Portion of the first submarine cable between Dover and Calais, 1850

Made:
1850 in Islington
maker:
Gutta Percha Company

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1913-230 Pt1: Portion of the first submarine cable laid between Dover and Calais, made by the Gutta Percha Company,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Portion of the first submarine cable laid between Dover and Calais, made by the 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.

On display

Science Museum: Information Age Gallery: Cable

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Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1913-230 Pt1
Measurements:
overall (in glass tube): 55 mm x 485 mm x 80 mm, .45 mm, .2 kg
type:
cable
taxonomy:
credit:
Donated by the General Post Office
status:
Permanent collection

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