The Revolution of Transatlantic Communication: The Story of the First Telegraph Cable

TLDR The first transatlantic telegraph cable, laid in 1858, revolutionized long-distance communication by allowing for the transmission of messages across the Atlantic Ocean. Despite initial difficulties and failures, subsequent attempts led to the development of faster and more reliable cables, paving the way for even faster transmission speeds in the future.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The first transatlantic telegraph cable connected Europe and North America in 1858, revolutionizing long-distance communication.
01:48 Advances in information transfer were the same as advances in transportation, and prior to the invention of the telegraph, information couldn't travel faster than the person who carried it, leading to significant delays in notifying people about war's ending or beginning.
03:06 The idea of a transatlantic telegraph cable was first proposed in the 1840s, and in 1854, Cyrus West Field concluded that it was feasible to connect Newfoundland to Ireland.
04:21 Field created a company to raise money and lay a transatlantic cable, seeking the expertise of John Watkins Brett, and despite encountering difficulties with the materials and the cable breaking during the first attempt, they planned to try again the following year.
05:35 On the second attempt, the transatlantic cable was successfully laid, allowing for the transmission of the first official message across the Atlantic Ocean.
06:50 Within a month of its successful installation, the first transatlantic cable failed due to design flaws and damage caused by increasing the voltage, but not before proving its value by transmitting 732 messages and saving the British government over 50,000 pounds; however, in 1865, a new and improved cable was attempted using a thicker copper core coated in Chatterton's compound and laid by the SS Great Eastern.
08:09 The 1866 transatlantic cable was able to transmit eight words per minute, a significant improvement from the 1858 cable, and its success led to the laying of more cables, resulting in even faster transmission speeds in the following decades.
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