Telephone cable damaged by fusion at Manchester, c 1900.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Cable containing a number of paper-insulated copper wires enclosed in a lead sheath. These cables were laid underground and were used mostly for telegraph circuits but sometimes also for telephone circuits. On this specimen the lead sheath has corroded away completely in one place, the damage probably being caused by stray electric currents leaking from a nearby electric tramway. The specimen was probably kept at the time as a good example of this kind of damage, and it was eventually preserved in the BT historical collection. It was acquired by the Science Museum, along with about 150 other items, when the BT collection was dispersed in 2003.