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

Atlantic Cable Broadsides and Lithographs

Introduction: Broadsides or broadsheets are single sheets of paper, often of a large format and generally printed on only one side so that they can be used as posters. However, Maurice Rickards, in the Encyclopedia of Ephemera, notes that: “The words ‘broadside’ and ‘broadsheet’ are by many regarded as synonymous (‘A large printed sheet of paper’). But specialist opinion favours ‘broadside’ for a single-sided sheet and ‘broadsheet’ where both sides are printed.”

Broadsides have been used since the very beginning of printing to inform the public of news stories and other events of general interest. Many were given away; others were produced, like posters today, to be sold as souvenirs of popular events.

While broadsides are informative as well as decorative, and may have extensive text as well as illustrations, lithographs are mainly decorative. Examples of Atlantic Cable lithographs shown here include those from Sarony, Weingärtner and Kimmel & Forster.

The laying of the Atlantic Cable in 1858, and the subsequent expeditions of 1865 and 1866, gave rise to the production of many souvenir and commemorative items, and printers and publishers were quick to capitalize on these widely-reported events. Broadsides and lithographs were common in both Britain and the USA, but most of the cable images shown here originated in America.

The early Atlantic cables were laid prior to the general advent of chromolithography in the later part of the 19th century, so many of these images were printed in black and white; some were hand tinted or coloured to enhance their appeal.

Information in the caption immediately below each image is transcribed directly from the original; dimensions are given as Height x Width.

If you know of any cable broadside or lithograph not shown here, please email me: billb@ftldesign.com

Note also that a number of maps of the Atlantic cable route were issued in 1858 by several different publishers. As these are not classified as broadsides I have not included them on this page, but some may be seen in the Cable Maps section. There were also many small handbills and printed souvenirs for the Atlantic cables; these too are not included on this page but will eventually have their own section.

—Bill Burns

 

1857 The Atlantic Telegraph Cable
W. Foster, London
 

The Atlantic Telegraph Cable
London: Published August 4th 1857, by W. Foster, 114, Fenchurch Street.
Josiah Taylor Del. Vincent Brooks Lith.

Overall size 22¾" x 37"

Image courtesy of Grosvenor Prints

This coloured lithograph was published on August 4th 1857, by W. Foster, 114, Fenchurch Street, London. The artist was Josiah Taylor (1819-1877), and the printer was Vincent Brooks.

The ships of the cable fleet, from left to right, are the British Leopard and Agamemnon, and the American Niagara and Susquehanna, off Valentia, Ireland. August 4th 1857 was the day before the cable fleet laid the shore end at Valentia, before commencing the first attempt to lay the cable across the Atlantic to Newfoundland.

The handwritten dedication reads:

To His Excellency George M. Dallas, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States, this Print of the Vessels engaged in laying the Atlantic Telegraph Cable, is respectfully dedicated by his most obedient Servant, [...]

The print has been trimmed at the bottom and the rest of the wording is lost, but the inscription on another copy of the lithograph closes with the name of the artist, Josiah Taylor.

A similar inscription on another print closes with the name of its publisher, William Foster.

Note: The image and description of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable lithograph appear here by kind permission of Grosvenor Prints, from whom the original is available for sale.

William Foster was a London nautical publisher. The Mercantile Marine Magazine and Nautical Record was published monthly under his imprint at the Fenchurch Street address beginning in January 1854, and continued until 1874. The March 1854 issue of the magazine had this advertisement, reproduced here for its description of the lithographs:

NEW MARINE PRINTS.

The Himalaya; Peninsular and Oriental Company’s Screw-steamer.
The Croesus; General Screw Steam Shipping Company’s Screw-steamer.

H. J. Buchan, Southampton;
W. Foster, 114, Fenchurch Street, London.

These are tinted Lithographs of the finest Screw-steamers, forming part of the noble fleet of the two companies to which each respectively belongs. They are executed in a superior style, and deserve the consideration of all collectors of prints in the “Nautical Line,” to whose stock they will form a very elegant addition.

