Sample of submarine cable laid between Dover and Calais, 1850

Made:
1850 in Islington
maker:
Gutta Percha Company
1950-230 Pt1:
      
      Short length (including a joint) of the original Cross-Channel submarine telegraph cable laid on 28th

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1950-230 Pt1: Short length (including a joint) of the original Cross-Channel submarine telegraph cable laid on 28th
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Short length (including a joint) of the original Cross-Channel submarine telegraph cable laid on 28th August 1850 between Dover and Calais. Cable originally made by Gutta Percha Company, Islington, London, England, 1850.

Short length (including a joint) of the original Cross-Channel submarine telegraph cable laid on 28th August 1850 between Dover and Calais. Cable originally made by Gutta Percha Company, Islington, London, England, 1850.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.

Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1950-230 Pt1
Materials:
copper (alloy) and gutta-percha
type:
cable
taxonomy:
credit:
Donated by E. E. C. Marsh