1st Submarine Telegraph Cable

1st Submarine Telegraph Cable

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: The first ever international submarine telegraph cable was laid on August 28, 1850. The landing rights obtained from the French and British authorities allowed the General Oceanic Telegraph Company to lay a cable between Dover and Calais.The company was founded in 1845 by the brothers Jacob (1808-1898) and John Watkins (1895–1863) Brett to establish telegraphic communication between England and France. The cable was payed out by the converted paddle tug Goliath led by HMS Widgeon, a naval survey ship which took soundings and plotted the course to Cap Gris-Nez. The cable consisted of an unprotected copper wire encased in gutta percha. Due to design and manufacturing faults, it failed almost immediately, but a redesigned cable was successfully laid in 1851 which lasted nearly 20 years.

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Keywords: cable, england, france, goliath, gutta percha, history of technology, hms widgeon, international, jacob brett, john watkins brett, submarine, submarine cable, telecommunications, telegraph, telegraphy, undersea

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