Saturday, March 28, 2009

01Jun1865, Transatlantic Cable

LONDON, June 1st, 1865.
—We spent most of the day in an expedition to Sheerness, to see the new Transatlantic telegraph : 1,800 miles of which are coiled up on board the Great Eastern ; there are 500 more miles not yet on board ; but before long she will set out on her mission of paying it out at the rate of 7 miles an hour. It is supposed it will take a fortnight. I have brought home a bit of the electric cord ; it is about the thickness of my middle finger, and consists of 7 copper wires enclosed in 5 layers of gutta-percha. This, in the cable as we saw it ready to be laid down, is surrounded by 10 steel wires, each wire cased in several strands of hemp, so that the whole looks like a hempen cable about the thickness of one's wrist. They are able to discover if the slightest puncture appears in the gutta-percha ! the whole cable being tested over and over again at all possible stages of its progress towards the paying out process. It seems a noble, gigantic work. The enormous ungainly ship took one's breath away by her size. . . .
Poor Morgan has lost an only brother.

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