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Laying the first Atlantic telegraph cable. The SS Great Eastern seen preparing to lay the first successful telegraph cable under the Atlantic Ocean in 1865. The Great Eastern was the third of the large ships designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. At 212 metres in length and displacing 19,000 tons, it was by far the largest ship in the world when launched in 1858, and remained so for 40 years. Although a commercial failure as a passenger liner, the Great Eastern was large enough and powerful enough for the task of laying a telegraph cable on the ocean floor.
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