and Hawaii were added to the Union as the 49th and 50th states, respectively,
in 1959. Prior to that time, both were referred to as possessions or
territories. This story from a 1957 edition of Radio & Television
refers to Bell Telephone Systems and the U.S. Army Signal
Corps laying the first cable for opening commercial telephone service
between Port Angeles (near Seattle), Washington, and Ketchikan, Territory
of Alaska. The 900 mile, submarine cable carried 36 circuits, and took
2 years to install at a cost of $20 million ($166 million in 2014 money).
Work conditions for crews were nowhere near as accommodating or protected
against accidents as they are today. As with so many things, our forebears
sacrificed life and limb, literally, to bring us to the comfortable
existence we enjoy today. The men in these and other vintage photos
I post deserve your gratitude.
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vintage Radio News
Alaska Telephone Cable Opened for Use
Underwater cable handles 36 conversations at once, provides added circuits
for public and defense needs.
Beach landing of cable at Skagway, Alaska. The cable from the
bow of the cable ship Albert J. Myer, in background, is supported
by means of drums and balloons.
The U. S. Army Signal Corps and the Bell Telephone System opened to
public service a new and important communications link between the United
States and the growing Territory of Alaska. The link consists of an
underwater telephone cable system stretching some 1250 miles from Port
Angeles, Washington, to Skagway, Alaska.
The cable system represents
two major projects, costing a. total of 20 million dollars - one provided
by the Long Lines Dept. of A. T. & T.; the other by the Alaska Communication
System, which is operated by the Signal Corps. The A. T. & T. cable
system extends from Port Angeles to Ketchikan, Alaska, a distance of
about 900 miles. Twin cables, containing built-in amplifiers, lie in
the ocean depths off the coast between the two points. These cables
were placed by the cable ship Albert J. Myer late last year.
Map shows route of new telephone cable. Total length is about
1250 statute miles.
The ACS cable, which covers the 400 miles between Ketchikan and the
Skagway, is a single submarine cable stretching along the inland waterway
on the southern coast of Alaska. This cable utilizes amplifying stations
that are located on islands or points of land that dot that area.
From Port Angeles, the southern terminal, the cable circuits
are connected to the U. S. network at Seattle by a radio relay link
recently constructed by the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co. At the
northern end, beyond Skagway, the circuits are fed into the Alaska communications
network, operated by ACS.
The system took over two years to
build. It can carry 36 conversations at one time and will be used to
supplement the radiotelephone and land line facilities that have been
operating between the States and Alaska since 1937. The new cable system
will more than double the capacity of present radio and land line circuits.
Men loading cable
into one of four vast storage tanks
below deck of the cable ship.
Posted February 25, 2014