Lashing machines "wind stainless steel wire around telephone, power, and multi-media cable, thereby securing or 'lashing' it to the supporting messenger strand between poles." This quote applies mostly to copper or old fiber, a newer method for fiber is described at the bottom of the page. GMP Tools (external link)
Our friendly OSP expert, Ed Delaney of Pittsburgh, comments on this early 1950s picture. "What I see is a Lineman (if he's a union man) putting a temporary lashing wire clamp on the lashing wire and 'strand' to hold it from unwinding while he transfers the 'lashing machine' to the other side of the pole. It's that big thing near the pole."
"I've hefted some of those big lashers from one side of the pole to the other while standing on spikes. Look at the left side of the picture and you'll see that the lineman's tightening a temporary clamp on the strand and lashing wire to keep it tight, and to keep the cable from sagging. Next, he'll cut the lashing wire close to the machine, lift the lasher up off the strand, (also called 'the messenger' by the old guys when I started in '57) shift his weight on the spikes and swing the lashing machine over to the other side of the pole and back on the strand. If you blow the picture up some, you can see the slot on the underside that fits the strand and where the cable slides through."
"If you look closely, you might be able to see the two metal loops that the wye shaped pulling rope hangs from. You can see the pulling rope being held tight by the man who was on the ground that day, (they/we took turns climbing by the day) on the front side of the pole going down about a forty-five degree angle. That large, circular hole on our side of the lasher, with the wide vertical bar near the guy's left forearm, holds the lashing wire in it. The bar, obviously, kept the coil from falling out."
"Now, back to the lashing wire that he has to cut to move the lasher, that's the reason for the temporary lashing wire clamp that he's tightening with his right hand. After he throws the lasher on the other side of the pole, he'll take a regular, permanent lashing wire clamp out of the canvas bag hanging from his safety belt and tighten it down on the lashing wire and strand, then take back his temporary strand clamp."
"When they were putting up lead cable around here, they used lead sleeves of varying diameter, from three-quarters of an inch, used for two-pair in the underground terminals (trouble sleeves) up to maybe three or four inches in diameter. That was in the air, not in the underground. They could be much bigger down there. These were called lead sleeves and looked like tin cans with the ends cut out. Splice cases came into use later, I think, with that stalpeth cable (plastic sheath, aluminum inner shield and paper wrapped conductors) that you mentioned. And they bolted together.
"We had a third level supervisor call a meeting one morning to tell the Craftsmen who had mastered pouring and wiping molten lead into an airtight, waterproof sealed joint, in a small, cramped manhole with almost no elbow room, that, 'Now I can hire any kid off the street, give him a socket-wrench set and have him doing your job in a couple of hours.') He's safely dead and buried now, no one can get him. And he died of natural causes, they say."
"Nowadays, the cable lashing system I describe is pretty much outmoded now, old technology. While I can't picture in my mind how ariel fiber cables are hung, I do I know how it was pulled into and through manholes. Mostly through because it is so small in diameter and easy to pull for hundreds of feet. Nowadays, aerial cable comes one piece with the strand. See the picture below. The poly sheath is molded around the cable and the strand at the factory so that it looks like the numeral 8. Picture the upper part of the eight as about one-half/one-quarter or even one-eighth as big as the bottom. Put a dot in the center that represents the strand. For the bottom part, put a whole lot of dots close to each other within that circle. They'll represent the paired conductors bound into twenty-five pair groups."
Ed Delaney: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Edsbees1@aol.com