Lead weight, marked Reid, with which the original cross-Channel telegraph cable of 1850 was weighted, made by Reid Brothers, Islington, London, England, 1850.
This lead weight is an unused example of those employed to weigh down the first international submarine telegraph cable, laid across the Channel in 28 August 1850 between Dover and Cap Gris Nez. Pairs of weights were clamped to the cable at intervals of 100 yards (91.4 m) to ensure that it sank to the seabed. The cable failed during the first night, reportedly because a fisherman had caught the cable with his anchor and, without realising what it was, cut it free. The cable was not expected to be a permanent success, and the action of the tides soon destroyed the insulating material. It was intended as a test of the possibility of the idea of laying a cable between England and France. Having proved that it was possible, a second cable was laid the following year in 1851.
- Object Number:
- lead weight
- component - object
- Donated by E. E. C. Marsh
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
View manifest in IIIF viewer
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.