Atlantic Telegraph Cable, the completion of the first transatlantic cable, from the July 30, 1866 NY Times  

The New York Times, July 30, 1866, p.1:


Successful Completion of the Great Work. The Old and New Worlds Joined Together.
Perfect Working Throughout the Line...

    (We announced in a postscript to the Times of yesterday morning the auspicious event here more particularly recorded--the landing and successful working of the Atlantic Cable. This news should have reached us on Friday afternoon, but there is a gap of 90 miles between Cape Breton and Newfoundland, where there is no telegraph cable, so that dispatches must be brought by steamer from Port au Basque to Aspy Bay. Below we give all that has been received, and as the news yacht returned last night to Port au Basque, we shall have nothing more until she arrives some time to-day.)

The Atlantic Cable Laid and in Workng Order.

NEW-YORK, Sunday, 3 A. M.
    The following dispatch has just been received from Cyrus W. Field:

HEART'S CONTENT, Saturday, July 28.
    We arrived here at 9 o'clock this morning, all well, thank God. The cable has been laid, and is in perfect working order.

America in Telegraphic Communication with Europe.

HEART'S CONTENT, Saturday, July 28.
    We are in telegraphic communication with Ireland:
    The Cable is in perfect order.

Messages Sent and Received Constantly.

HEART'S CONTENT, Saturday, July 28.
    England and America are again united by telegraph. The cable is in perfect order.
    We have been receiving and sending messages through the whole cable ever since the splice on the 13th inst., off Valentia.

Further Particulars--Miles Run and Miles of Cable Laid--The Weather.

HEART'S CONTENT, Friday, July 27.
    The Great Eastern has just anchored opposite the telegraph office. The cable spliced two hours since on the Medway. Will be here in three or four hours. Whole distance run, 1,669 nautical miles. Cable paid out 1,864 miles; slack was little less than 12 per cent. absolute distance...


HEART'S CONTENT, Sunday, July 29.
    The steamship Great Eastern left Sheerness on Saturday at noon, June 30; arrived at Bear-Haven on Thursday morning, July 5, and received the balance of her coal and provisions.
    The other steamers joined the Great Eastern at Bearhaven as follows: The Wm. Corry and Terrible on Friday, July 6, and the Albany on the 7th, and the Medway on Tuesday, the 10th inst...

    On Saturday, the 7th of July, the end of the Irish shore cable was landed from the William Corry, and at 2:30 the next morning the laying was successfully completed and the end buried in 94 fathoms: latitude 51 40'; longitude 11 8'; distance from the telegraph house at Valentia 27 miles; 29 miles of cable paid out.
    WEDNESDAY, 11TH INST.--H. M. S. Racoon, arrived at Bearhaven to render all assistance in her power...

    FRIDAY, THE 13TH.--The shore end was connected to the main cable on board the Great Eastern, and at 2:40 P. M. the telegraph fleet started for New-Foundland, and the Racoon returned to Valentia...

    The telegraph fleet sailed in the following order: The Terrible ahead of the Great Eastern, on the starboard bow, the Medway on the port, and the Albany on the starboard quarter. Weather thick and foggy, with heavy rains...
    Signals sent through the cable on board the Great Eastern, and to the telegraph house at Valentia. Two thousand four hundred and forty nautical miles found perfect...

    Arrived at Heart's Content at 8 A. M. Friday, July 27.
    The average speed of the ship from the time the splice was made until we saw land was a little less than five nautical miles per hour, and the cable has been paid out at an average of five and one-half miles per hour...

    We have been in constant communication with Valentia since the splice was made on the 13th inst., and have daily received news from Europe which was posted up outside on the telegraph office for the information of all on board the Great Eastern and signaled to the other ships...

    After taking in coals the telegraph fleet will sail for the spot where the cable was lost last year, recover the end and complete a second line between Ireland and Newfoundland, and then the Medway will proceed to lay the new cable across the Gulf of St. Lawrence...

    The cable will be open for business in a few days, and all messages sent to Europe in the order they are received at Heart's Content...

    I cannot find words suitable to convey my admiration for the men who have so ably conducted the nautical, engineering and electrical departments of this exercise so successfully amid difficulties which required to be seen to be appreciated. In fact, all on board the telegraph fleet, and all connected with the enterprise, have done their very best to have the cable made and laid in a perfect condition, and He who rules the winds and the waves has crowned their united efforts with perfect success.

List of Directors.
    The following is a list of the Directors of the New-York, Newfoundland and London Telegraph Company: Peter Cooper, Cyrus W. Field, Moses Taylor, Marshall O. Roberts, Wilson G. Hunt. The officers of the company are: Peter Cooper, President; Cyrus W. Field, Vice-President; Moses Taylor, Treasurer; Robert W. Lowber, Secretary.


