As most collections mine started by chance. I had a piece of the original 1866 telegraph cable laid by The River Plate Telegraph Co. Ltd. between Colonia in Uruguay and Punta Lara in the Argentine. Well, I lost that piece (a long history) and trying to find a replacement, I visited the old linesman still residing at the Colonia Cable House, which he had bought.
Not only he had a piece, which he gladly gave to me, but in addition I received from him several telegraph items including galvanometers, keys, a cable termination box, sounders, etc, and a beautiful clock.
Some of those items needed a bit of care, which they received from me, but then I decided why not have MORE items of the same kind ? Obviously I was already infected with a disease that has no known cure: collecting.
That started a patient search in all the flea markets in Uruguay, taking advantage of the occasional trip abroad and purchases through the Internet. Nearly simultaneously I started a collection of insulators, of which I am including some in this page. Please bear in mind that most collections include things that range from the nearly sublime to the absolutely ridiculous. Mine does not escape that possibility.
I was the last manager of the Cable and Wireless branch in Uruguay, operating under the name of “The Western Telegraph Co.
Prior to that, in the late fifties I was sent to the Engineering School that C & W had in Cornwall, receiving training as a submarine cable technician.
Back in Uruguay one of my duties was to repair the submarine cables laid in the River Plate area. Hence the origin of the 1866 telegraph cable in my possession, mentioned somewhere else.
After nearly forty years in telecommunications, it is difficult to forget the very beginnings of one’s career when Cable Code was used and telegrams were laboriously printed on a piece of tape, and when teleprinters and the Telex service were the new things (at least within the Company in this part of the world) so with no small amount of fondness I dedicated myself to collect telegraph items and, in some cases, to restore them.
Add to that the pleasure of observing the amount of care and ingenuity taken to design and manufacture most of them, and I have all the ingredients to enjoy a most rewarding pastime.
And that’s it in a nutshell.
If this collection has aroused your curiosity I suggest you get into the Google search site and visit the many collections found there, I recommend the following: Tom Perera´s, Fons Vanden Berghen´s and the Porthcurno Museum of Submarine Telegraphy.
Those collections are really important !