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Information Age Gallery: Cable
The telegraph gave rise to the first global communication network, radically shrinking our world. Explore the objects on display in the Information Age Gallery and discover the ways cable still plays a vital role in an increasingly wireless world.
Machine used for covering wires with silk and cotton, 1837
Machine used for covering wires with silk and cotton for electrical purposes, made by W T Henley, Whitechapel, London, England, 1837
Builder's whole, rigged model, of SS 'Great Eastern', 1853-1857
Builder's whole, rigged model, scale 1:96, of SS 'Great Eastern' by John Scott Russell and Company, Millwall, London, England, 1853-1857
Cut-away model of the T.S. 'Olympic', 1910-1937
Cut-away model, scale 1:144, of the triple-screw passenger liner, the T.S. 'Olympic' (1910), with painted panel showing the inner compartments with passengers, made by Bassett-Lowke Limited, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, 1910-1937
Bain's chemical telegraph, 1850.
Alexander Bain's chemical telegraph, unknown maker, England, 1850. Includes key not shown on photograph.
Hughes' printing telegraph, 1860.
Hughes typewriting telegraph instrument, unknown maker, 1860. Invented about 1855 by David E Hughes (1829/31-1900), US patent numbers, 14,917, 1856; 22,531, 1859 and 22,770, 1859; British patent number 938, 1858.
Cooke and Wheatstone 5-needle telegraph, 1837
Large 5-needle Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph, designed by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone, England, 1837
Marconi coherer and Admiralty pattern decoherer, 1900-1910
Marconi coherer and Admiralty pattern decoherer, unknown maker, British, 1900-1910
Trough battery, 1801-1838
Electricity and Magnetism
Original Cruickshank's galvanic "Trough" or battery, made by R & G Knight, London, England, 1801-1838
Cryptograph (coding and decoding machine) by Sir Charles Wheatstone, 1843-1875
Cryptograph (coding and decoding machine) by Sir Charles Wheatstone, unknown maker, British, 1843-1875
Cooke and Wheatstone's four needle telegraph, 1838
Cooke and Wheatstone's four needle telegraph, unknown maker, England, 1838.
sample of the first transatlantic cable, 1857-1858
Sample of deep-sea portion of first transatlantic telegraph cable, manufactured by Glass, Elliot and Company, Greenwich, London, England, 1857-58. With outer wire armouring wound with a left-hand lay.
Atlantic Telegraph Cable Souvenir, 1873
Section of submarine telegraph cable, made by the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company, Greenwich, London, England, 1873-1920. The cable was laid in 1873 and recovered 1906. It is encrusted with marine growth.
Experimental model of Marconi's magnetic detector, 1900-1910
Experimental model of Marconi's magnetic detector with moving magnet, unknown maker, England, 1900-1910
Thomson's Mirror Galvanometer, 1858
(Lord Kelvin) Thomson's mirror galvanometer (land type) used at Valentia Island end of the original Atlantic cable, made by White and Barr, Glasgow, Scotland, 1858.
Double-current telegraph key, 1830-1900
Double-current telegraph key, probably made and used by the Post Office, British, 1830-1900
Thomson's Mirror Marine Galvanometer, 1858
Electricity and Magnetism
(Lord Kelvin) Thomson's marine mirror galvanometer, made by White & Barr, Glasgow, Scotland, 1858
Part of electrostatic telegraph, 1816
Part of electrostatic telegraph, made by Sir Francis Ronalds, London, England, 1816
Standard morse key, 1880-1950
Standard Morse key 1222, made for the General Post Office, unknown maker, British, 1880-1950
Stock ticker for Stock exchange printing telegraph, 1907
Receiver printer, or stock ticker, for Stock Exchange printing telegraph, No. 5022, made by the Exchange Telegraph Company, England, 1907
Single needle telegraph, 1846
Single needle telegraph, made by William Reid for the Electric Telegraph Company, London, England, 1846
Mirror galvanometer for the transatlantic telegraph, 1858
Electricity and Magnetism
Mirror galvanometer invented by Lord Kelvin and used at the Newfoundland end of the 1858 transatlantic cable, made by James White, Glasgow, Scotland, 1858.
Wheatstone automatic tape transmitter, 1840-1860
Wheatstone automatic tape transmitter, unknown maker, England, 1840-1860
replica of the first Morse telegraph, 1835
Replica of Morse's first model of telegraphy apparatus of 1835, possibly made by the Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany, 1934
sample of deep-sea section of first transatlantic cable, 1857-1858
Sample of deep-sea section of first transatlantic cable mounted on wooden presentation block, made by Glass, Elliot and Company, Greenwich, London, England, 1857-1858.
'Italian Navy' detector, 1899-1901
Carbon-mercury-iron semiconductor diode detector, of the type invented by J C Bose in 1899, modified version, unknown maker, 1899-1901. Known as the ‘Italian Navy coherer’, used by G Marconi in Newfoundland to receive the first wireless communication across the Atlantic, December 1901.
Sample of submarine cable laid between Dover and Calais, 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.