Foster also published a number of other ship lithographs of a similar style.

The lithographer, Vincent Brooks, set up in business in 1848, and later bought Day & Son, publisher of William Russell’s book The Atlantic Telegraph. Josiah Taylor was a well-known marine artist and printmaker of the mid-nineteenth century.

See also John Mullaly’s note on this lithograph; Mullaly was “Historian of the Enterprise” and sailed with the cable fleet.

 

1858 The Atlantic Cable
Sarony, Major & Knapp, New York
 

The Atlantic Cable

Lith. of Sarony, Major & Knapp. 449 Broadway. N. York.

Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1858, by Chas. M. Connolly & Co. in the clerk’s office of the district Court of the Southern district of New York.

Overall size 11" x 14"
Image area 7.25" x 12"

Sarony, Major & Knapp also published the lithographs of the 1858 cable expedition which were included in the Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York for 1861. See also Sarony”s later photographs of Cyrus W. Field.

Napoleon Sarony was a major figure in printing and photography in New York for many years. Andrew Morris is compiling a detailed chronology for Sarony, with particular attention to his photographic work.

This lithograph has a portrait of Cyrus Field at the top, watched over by cherubs. In the center, within an elaborately decorated frame, are HMS Agamemnon and USS Niagara. At the bottom, an eagle perched on flags and shields of the USA and Britain, with a length of cable below, carries in its mouth a banner “E Pluribus Unum”.

At the left is a British flag, on which is printed “Fine Chewing Tobacco”; below is a cone of cable as stored on the ships. To the right is an American flag on which is printed “Richmond Va.”; below is a telegraph signal recording instrument. Both flags are oddly rendered; the British flag has a large expanse of solid red at the bottom, and on the American flag the stripes run in the wrong direction.

Around the top of the frame are eight further flags or banners. Again. some of these do not conform to the originals, but they appear to be, in order from left to right: Russia, Sweden, not known, Holland, not known, Prussia, Sardinia, and Norway.

This lithograph was evidently an advertising piece for Atlantic Cable brand “Fine Chewing Tobacco”. Charles M. Connolly, who registered the artwork in 1858, was the proprietor of the Virginia Tobacco Agency, No. 45 Water Street, New York. Established in 1836, the company was a “Commission Merchant, and Agent for the Principal Tobacco Manufacturers of Virginia”.

Sheldon & Co”s Business or
Advertising Directory, New-York 1845

The Valentine Richmond History Center in Richmond, Virginia, has a tobacco label “Atlantic Cable Coil Twist, Richmond, Va.”, dated “late 19th century - early 20th century”, but from other sources the Atlantic Cable tobacco brand dates to much earlier. The earliest reference so far found for Atlantic Cable tobacco appears in an auction advertisement in the Daily Alta California newspaper (San Francisco) issue of 9 July 1859:

De Ro & Eldridge, Wholesale Grocery and Merchandise Auction House. Monday July 11, 1859. 34 cases Atlantic Cable Twist Tobacco.

Another company’s advertisement appeared in the same paper’s issue of 6 January 1860:

Jas. Patrick & Co...have for sale, in store and to arrive, the following well known brands of Virginia manufactured Tobacco... Fancy Tobaccos...Atlantic Cable Twist, in foil.

James Patrick, a general goods dealer, had advertised other brands of tobacco in previous issues of the paper, but this is his first mention of Atlantic Cable brand.

[California Digital Newspaper Collection].

The tobacco was also advertised later that year in Australia, in The Argus newspaper (Melbourne) issue of 30 April 1860:

Flower, M’Donald, and Co.: Tobaccos for sale, in parcels to suit the trade: Atlantic Cable Twist, in tin foil.

