Portion of first submarine cable laid between Dover and Calais in glass presentation tube with ivorine label, recovered in 1875, made by the Gutta Percha Company, Islington, 1850.
This cable consists of a single copper wire, with gutta-perch insulation, but no armouring. It was held down to the bed of the sea by lead weights attached at 100-yard (91.4 m) intervals. It was laid between Dover and Cap Gris Nez on 28 August 1850, and 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:
Glass tube: 185 mm x 30 mm diameter, 2.2 kg
ivorine label: 50 mm x 155 mm .01 kg
- Donated by the General Post Office
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