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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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