    The first successful submarine telegraph was laid between Dover and Calais, a distance of twenty-four miles, in 1850, since when a great [many] have been built and successfully worked...
    In 1851 the columns of the London Atheneum contained a proposition from an adventurous speculator, who suggested that a wire, enveloped in a double coat of gutta percha and hemp, might easily be laid between the coast of Ireland and Newfoundland. The proposition met with no favor, but much discussion. The


in the way were such as to disarm the project of possible success. For instance: in the ordinary arrangement of the wires of the telegraph, where they are stretched upon posts, and insulated by glass and the surrounding air, the current runs along as a simple stream, and with a velocity almost inappreciable, while, when the wires are inclosed in a metallic envelope or moist medium, the case is materially different. The influence of induction becomes a retarding power. As soon as the central wire becomes electrically excited, that excitement operates upon the adjoining layer of metal, or moisture, and call up in it an electrical force of an opposite kind. Each of these forces holds fast an equivalent portion of the other, and the electricity of the central wire is thus prevented from freely moving forward...

    Electricians throughout the world devoted themselves to a solution to the problem... by the alternate working of positive and negative currents, the electric equilibrium of the wire was continually restored, each current cleaning away the inductive influence of its predecessors...

    These points settled, it was conceded that theoretically, no futher difficulties stood in the way of a usage of an Atlantic telegraph once laid; it was then necessary only to ascertain whether signals actually sent by currents through 2,000 miles of cable could be accurately recorded.
    Under the skillful manipulation of Mr. Bright, the engineer, and Mr. Whitehouse, the electrician, ten gutta-percha covered wires, each 200 miles in length, were connected, so that a continuous circuit of 2,000 miles was obtained. Through the whole length signals were distinctly and satisfactorily passed at the rate of 210, 241, and 270 per minute...


    Of the Company which first determined to invest its capital in the hazardous enterprise, Messrs. Cyrus W. Field and Peter Cooper, both of New-York, were the prominent men. Having secured a charter in April, 1854, it appointed Prof. Morse as electrician, and proceeded to connect St. Johns, N. F., with the lines already in operation in the British North American Provinces and the United States, by submerging thirteen miles of cable across the Straits of Northumberland, and eighty-five miles across in the waters of the St. Lawrence. England and the Continent had already been connected with Ireland, irrespective of any design to extend the telegraphic communication toward the West, so that there then remained but a single gap to fill in--the Atlantic basin...

    Several routes were proposed... The one which gave the greatest satisfaction is known as the telegraphic plateau, which is only some 12,000 feet below the level of the sea, and extends in a continuous ledge from Cape Clear, in Ireland, to Cape Race, in Newfoundland; the greatest depth being in mid-ocean, whence it ascends imperceptibly to the shore on either side...

    In 1857 the first effort was made, and failed when about 300 miles from the Irish shore.

    In 1858 it was again attempted, with the two halves of the cable stowed in the Niagara and Agamemnon, and the terrific hurricane which both vessels met with then, no doubt, did serious injury to their easily injured freight. Nevertheless, the effort was persevered with, and some 100 miles were laid and lost between the two ships.
    Again the "wire squadron," as it was called, returned to Ireland, to start again for another attempt, and, to the astonishment of all, the damaged cable was not only laid, but actually worked with clearness for some days, when it gradually became incoherent, then rambling with occasional gleams of intelligence, till at last it became utterly unintelligible, and so died out.
    It is needless to say how unhappily the expedition of last year failed, and to this day it is not known whether the injury to the cable's insulation was caused by accident or wanton mischief...

    In the interim the science of making, testing, and laying cables has so much improved that an undetected fault in an insulated wire has now become literally impossible, while so much are the instruments for signaling improved that not only can a slight fault be disregarded, if necessary, but it is even easy to work through a submarine wire with a foot of its copper conductor stripped and bare to the water...

    Conductor in 1858.--A copper strand, consisting of seven wires (six laid round one,) and weighing 107 pounds per nautical mile.
    Ditto, 1865.--Copper strand, consisting of seven wires (six laid round one,) and weighing 300 pounds per nautical mile, embedded for solidity in Chatterton's compound. Gauge of single wire .049=ordinary No. 8 gauge. Gauge of strand .144=ordinary No. 10 gauge.
    Ditto, 1866.--Same.

    Insulator in 1858.--Guttapercha laid on in three coverings, and weighing 261 pounds per knot.
    Insulator in 1865.--Guttapercha, four layers of which are laid alternately with four thin layers of Chatterton's compound. The weight of the entire insulation, 400 pounds per nautical mile. Diameter of core, .464; circumference of core, 1.392.
    Insulator in 1866.--Same.

