Monday, February 18, 2013

Telegraph wire splicing

From: ""

I am doing some research for a historical novel about the transcontinental railroad. I am wondering how telegraph wires were spliced in the mid nineteenth century? If solder was used, how was it applied? I have found some reference to a gas powered solder melting pot, but I don't know if that was used on wires. If a soldering iron was used, how was it heated? Was any kind of tape used? Does anyone know? ...

—Steve Bartholomew, Lakeport CA

Western Union splice
Western Union splice
"Diagram showing how to make a short Western Union wire splice (A through D), and two images of longer variations on the splice (E & F)"
Practical Electric Wiring by John MacLaren Sharp, 1915. pp. 13-14.


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Chris Graves

All the splices I have seen, whether on old original wire or newer wire, were of the type called a Western Union splice. They can still be found today, although they are harder to find than they were a few years ago. Should you find one, photo and examine, but please leave in place for the next tourist.

—G J Chris Graves, NewCastle, Cal.

2/18/2013 10:47 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


Can you tell me if the splices were soldered? If they were, I'm trying to figure out how it was done. ...


2/18/2013 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Developed during the heydey of the telegraph, the Lineman’s splice is designed for connections that will be under tension. It is commonly claimed that, properly made, a Lineman’s splice is stronger than the wires of which it is composed. ...
Though the Lineman’s splice was originally used without solder, today soldering is common.

2/18/2013 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Western Union splice was designed to be a solderless connection and if done right it is a good connection without solder but most Western Union splices today are soldered. A proper non soldered Western Union splice will improve with age because of cold metal flow."

2/18/2013 11:44 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kyle Wyatt"

Check Western Union Splice on Wikipedia.

I believe originally without solder.


2/19/2013 2:24 AM  

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