Type used for original morse telegraph, 1835
Type used for original morse telegraph, unknown maker, United States, 1835
Hughes microphone detector, 1865-1875
Hughes microphone detector, probably made by David Edward Hughes, London, England, 1865-1875
Silver thimble, used to pass a current through the 1866 Transatlantic cable, 1860-1866
Silver thimble, unknown maker, probably Ireland, 1860-1866. Originally owned by Miss Emily FitzGerald and by means of which an electric current was sent through the two Atlantic telegraph cables in 1866
Daniell cell used by Edward Davy, 1836-1839
Daniell cell used and possibly made by Edward Davy, England, 1836-1839. Found in a field in Somerset by J J Fahie, an historian of the electric telegraph, in 1883.
Creed teleprinter No. 3X, 1927-1942
Creed teleprinter No. 3X, Serial No. 5416, by Creed and Company Limited, Croydon, Surrey, England, 1927-1942
Baudot five key keyboard, 1897-1926
Baudot five key keyboard (without message desk) with 'send' and 'receive' switch for simplex working, Post Office pattern, unknown maker, British, 1897-1926
Oersted Compass Needle, 1828
Ørsted's [Oersted] apparatus for showing the effect of an electric current on a magnetic needle, believed to have been supplied for £1-8-0 by Watkins and Hill, Charing Cross, Westminster, 1828.
Clark's block signalling telegraph instrument, 1854
Signalling & Telecommunications
Clark's block signalling telegraph instrument, invented by Edwin Clark, probably made by W T Henley's Telegraph Works Company for the Electric Telegraph Company, London, England, 1854. This type of instrument was used of the London and North Western Railway Line between London and Rugby from 1855
Filings coherer, Lodge-Muirhead system, 1900-1910
Filings coherer with arrangement for adjusting the compression of filings by using an external magnet to turn the head of a screw inside the tube, Lodge-Muirhead system, designed or used by Sir Oliver Lodge, England, around 1902.
Receiver for Baudot Multiplex type-printing telegraph, 1911-1925
Receiver for Baudot Multiplex type-printing telegraph, made by the Automatic Telephone Manufacturing Company, Edge Hill, Liverpool, England, 1911-1925
Copy of the receiver and alarm call of Schilling's electric telegraph, 1870-1877
Copy of the receiver and alarm call of Schilling's electric telegraph, made by the British Telegraph Manufactory, London, England, 1870-1877. The original was made 1825-1830 by Baron P Schilling and was exhibited in the Loan Collection of Scientific Apparatus in 1876, lent by the Imperial Academy of Science St Petersburg, E.15 a to c - 1878. Vol.6 p.276, S.L.R.
Henley's magneto electric double needle telegraph, 1848-1852
Henley's magneto electric double needle telegraph, made by the Magnetic Telegraph Company, England, 1848-1852.
Vulcanite telephone wire insulators, 1850-1870
Six vulcanite insulators for telegraph wires mounted on short pole, unknown maker, probably British, 1850-1870
Magnetic key, 1850-1870
Magneto induction key for an electric telegraph, made by Siemens and Halske, Germany, 1850-1870
Iron borings coherer (Branly type), 1894
Iron borings coherer (Branly type), probably made by Oliver Lodge, England, 1894. Mounted on wooden baseboard with electric bell components mounted alongside as vibrator for restoring the coherer.
Creed 2P automatic teleprinter, 1925-1963
Creed 2P automatic printer, No. 280, in pedestal stand complete with motor drive unit, made by Creed and Company Limited, Croydon, London, England, 1925-1963
Chart of the Atlantic showing proposed couRse of the Atlantic Cable, 1856-1857
Framed and glazed chart of the Atlantic Ocean showing the proposed course of the Atlantic Cable, plus section marked 1857 showing the depth of the ocean bed at points along the course, made by the Atlantic Telegraph Company, London, England, 1856-1857.
Magneto-electrometer, made by E. O. W. Whitehouse, England, 1857
Empire type world clock for indicating time around the globe
'Empire' type world clock for indicating the time around the globe at various longitudes with accessories, unknown maker, France, 1909. Patented by Etienne de Gounevitch and Armand Gustave Couailett (British patent No. 23, 449, 1909), with brass winding key.
Sterling headphones, 1910-1960
Pair of Sterling headphones, made by the Sterling Telephone and Electric Company Limited, Dagenham, London, England, 1920-1960
Helically wound cylindrical waveguide, 1960-1977
Two mating lengths of helically wound cylindrical waveguide, unknown maker, 1960-1977
Henley needle galvanometer, 1855-1860
Henley needle galvanometer used in receiving the first telegraphic message transmitted across the Atlantic Ocean, made by W T Henley, British, around 1858.
Hand perforator and copy stand for Wheatstone automatic telegraph system, 1890-1910
Hand perforator and copy stand for Wheatstone automatic telegraph system, invented by Charles Wheatstone, unknown maker, probably British, 1890-1910. Wheatstone two unit stickpunch with paperslip dispenser.