    External Protection in 1858.--Eighteen strands of charcoal iron wire, each strand composed of seven wires (six laid round one) laid spirally round the core which latter was previously padded with a serving of hemp saturated with a tar mixture. The separate wires were each 22 gauge, the strand complete was No. 14 gauge.
    Ditto, 1865.--Ten solid wires of the gauge .095 (No. 13 gauge) drawn from Webster & Horsfall's homogeneous iron, each wire surrounded separately with five strands of Manilla yarn, saturated with a preservative compound, and the whole laid spirally round the core, which latter is padded with jute yarn, saturated with preservative mixture.
    Ditto, 1866.--Ten solid wires of the gauge .095 (No. 15 gauge) drawn from Webster & Horsfall's homogeneous iron, and galvanized, each wire surrounded separately with five strands of white Manilla yarn, and teh whole laid spirally round the core, which latter is padded with ordinary hemp saturated with preservative mixture...


    Let any ordinarily well-educated man ask himself where Heart's Content is, what are its characteristics and peculiarities, and the probabilities are that he will admit that he doesn't know... There are various ways of reaching Heart's Content, depending, of course, upon the place from which one starts, but Halifax is the common base from which all have finally to commence the journey.

    Newfoundland, as a whole, has a dreary, desolate significance throughout the world. Fogs, damp clouds of mystification, vast perils for mariners and oceanic horrors crowd upon the mind which perforce dwells upon this island and its history... Newfoundland is not all the dreary waste which most people imagine. The selection of a part of its domain as the hither terminus of the cable will bring it, more prominently than ever, before the eyes of the civilized world, and it may be well for us to consider some of its good and desirable points...
    It was discovered in 1497 by John Cabot... It is calculated that at least one-third of the area is covered with fresh water... The coast presents an aspect by no means inviting. Great, ragged, rugged, craggy cliffs frown along its entire length, chlly fogs surround it, never ending discomfort is shadowed forth to all who approach the coast.
    The climate on the island itself is by no means unpleasant, particularly at this season of the year it is delightful...

    But let us go to Heart's Content... It is much easier to start for than to reach it. The route embraces a variety of land and water, and the chance of conveyance, always a hazard, is just now extra hazardous, requiring skill, patience, money and perseverance.
    From Halifax to Portugal cove the trip is made in a lumbering coach, whose conveniences are nil, and whose charges are extortionate. Thence by steamer the route continues to Carbonear, some twenty-two miles distant.

    Thus far the trip is confined to public conveyance; thence, however, private enterprise must take the onus. There are no stages, for there is ordinarily no travel. Nothing but a long, hilly stretch of unbroken country connects the dirty hamlet of Carbonear with the cramped and miserable settlement of Heart's Content. Horses are not numerous, nor are carriages abundant. Avarice does not seem to be a controlling element with the Carbonearse, for money will not always obtain either a horse or wagon...
    Assuming, however, that fortune favored our venture, the dozen or so miles being safely passed, the village or settlement of Heart's Content then looms up.

    Henceforth and forever, the name of Heart's Content will stand side by side with the the great names of the world... In the first place, there are no buildings of note; in the second place, there are no people of any consequence. Nothing in or of itself suggested the name or secured its present prominence... There may be a thousand people at Heart's Content, if one should count all the men, women, very small children and strangers; but we should say that seven hundred was a more rational number.
    These people fish for a living, and eat fish for sustenance. At the present time their chief source of amusement and profit is the great number of strangers who are accidentally thrown among them... No man appears upon the narrow street from abroad without being surrounded and accompanied to his place of destination by a throng of men, women and children. These people may be honest, but their appearance belies their nature, they may be hospitable, but their infernal bills contradict their generosity. They have been accustomed to regard the magnificent harbor which swells temptingly from the neck of the land as a safe place for bathing and an excellent reservoir for fish. Now that it looms before the world as one of the main points in the history of the age, they transfer their regard for the water to the strangers who discovered its merits, and in their anxiety to do them honor become boresomely omnipresent and pecuniously exacting.

    Hotels are unknown; boarding-houses, properly so called, do not exist; ergo, the honest inhabitants, seeing the great influx of people who need hotels and boarding-houses, have resolved themselves into a guard of swindlers, and adopting, with true British sagacity, the famous Wellingtonian fiction of "Up, guards, and at 'em," as their war cry, are plundering right and left, under the fashionable guise of "accomodating a few lodgers, not for their money, but entirely for their sake."
    These landlords and landladies are bad enough and grasping enough in all conscience; they furnish small rooms at big prices; they spread long tables with slim bills of fare; they complain of the difficulty of obtaining food, but charge as though they not only obtained but furnished it.

    Then, too, the musquitoes, or rather the musquito-gnat, are the most persistent biters and annoying musicians this side of that infernal band that sit in the gate of Hades...

    The place itself is surrounded by hills, and at its feet, some thirty miles from the former cable terminus, lies this magnificent harbor to which we alluded... For purposes of ordinary commerce, it is and can be of no avail, for there are no avenues of trade here, but... this bay is simply superb... It cannot fail to grow and become a great resort. As the seat of fashionable society during the Summer months it would be without a rival.
    A better place could not have been chosen for the safe landing of the cable...
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