Fonds YAM - Yamachiche Wireless Receiving Station fonds

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Yamachiche Wireless Receiving Station fonds

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CA ON00419 YAM

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5.25 linear metres of textual records and 64 technical drawings

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(1925 - 1975-06-23)

Administrative history

In the early 1920s, the advantages of using short radio waves, rather than long ones for sending wireless telegrams became apparent. The British government decided to create an Imperial Wireless Chain to link the British Empire together. The Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. and its Canadian subsidiary, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. of Canada, which became the Canadian Marconi Co. (CMC) in 1925, set up a sending station in Drummondville QC and a receiving station at Yamachiche QC, near Trois-Rivières. Radio telegrams and telexes received here for Canadian distribution were forwarded to the existing telecommunication companies in Montreal. The Yamachiche Receiving Station also functioned as a research, repair and custom radio manufacturing facility for CMC.

Wireless telegraphy service connecting London to Canada and on to Australia started in 1926. As telephone technology improved, radio telephone service between London and Canada was added in 1932. Gradually this service was extended to other destinations. Radio facsimiles, mainly for sending wire photos, were added in the late 1930s.
After the Second World War, it was decided that Canada’s international telecommunications should be handled by a government body rather than a private company. In 1950 a Canadian crown corporation, the Canadian Overseas Telecommunication Corp. (COTC), was established to take over CMC’s wireless facilities. This led to new receivers being installed at Yamachiche. Teletype and TOR (teletype on radio) circuits were installed with additional connections to Germany, France, Italy and Bermuda. The COTC also established wireless services to South America and to Europe. By 1968 the COTC had 6 radio telephone and 9 radio teletype circuits, its maximum number.

Technological advances continued to change telecommunications. High capacity undersea cables, which carried multiple voice and data channels were introduced, such as the TAT 1 cable from Britain to Canada, was inaugurated in 1956. By the mid-1960s commercial satellite communication further cut into the role of Drummondville and Yamachiche. When wireless service ended on 23 June 1975, only the circuit to Greenland was still functioning. In the same year COTC became Teleglobe Canada. The main Yamachiche building became a furniture manufacturing company. In 2011 there was a serious fire which destroyed the building.

Custodial history

Teleglobe Canada donated the archives and several artifacts to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in 1978.

Scope and content

Fonds contains the technical and operational files relating to the Canadian Marconi Co./Canadian Overseas Telecommunications Corporation operation of the Yamachiche wireless receiving station in Yamachiche QC, 1913-1973. It includes correspondence 1925-1931, some operational files, technical files on wireless receivers at the station and blueprints of receiver schematics 1934-1952; manuals and instruction books for receivers made by Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Co., Canadian Marconi Co., Hasler Ltd., Northern Electric Co., Philips Telecommunications etc., 1942-1964. Operational files from the Canadian Overseas Telecommunications Corp. which include its corporate memos and procedures and various types of weekly and monthly technical reports, 1955-1971. A selection of logs for telegraph, telephone and graphs for wireless circuits to major cities in Europe, Asia and South America, 1963-1973. Also trade literature and catalogues produced by Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. and other manufacturers, 1927-1963.

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A file or item-level inventory for each series is available upon request.

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Related materials: the Canada Science and Technology Museum has several artifacts related to these archives - the wireless transmitter from Drummondville Station and other artifacts from the Canadian Marconi Company.

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Written by Larry McNally, 2018. Draft French translation by Adele Torrance, 2018. French editing by Céline Mongeau, Larocque Linguistic Services, 2018-12.

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