“The Voice Beneath the Sea” is a color film produced by John Sutherland and presented by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company’s Long Lines Department. Produced in the late 1950s, it details the joint communication venture between Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom and the creation of the first transatlantic telephone cable system. Launched in 1956, the system was designed to link both the United States and Canada to the UK, with facilities for some circuits to be leased to other West European countries. The cable provided 30 telephone circuits to the US and six to Canada. Most were for communication with the UK, the rest were connected through London to give direct access to Europe. Undertaken by Britain’s Post Office Engineering Department, along with the American Telegraph and Telephone Company, Bell Telephone Laboratories and the Canadian Overseas Telecommunications Corporation, the project took three years to complete. (During its first year of service, the TAT1 — or Transatlantic No. 1 cable — carried twice as many calls as the radio circuits had done in a year – about 220,000 calls between Britain and the United States, and 75,000 between Britain and Canada.)
Narrated by film actor John Hiestand and produced by John Sutherland (who voiced the adult Bambi in the famed 1942 movie), the film begins its discussion of the TAT1 cable in 1953, and at mark 01:13 we learn of the early stages of the program in New York, London, and Montreal. Through the use of animation, the film explains the complexity of sound patterns and how they are amplified and re-amplified. Oceans, however, limited radio relay system that had typically been used in making calls, the viewer learns at mark 05:35. Radio waves helped eliminate that problem, however nearly all wavelengths for telephone communication had already been put to use by the early 1950s, we are told. The solution was a series of cables and “repeaters” laid across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, and at mark 07:20 the viewer watches rows of steady hands making those cables a reality. The film continues showing the construction process in painstaking detail, and after reviewing how the cable route was determined (starting at mark 12:20), the film embarks on the laying of the cable beginning with scenes at mark 13:20 aboard Her Majesty's Telegraph Ship Monarch — a British cable ship. At the land-end in Gallanach Bay near Oban, Scotland, the cable was connected to coaxial (and then 24-circuit carrier lines) carrying the transatlantic circuits via Glasgow and Inverness to the International Exchange at Faraday Building in London. At the cable landing point in Newfoundland the cable joined at Clarenville, then crossed the 300-mile Cabot Strait by another submarine cable to Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia. From there the communications traffic was routed to the US border by a microwave radio relay link, and in Brunswick, Maine the route joined the main US network and branched to Montreal to connect with the Canadian network. Mark 26:00 shows jubilant men at the Clarenville station completing a call, marking a successful end to their project.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com