 28th.

D.A.T. Traffic

We were able to afford assistance to the D.A.T. Co from the 26th to the 28th inst whilst one of their NY cables was presumable being transferred to Rockaway.

31/03/1913 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for March

…Through traffic over No 4 has fallen off to practically nothing, Canso and Waterville seldom requiring the cable.

The AZ-WV cable which had been accidentally hooked and damaged on the February the 13th by the C.S.Oldenburg, whilst grappling for EM-FA No 2 cable, was repaired by that ship on March the 7th. Full particulars of the repair will be forwarded to New-York from the ship.

The repair of EM-FA No 2 cable was completed on March the 12th, and on the 15th inst the "Oldenburg" renewed most of the Fayal-Pico cable, laying in about four miles out from Fayal and splicing on to the Pico end. After completing the work here ship sailed for Germany on the 16th inst, having been at the Azores since February the 8th, and having experienced bad luck with regard to weather, and the very rocky bottom on which she had to grapple.

…Operator F.J.Moore left for London on the 27th inst….

F Chevallier


10/04/1913 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Your memo 12953 March 29th, enclosing a copy of Mr Gott's United States patent [For more information click here] for Morse working has been received.

It is very interesting, and I consider quite characteristic of the inventor.

The receiving instrument must, I take it, to obtain sufficient speed, be worked in connection with a Heurtley or other multiplier.

F Chevallier


26/04/1913 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Will our President again present a silver cup to be competed for in the mile race at the Fayal sports, which will be held at the beginning of October.

Having Mr Mackay's cup last year added greatly to the keenness of competition, and it would doubtless this year be even more appreciated. My intention, if Mr Mackay gives the cup, is to make it open to all members of the Fayal Sports Club, and not to confine it to members of the three Cable Staffs as was done last year.

The cup could be purchased by the M.E. as was arranged last year, with the same engraving, and he could send it to Fayal by one of our operators returning from holidays in England.

F Chevallier


30/04/1913 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for April

…On the 17th inst a short stoppage occurred owing to a poor contact between the tongue and drum of our WV relay, which the operator in charge should have been smatter in remedying. I am very satisfied with the behaviour of our Underground cables, tests of which show the insulation is keeping up well.

Considerable dissatisfaction is caused generally by the increased taxations imposed by the government… The Republican Government does not seem to be as popular as at first, and the improvements expected of it have not materialized on this island.

The D.A.T.Co when making alterations for the addition of their Staff quarters undermined the wall dividing their property from ours, but have now rebuilt it with firmer foundations, and made it stronger than before.

E, & A Co. Superintendent Wood has been unwell recently, and will shortly go to St Michaels for a change. He tells me that he is arranging to retire in the Autumn of this year.

Operator C.J.F.Wilson, transferred ex Waterville arrived on the 27th inst, and commences his duties forthwith…

F Chevallier


27/05/1913 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Operator O'Reardon desires to go to England for two months to be married. Only one month is due to him this year, but I recommend that the extra month's special leave be granted provided that we can dispense with his services at that time, and that the extra month taken be paid back to the company. His marriage should have taken place last year, but was postponed on account of illness. F Chevallier


31/05/1913 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for May

…"Through" traffic passing over No 4 remains far below what might reasonably be expected over this route. We usually expect a slight falling off of business at this season of the year, but not quite to the extent as manifested within the last two months, which I hope is only transitory.

…The wooden footbridge which carries all the U-Gs over the small stream here is now requiring new woodwork, and steps are being taken to have it put into a more satisfactory state…

the rainfall has been unusually small so far this year; our water supply is becoming exhausted, and I shall be glad when the connection is made to the town mains. the delay is due to a difficulty in obtaining meters, these are however expected to arrive shortly.

The "Wireless" stations on these islands are in very poor working condition and nothing is done to keep them efficient. the Fayal "Wireless" mast which was blown down some months ago has never been set up; only a stump remains, rendering the station almost useless.

Superintendent Wood of the E & A Co returned from St Michaels by this mail boat…

F Chevallier


30/06/1913 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for June

…The Fayal-Porthcurno cable which had been faulty for about a fortnight was restored on the 11th inst; the fault is said to be due to trawlers.

