Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day is celebrated annually on September 21 in the United Kingdom. A “telegraph pole” is the British way of referring to a utility pole. A utility pole is a column or post which is usually made out of wood to support overhead power lines and a variety of other public utilities, such as electrical cables, fiber optic cables, and other such equipment as transformers, street lights, etc. A telegraph or utility pole can also alternatively be referred to as a transmission pole, a telephone pole, a telecommunications pole, or a power pole, among others — all depending on what purpose the pole serves.
History of Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day
The first utility poles were introduced in 1843 by William Fothergill Cooke, who pioneered the telegraph. First used on a line along the Great Western Railway, these poles were then incorporated into regular use by the mid-19th century in America with telegraph systems, beginning with Samuel Morse, who attempted to bury a line between Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. but eventually moved it overhead when his system proved faulty. Today, underground distribution lines are increasingly used as an alternative to utility poles, due to poles’ perceived ugliness, as well as safety concerns in areas with large amounts of snow or ice buildup.
Early installations of poles involved treatment with tar, but were later treated with creosote or copper sulfate as the preservative instead as the tar treatment was found to only last up to about seven years. In Eastern Europe, Russia, and some third-world countries, it is still common to find utility poles carrying bare communication wires mounted on insulators not only along railway lines but along roads and sometimes even in urban areas. In the United States, electricity is predominantly carried on unprotected aluminum conductors which are wound around solid steel cores and attached to rated insulators made out of glass, ceramic, or poly. Telephone, Community Access Television, and fiber optic cables are generally affixed directly to the pole with no insulators.
In the United Kingdom, a substantial amount of the rural electricity distribution system is carried on wooden poles. These poles normally convey electricity at 11 or 33 kV from 132 kV substations and are supplied from pylons to distribution substations or pole-mounted transformers. Wooden poles have been used for 132 kV substations for many years since the early 1980s. The conductors on these poles are bare metal connected to the posts by insulators. Wooden poles can also be used for low voltage distribution to customers.
Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day timeline
William Fothergill Cooke, an inventor and the pioneer of the telegraph, is born.
The Cooke-Wheatstone telegraph is patented.
The first telegraph poles are introduced along the Great Western Railway by William Fothergill Cooke.
The Electric Telegraph Company is founded by William Fothergill Cooke.
Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day FAQs
What is the lifespan of a telegraph pole?
Most power poles are much older than their useful life expectancy, which is likely somewhere around 50 to 60 years — some even older.
Can telegraph poles be put anywhere?
Authorities do have the right to place telegraph poles wherever they want. However, they do have to be able to prove that there is a true need for the pole and it is the best and most convenient location.
How deep is a telephone pole buried?
The typical utility pole runs about 40 feet in length, of which six feet are buried in the ground.
Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day Activities
Do some research
Get some knowledge about the history, technology, and value of utility poles to modern-day living. You never know what you might discover.
Pay your cable bills
The day is kind of a fun reminder to pay for your electricity. Don’t forget other such bills directly or indirectly associated with telegraph poles.
Share on social media
Join the conversation on social media using the #TelegraphPoleAppreciationDay hashtag. Spread the word about this interesting day!
30 to 100 feet tall
Telegraph poles are usually really tall and can measure anywhere between 30 to 100 feet in height.
Not limited to electric wires
Electric wires aren’t the only kind of wires carried on utility poles. Some wires are telephone wires, and others are for C.A.T.V.
Been around for decades
Some poles have been around for up to five or six decades and still function very well.
Insulators for protection
These poles use insulators to prevent direct contact of the wires with the poles which may be dangerous to the public.
Iconic pole in Florida
The most unique utility pole is in Florida, which is very well known as the “Mickey Mouse Pole.”
Why We Love Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day
They help carry our electricity
Utility poles are useful for carrying electricity across long-distance networks. This makes them more easily accessible.
They carry our T.V. cables
We need cables to access our television sets. Utility poles help carry the cables that make this possible.
They help store energy
Utility poles help store all of the energy that is required for our basic power supply and connectivity needs. This is essential for our day-to-day living.
Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day dates