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The repairing of cables, says a writer in the " Sydney Morning Herald," is usually a matter of the greatest difficulty. t"he Secretary of the Eastern Extension graph Company, writing to the postal authorities of New South' Waliss in'reference to the interruptions in 1883, pointed out the' nature of these difficulties, and stated that the trouble encountered by the Company's officials in repairing the cables could hardly be imagined, and that the lines on being repaired were separated as far as possible in order to avoid the possibility of breaking or injuring one cable in grappling for the other. The idea of the broken ends of these cables lying hundreds of fathoms deep beneath the track of passing vessels, appeals in a peculiar . manner to the: imagination of anyone who has any knowledge of what the bottom of the ocean is like. Possj bly the prevailing notion is that the bottom of the sea is all sand and extends pretty much in an unbroken surface, like a billiard-table, from one continent :to another, so that all that has to be done in laying a cable is to drop it into the bed of the ocean and let it lie there. But fancy for a moment a cable strung across mountains and then dropping into deep valleys and gorges' by the sheer force of its own weight. And it is the picture of these broken cables, broken possibly halfway down a hill or buried in the sands half-way across a valley, that captivates the fancy and makes one marvel at the skill of man which enables him to pickup these ends from the mysterious depths of ocean and put them together again. The location of a cable break can be very accurately determined by electricians. After having found out how far the break extends, the captain of the repairing vessel ascertains the course of the cable, and steams for the spot where the fault lies. The greatest dimcultyiis generally found in grappling for the cable. In fine weather, and under favourable conditidns, the cable is picked up in two or three days, but if; more often takes a week or more. _ The ''grapplingirons are immense affairs' littayhed to cables, manipulated from the deck of the steamer, and are plunged downwards and dragged over the bbttom of the ocean. When the cable is finally grappled, the fact is made clear at the steamer^nd of the line by reason of the strain to wliich the grappling-iron is subjected. The strain is revealed by an instrument on board the steamer known as a dynamometer. When this instrument reveals the presence of such a strain as the grappling of the cable would bring about, the iron is hauled up with the cable at the end of it. The repairers always calculate to grapple the'cable about ten miles, away frpm the point at which the break has occurred. If the irons grappled the cable too soon the .end of the cable would slip away long befqre it reached the deck of the steamer; The break is then spliced, and the defects remedied, and the rehabilitated cable is once more consigned to the deep,

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Bibliographic details

REPAIRING CABLES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2477, 29 July 1890

Word Count

REPAIRING CABLES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2477, 29 July 1890