Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies

Before most cables ran underground, all electrical, telephone and telegraph wires were suspended from high poles, creating strange and crowded streetscapes. Here are some typical views of late-19th century Boston, New York, Stockholm, and other wire-filled cities.

Advertisement

The railway station at Pearl Street, Boston, Massachusetts, after a hurricane in January 1881

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies
Advertisement

(via Tekniska museet)

Wires over New York, 1887

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies

(via Retronaut)

A telephone tower in Stockholm, Sweden, with 5000 connected lines. It was used between 1887 and 1913, but the tower stood there until 1953, when it fell down after a fire.

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies
Advertisement

(via Tekniska museet)

An 1880s postcard of Broadway, New York

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies
Advertisement

(via Ephemeral New York)

A New York street during the blizzard of 1888, which occurred between 12th and 14th of March and paralyzed the city with 40" of snow and winds up to 60 mph, creating some 50 ft high drifts.

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies
Advertisement

(Photo by AP)

On a telegraph building in Stockholm, Sweden, 1895

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies
Advertisement

(via Tekniska museet)

70-foot poles were part of the scenery in the early days

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies
Advertisement

(via Classic Rotary Phones)

Dozens of telephone wires on roofs, Stockholm, Sweden, between 1890 and 1900

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies

(via Tekniska museet)

Telephone pole line construction in New York, c. 1903

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies
Advertisement

(via IEEE Global History Network)

Pratt, Kansas, 1911

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies
Advertisement

(via This Is True)

Telephone lines and supporting structure in a lane west of Main Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, March 1914

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies
Advertisement

(via Vanalogue)

Looking north up Albion from 36th Street in Seattle, Washington, 1952

Illustration for article titled Photos from the Days When Thousands of Cables Crowded the Skies
Advertisement

(via Paul Dorpat)

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

seoulsister
Seoul Sister

A lot of comments on this article about what a mess these are, or how ugly, but I think there's really a degree of beauty to it. Like crude imitations of spider webs. Or visual manifestations of connections between people - instead of just an open space of an urban area, showing how people are connecting.