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.
- Science Museum, Information Age Gallery: Cable
- 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
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