Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! Happy New Year!
On January 1, 1903, the Hawaiian Islands were linked by telegraph cable to San Francisco. This was important for Hawaiʻi since electronic communication impacted the speed of communication in a significant way.
Prior to the introduction of the telegraph, communication to and from the rest of the world was sent by written letters and carried by ships. Correspondence and major news would take weeks to reach Hawaiʻi.
The ship Silvertown, from California, laid an underwater cable that connected to a cable system on land at Sans Souci beach in Waikīkī. The Pacific Commercial Telegraph Company’s office in downtown Honolulu received its first incoming message at 8:30 p.m. that same night. On January 3, 1903, the first newspaper stories sent by telegraph were published in Honolulu. “Cable Day” was celebrated on January 5, 1903 at ʻIolani Palace in Honolulu with speeches, fireworks, and a ball.
Photo: Telegraph operator; Honolulu, Oʻahu. 1903. Photo by L. E. Edgeworth. Bishop Museum Archives. SA 25169 [detail].
Photo: Cable landing at Sans Souci beach; Waikīkī, Oʻahu. Jan. 1, 1903. Photo by L. E. Edgeworth. Bishop Museum Archives. SA 25170.
Image: Telegram regarding merchandise to be shipped to California from Hiyama Shoten; Honolulu, Oʻahu. 1943. Bishop Museum Archives. SP 219122.