 

1858 The Submarine Telegraph Panorama
Charles Magnus, New York
 

Charles Magnus (1826-1900) was a German-born print publisher, map dealer, bookseller and stationer working in New York City from 1850 to 1899. He issued over a thousand different lettersheets, maps, songsheets, envelopes, and separate prints. More information on Magnus, and many images of his work, may be found at the Winterthur Library website; further images may be viewed at the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

Three variations of this broadside are known, which must have been produced in quick succession. On 18 August 1858 Magnus placed a classified advertisement in the New York Times, just a day after the Queen’s message had been received over the cable; the ad also appeared in the New-York Tribune on 19 August.:

Wholesale Only.–The Trade and those it concerns are invited to buy
The Submarine Telegraph Panorama
The Message of the Queen -The President’s Reply.
Price: plain and in covers, 25 cents, retail; richly printed in colors (for framing), 50 cents, retail–with a liberal discount. Look at the notices.
Lithographed and sold by
Charles Magnus & Co.,
No. 12 Frankfort St., New-York.

The Dibner Library at the Smithsonian Institution has a copy of the broadside described in the advertisement, captioned “Telegraph Chart America” at the bottom left and “Telegraph Chart Europe” at the bottom right. This colored version was sold in a card cover marked “The Submarine Telegraph Panorama. Price 25 Cents,” which is a combination of the two options offered.

The Submarine Telegraph Panorama
Published by Charles Magnus & Co., No. 12 Frankfort St. New York.

Overall size 19¾" x 24"
Folded to 5" x 3.5"

Image courtesy of the Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution

Cover of “The Submarine Telegraph Panorama”

Image courtesy of the Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution

The flags on this edition are similar to those in the image immediately below, while some of the typefaces and graphics are more like those in the September version at the end of this section.

All three versions are highly detailed and hand-coloured, and include images of the flags of the USA and Great Britain; an illustration of the landing point of the cable at Valencia Harbour, Ireland; the text of the messages exchanged over the cable between the President and the Queen; maps of telegraph lines of the United States and Canada and of the Atlantic cable route with details of the onward connections at both ends; a world Time Indicator, with New York as its focus; drawings of the ships Niagara and Agamemnon of the cable fleet; and a profile of the bottom of the Atlantic on the route of the cable as sounded in 1856 by the US steamer Arctic.

The next edition, while similar to the one above, has “Telegraph Chart America & Europe” at the bottom left and different flags.

Telegraph Chart, America & Europe
Published by Charles Magnus & Co., No. 12 Frankfort St. New York.
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1858 by Charles Magnus & Co. in the clerk’s office of the district Court of the United States of the Southern district of New York.

Overall size 18½" x 23¼"

Image courtesy of Library of Congress

In America on Stone, Harry T. Peters describes a further variant of the broadside:

“Celebration all over the United States in Honor of Ocean Telegraphing, Sept., 1858,” large, on thin paper, tells its own story, and shows how essentially popular, timely, and ephemeral Magnus’s work was.

It celebrates the completion of the laying and opening of the cable. Here we have it all—the title at the bottom reads—“Celebration all over the United States in Honor of Ocean Telegraphing, Sept., 1858.” As can be seen, it shows maps, charts, Trinity Bay and Valentia Bay, the President’s Message to the Queen, and the Queen’s Message to the President, the ship that laid the cable, and a chart to advise what the time was everywhere—all ready to be mailed in an envelope for 25c. What more could any one ask from lithography, or any other art? Here we find one of the rare things that Currier & Ives overlooked, There was another interesting lithograph of the occasion by Kimmel & Forster, entitled “Eighth Wonder of the World,” but the Magnus one is far more interesting and records no end of detail. It is needless to add that the Queen was Victoria and the President, James Buchanan.

As can be seen by comparing the images shown here, there are a number of significant differences between the various versions of the broadside: the flags, the maps, the messages, the globes, the typefaces, etc. The one below has an additional text line at the bottom which suggests that it was a later printing, after the celebrations in New York and elsewhere in September 1858:

“Celebration all over the United States in Honor of Ocean Telegraphing. Sept. 1858.”

