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Telecommunications, Telephone, Paperweight, Cable, New York-Chicago, Souvenir Relic, Vintage, 1929


New York-Chicago Cable, Chicago-South Bend Section
[Souvenir Cable Paperweight]

American: 1929
Copper cable in metal case, mounted in brass collar stand
2.25 inches high; 3.25 inches diameter

Souvenir New York to Chicago paperweight made from telephone cable installed between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana in the late 1920s. The relic specimen cable section is made of copper wires mounted vertically within a cylindrical metal sleeve, made into a paperweight, c. 1929, with the addition of brass collars at the top and bottom. On one side of the cable sleeve a later brass explanation plate is attached with a map of cable lines in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States. The map extends from Portland, Maine, in the east to Chicago in the west, south as far as Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati, and north as far as Toronto, Canada. On the other side is a brass identification plate with information about the cable. The brass base is engraved M.D. Sedam, presumably personalized for the original owner.

Product Description Continues Below.


The New York-Chicago cable was installed between 1921 and 1926 by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company to increase the capacity for long distance telephone service. An issue of the Bell Telephone Quarterly published midway through the project explained that the development of telephone repeaters had made it possible to use conductors of a smaller gauge. This allowed for more circuits with fewer cables. As different sections of toll cable were placed in service some open wire was dismantled immediately, and additional wire would be dismantled later on, in order to lighten the load on telephone poles. Presumably the cable section incorporated into this paperweight is of the then state-of-the-art telephone cable used in the replacement process, as allowed by the greater number of circuits.

Inscription on metal plate:

New York-Chicago Cable
Chicago-South Bend Section
B Cable
27 Quads  16 Gauge
6 Pair     16 Gauge
99 Quads  19 Gauge
1 Quad   22 Gauge


“Engineering the Long Lines.” Bell Telephone Quarterly. Vol. 2, No. 1. New York: January 1923. pp. 23-24. Online at Google Books: (28 February 2011).

Additional information


20th Century