Monday, October 5, 2015

The Transatlantic Cable

Students in 9th grade are learning about the new technologies in communication and travel that occurred during the 19th century. 

One of the most interesting stories is the epic task of laying the transatlantic cable across the ocean.  It was an elaborate process.

The first cable worked for a few months and then the insulation was compromised.

The second cable broke midway in 1865.

The third cable succeeded in 1866.  It was laid by the gigantic ship The Great Eastern with a huge spool that released the cable to the ocean floor.  After the third cable was laid down, the second cable was retrieved and  spliced (reconnected) to another cable which was brought to North America.  This was no easy task:  huge grappling hooks streamed across the bottom of the ocean 2 1/2 miles below. Once the two cables were up and running communication between the two continents was immediate.  Soon, cables were laid across the other oceans and the world was "girdled" with these communication tools. 

In Jules Verne's classic Novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Below the Sea, Captain Nemo sees the cables lying on the ocean floor.