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The first transatlantic telegraph cable

  1. Mar 23, 2010 #1
    I think it's amazing that by 1860s the industrial revolution was advanced enough to make huge commercial projects possible:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegraphy

    That was 150 years ago.

     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2010 #2

    mgb_phys

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    It's amazing that in 1860 there was the same sort of corporate infighting, VC scams, publicity campaigns, spin, discrediting technical experts that are silicon valley today.

    For a great history past and present of international cables by a great author see -
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.12/ffglass_pr.html
    (ignore the 'cyber' everything stuff in the intro, this is wired, it's very very well written)

    For public opinion about how this new fangled telegraph stuff would lead to terrorism, sex, job-losses and people staying in their basements see http://tomstandage.wordpress.com/books/the-victorian-internet/
     
  4. Mar 23, 2010 #3
    heh, that never changes. The author of the wired magazine article has a funny writing style. He's great.


    So it took alot of trial and error to get it right, and huge investment losses.

     
  5. Mar 23, 2010 #4
    I agree, it was a amazing feat.
     
  6. Mar 23, 2010 #5

    ideasrule

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    What's so amazing about making a long copper wire and laying it out on the sea? The 19th century saw much more impressive technological achievements: precise machining, precise scientific instruments, trans-continental radio communication, the internal combustion engine, batteries, electrical generators, telephones, gramophones, synthetic chemistry...
     
  7. Mar 23, 2010 #6

    mgb_phys

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    Try visiting the North Atlantic in a sailing ship. It's a risky proposition just getting across alive, doing it while trying to lay out 1000s of tons of cable is decidedly tricky.
     
  8. Mar 23, 2010 #7
    Wouldn't have happened as fast without the transatlantic telegraph.

    Some of the simplest things are the most elegant in their design and construction. Laying a massive cable across an ocean is no easy task compared to sitting in a lab.

    I have massive respect for anyone who works in hard labor. I do it in the summers and I am dying to get back into a classroom to get a break.
     
  9. Mar 23, 2010 #8
    I agree - it's impressive! Then, I always find it frightening comparing technology in the home at different periods over the past 100 years. It scares me both to think of handling things in the future, and what i'll miss out on when i'm gone! Humanity is amazing.
     
  10. Mar 23, 2010 #9
    Laying submarine telegraph cable 1860s

    [​IMG]

    Laying modern submarine fiber optic cable
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Mar 23, 2010 #10
    Early Submarine Cables
     
  12. Mar 23, 2010 #11

    mgb_phys

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    The grapnel to cut and pull up the cable has changed even less.
     
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