Engraving of a telegraph cable being prepared

Engraving of a telegraph cable being prepared

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Telegraph cable. Engraving of underwater telegraph cables being prepared for laying in the 19th century. The cable is being wound in circles on a large reel in a ship. The cable was to be trailed out behind the ship as it moved through the water. The cables were coated with gutta-percha, a natural rubber-like substance, to electrically insulate them. These cables were used in the first attempt to lay a telegraph link under the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and America in 1857. The attempt failed when the cable snapped. A later attempt was successful in 1866. Image from aboard the British ship HMS Agamemnon, one of the two ships involved in the failed attempt.

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Keywords: 19th cent, 19th cent., atlantic, cable, communication, communications, gutta-percha, historical, history of science, technology, telegraph, telegraph cable, transatlantic telegraph cable, underwater, use

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