…We are still experiencing a long spell of drought, and our water tanks have been almost dry. It is fortunate that the mains were laid…

The ship "Terra Nova" called here on June 2nd, but was quarantined, which is usual for all ships arriving from South American ports. The captain, Doctor, and purser however were given pratique ["Formal permission given to a vessel to use a foreign port upon satisfying the requirements of local health authorities" Collins Eng Dict.], and came ashore for a short stay. they evidently were delighted at being homeward bound after their long and terrible experiences [Click here for an explanation] in the South Polar regions….

F Chevallier


4/7/1913 The Vice President and General Manager, New York The money system throughout Portugal is being revised, and Banks, Customs, and all Government administrations are adopting the simpler plan of giving up the last figure, so that one reckons to hundredths instead of thousandths, as with American money. It will probably be sometime before the new system becomes general in Fayal, and Reis will be show on most bills presented for payment, but the conversion is quite as simple as before.

the new money will be known as Escudos and Centavos instead of Milreis and Reis, and resembles the American dollar and cents.

When wiring or forwarding accounts, or dealing with anything where Portuguese money is mentioned I shall in future adopt the new system.

F Chevallier


  The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for July

… The Fayal-Emden No 2 was interrupted in the English Channel from the 8th to the 15th inst, but our German friends seem to have been able to manage their traffic on the one cable satisfactorily. I don't think, however, that they have been able to keep up the speed that was at one time attained with the Huertley instrument.

The dry weather has now continued for several weeks, and the town water supply has only been turned on at the mains for four hours daily, the springs at the caldeira [a giant crater almost in the centre of the island] being at one time nearly dry. A few days ago some rain fell at the source of supply, and the water is now turned on for twelve hours daily for the present. No doubt the country will suffer a great deal from the drought.

F Chevallier


9/8/13 The Vice President and General Manager, New York …The Azorean money systems are now very mixed, Reis fortes and fracas, and Escudos fortes and fracas. The silver and nickel coins are Reis fortes, and the copper coins Reis fracas. Confusion will continue until we have a new and proper coinage. F Chevallier


31/8/13 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for August

…Our cables and undergrounds remain in normal condition. The balances have given no trouble, and have been quite steady even on many humid days, when everything was saturated with moisture. Our friends of the E,&.A Co and D.A.T.Co have not been so fortunate and have been much troubled on these occasions, and it seems to be a difficulty with the D.A.T. to keep the balances sufficiently good for fast sped working with the Heurtley multiplier.

The E,&.A. are always having more or less trouble with their balances and relays, and attribute it to using the Magnetic Induction Bridge in place of the block condensers. I think the condenser system is better, but do not believe the induction coils are altogether accountable for the balance variations which must be considerable, as their instruments have not to be adjusted to anything like the sensibility required by ours.

The drought still continues, a little rain has fallen but not nearly sufficient to prevent disaster to the crops, and with a great depreciation in the value of Portuguese money the price of everything has been increased. I am afraid a very bad time is in store for these islands.

The rate of exchange now stands at 44 13/16 pence to the Escuda, which makes the Escuda worth about ninety cents. Our system of pay was fair so long as the dollar and Milreis were equal in value, but now I think you will agree that it is necessary to make some change and fix it on a more satisfactory basis. I may say that the exchange rate is likely to become very much worse than at present, and will take years to recover.

The E,&A. Co are paid at the rate of 5,400 reis to the pound –(ie) $1 equals 1 108 Escudas -, and if the rate becomes lower than this they will pay at the rate of exchange. That Company lose whereas this Company gain and at present time our remittance will realize 1 00 Escudas for each dollar, but we will pay out for salaries etc at 1 00 Escuda equals 90 cents. I should be glad if you could kindly give this matter consideration.

F Chevallier


10/9/13 The Vice President and General Manager, New York As directed by your service 09153 of March, I arranged with the manager in England for the purchase of the silver cup presented by our President for the mile race in the Fayal sports, which will be held early next month.

It has been brought to Fayal by operator Sterling on his return from holidays, and, like the one presented last year, is nicely engraved, "Presented by Clarence Mackay Esq, President of the Commercial Cable Company".

