The History Of The Term 'Cable'
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Diplomatic messages are called cables, as if they were filaments of some multi-strand wire. Well, the first diplomatic cables were linked to real wire. They were transmitted by telegraph on underwater cables that in the 19th century began to connect nations.
(Soundbite of telegraph beeps)
SIEGEL: Before the telegraph, communication and transportation were bound together. Messages moved from nation to nation at the speed of a fast horse, or a ship. And that pace was not considered a bad thing.
GUY RAZ, host:
But the telegraph cable that connected Britain and Europe, and later Europe to America, changed all of that, and speed won the day. Those original cables are gone now, but the name for a diplomatic message is still called a cable in its new digital form.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.