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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser


The Story of the Atlantic Telegraph


Finished The Story of the Atlantic Telegraph by Fields. The cables were copper, insulation, steel for support, and a new latex called gutta-percha, designed to protect the cable from the sea. The first message went from England to Canada in 1858, but, impatient with the communication speed, the electrician on the American side decided to up the voltage from 400 to 2000 volts, the insulation broke down and the cable failed. It lasted maybe a month.

The civil war put a halt to the project, but in 1865-66, although with many breakages and issues, the cable was repaired and new cable was run, bringing in the era of transatlantic telegraphy.