Kindly convey my thanks to our President for presenting such a handsome prize, which will I am sure cause keen competition, and greatly add to the success of the sports.

F Chevallier


12/9/13 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Your Memo dated August 28th '13, calling my attention to the need for economy, has attention.

I have been careful not to incur unnecessary expenses at this station, and have in several instances effected considerable savings in both large and small matters. "The Cedars" is one of the show places at Fayal and, as you remark, must be properly kept up; I do no do more than is absolutely necessary in this respect.

I will watch carefully for any possible opportunity for lessening the expenditure at this station.

F Chevallier


30/9/13 The Vice President and General Manager, New York Report for September

… Our cables remain in normal condition. I have for some time suspected our underground leads Nos 3 and 6 of falling in insulation, and tests taken a few days ago give 920 and 1040 megohms per n/m ([nautical mile?]; last year on the same date they gave 1090 and 1310 megohms per n/m respectively.

In my report on the repairs to the underground cable May 16th 1912 I mentioned these two leads as being weak, No 6 in the first length, and No 3 in the second length from the office. It is probable that the fall will prove to be due to bad places in the core itself and not in the joints. the other leads give about 1350 megohms per n/m, the same as last year.

The Fayal-Lisbon cable was interrupted on the first of this month near St Michaels, and was restored on the 8th inst.

Some rain has fallen since my last report, but too late to prevent great loss to the crops, and at the present time one feel greatly relieved by the change from the damp heat to comparatively cold dry weather.

A peculiar sickness in parts of the island, which the doctors call Paratyphoid, has attacked many people, several of whom have died. it is said to be infectious, and is spreading, but it is to be hoped that the change to better weather conditions will put a stop to it.

… operator O'Reardon leaves for England by this mail boat to be married.

F Chevallier


29/9/13 The Vice President and General Manager, New York AZORES STATION

Expenses for the month of August 1913 as compared with the same month of 1912.

Items   1913 Increase Decrease
  $  c $  c $  c
Office Expenses 15 18   5 84
Salaries 1519 36   196 94
Lighting & Firing 52 00   9 93
Postage 1 19 16  
Maintce of Lines nil nil nil
Repairs 16 30   2 33
Consumable Stores Purchased nil nil nil
Consumable Stores Used 39 54 1 47  
  Total 1 63 254 37

F Chevallier


2/10/13 The Vice President and General Manager, New York In the enclosed table of expenses for August 1913 compared with August 1912. Under Office Expenses, the decrease of $5.84 is accounted for by the dollar being equal to 1.011 Escudas in August 1912 as against 1.086 this year… [much more detail on the differences] [There follows a very similar table and discussion comparing Septembers 1913 and 1912.] F Chevallier



The cables (information from Bill Glover's site)

1893 Carcevalos, Portugal - Sao Miguel - Fayal - Pico - Sao Jorge: Pico - Terceira: Sao Jorge - Graciosa, Azores Europe & Azores Telegraph Co
1900 Greetsiel - Borkum (Greetsiel being the mainland landing near Emden and Borkum an island offshore) - Azores German Atlantic Telegraph Co
1900 Azores - New York German Atlantic Telegraph Co
1900 Nova Scotia - Horta, Azores Commercial Cable Co
1901 St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands - Fayal, Azores Western Telegraph Co
1901 Azores - Waterville, Ireland Commercial Cable Co
1903 Greetsiel - Borkum - Azores German Submarine Telegraph Co
1904 Azores - New York German Submarine Telegraph Co
1906 Porthcurno, England - Fayal, Azores Europe & Azores Telegraph Co
1906 St Vincent Cape Verde Islands - Fayal, Azores Western Telegraph Co

1913 patent

"British scientist John Gott invents a system that uses current reversals for telegraph transmission. This solves the persistent problem of breaks in transmission where cables meet land lines, a problem that had made wire communication unreliable."

Taken from

 The Terra Nova

This is the Captain Scott expedition that reached the South Pole but where the expedition group died returning to base. I think the "captain" would have been E. R. G. Evans, Lieut. R.N., Commander who sent a telegram from Christchurch, New Zealand announcing the disaster that had befallen the expedition.

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