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The Transatlantic Cable

Posted in Anniversary, Communications, Technology on Friday, 23 July 2010

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picture, The Great Eastern

The Great Eastern, the biggest passenger ship in the world in its day, later converted for cable laying. Illustration by John S. Smith

2 August marks the anniversary of an unsuccessful laying of the first transatlantic telegraph cable. Three attempts were made at laying a telegraphic cable across the Atlantic, one in 1857 and two in 1858, before the first attempt was made by the Great Eastern, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The converted passenger ship tried twice, but on its first attempt, on this day in 1865, the cable broke.

A second attempt from the same ship was successful and the first cable was subsequently repaired. The first message was sent on 16 August 1866.

More pictures featuring the Great Eastern can be found here. Many more illustrations relating to ships and maritime history can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

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