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.
- Object Number:
- 1913-230 Pt1
overall (in glass tube): 55 mm x 485 mm x 80 mm, .45 mm, .2 kg
- Donated by the General Post Office
- Permanent collection
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.