History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

1861 Algeria-Toulon, France, Cable

The 1861 Algeria-Toulon cable had seven No. 22 BWG copper wires covered with 3 layers of gutta percha and Chatterton's compound. The core was covered with tarred yarn and armoured with ten No. 14 BWG iron wires, then wrapped in hemp yarn saturated in tar. This form of construction was also used for the 1865 Atlantic cable, although the 1865 cable had a larger overall diameter.

During the first attempt at laying in 1860, the cable parted when about 60 miles from Toulon; CS William Cory recovered the cable in the shallow water area round the Balearic Islands and ran the cable into Minorca.

After loading more cable the William Cory started laying from Toulon to Minorca but collided with her escort and had to buoy the cable and return to port for repairs. On attempting to recover the cable in January 1861 it was lost in 1300 fathoms, too deep for recovery, and the scheme was then abandoned. CS Brunswick succeeded in recovering 28 nm of the cable.

The cable sample has a handwritten label:

French Hemp Cable
Algeres & Toulon

Last revised: 23 April, 2015

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