Below this is:

“Ready to be Mailed in Envelope 25 Cents”

Celebration all Over the United States in Honor of Ocean Telegraphing, Sept. 1858
Published by Charles Magnus & Co., No. 12 Frankfort St. New York.

Overall size 19" x 23½"

Higher resolution image in monochrome

Magnus also published in 1858 a “Map of Trinity Bay, Telegraph Station of the Atlantic-Cable”, size 19¾" x 29¼" (50 x 74 cm.), according to the Library of Congress; see next entry.


Related Magnus Lettersheets:

1858 Atlantic Cable lettersheet
Detail of graphic

Great Eastern lettersheet
Detail of graphic

In 1863 Charles Magnus issued this store card, or trade token:

“C. Magnus’ National Printing Establishment. New York.”
An eagle on shield, ribbons
inscribed E Pluribus Unum.

19mm, brass

“100 Entitle To A $2.00 View
Of New York City.”
Bust of Washington
in a circle, 3 stars

Fuld-630AS-1b

This was catalogued by the American Journal of Numismatics, Vol.I No.10, New York, February 1867. p.79, in an article titled:

“Copperheads: A descriptive catalogue of the copper and base metallic currency issued in the several states of the United States, commencing in 1863 and ending in 1864.”

The token was effectively a two-cent piece; the reason for the production of such private currency was the hoarding of government-issued coins as a result of the economic turmoil of the Civil War. The US goverment soon took exception to this, made private currency illegal, and issued its own two cent piece in 1864.

While according to the inscription on the token, 100 of them could be exchanged for a $2 print of New York, it seems likely that many stayed in circulation and were never redeemed.

Charles Magnus label from back of a print of Manhattan

 

1858 Map of Trinity Bay, Telegraph Station of the Atlantic-Cable
Charles Magnus, New York
 

Map of Trinity Bay, Telegraph Station of the Atlantic- Cable
Published by Charles Magnus & Co., New York. 50 Cents.
Map title: Canada, Nova Scotia & New Brunswick &c.

Overall size 19¾" x 29¼" (50 x 74 cm)

Image courtesy of Library of Congress

For this hand-colored broadside Magnus evidently took a stock map of Canada (including Newfoundland and the East Coast of the USA) and overprinted it to show details of the 1858 cable. The track of the western end of the submarine cable from Ireland to Newfoundland is marked, together with the connection via Nova Scotia and the mainland on to New York City and Washington, D.C.

The routes of the undersea cables and land lines are shown in red, with an explanatory note off the coast of Massachusetts:

Telegraph lines shown thus

The hand-drawn red line showing the telegraph connection from Washington, D.C., to Halifax, Nova Scotia, partially overlays hashmarked lines denoting railroad tracks on the original map. From Nova Scotia to Heart’s Content and out into the Atlantic Ocean, the red line is drawn freehand. This can be seen on the Nova Scotia detail below:

In the blank area of the Atlantic Ocean Magnus has added a multi-colored fancy title, sketches of a cross-section and length of the cable, an overall view of the route of the deep-sea portion of the cable, and a map of the Valencia cable landing. Details of these are shown below.

Map of
Trinity Bay,
Telegraph Station
of the
Atlantic Cable

 

Section of Cable
Cable connecting America with Europe

 

Atlantic Ocean between Latitude 47° & 52°½
Both ends of the cable landed
and signals exchanged since August 6th 1858

 

Map of the Harbor of Valencia
showing the
Atlantic Telegraph Station in Europe

 

Detail of map showing connections
across Newfoundland and Nova Scotia

This combination map and broadside may have been produced somewhat hastily by Magnus to cash in on the Atlantic Cable enthusiasm of 1858, perhaps in advance of the first of his Submarine Telegraph Panorama broadsides in the previous section. On the original of this copy of the print the entire overprint is badly skewed, with its text running into the border of the map. To properly render the broadside, I have corrected this error on the version shown here.

 

1858 The Laying of the Cable–John and Jonathan Joining Hands
Baker & Godwin, New York
 

The Laying of the Cable—John and Jonathan Joining Hands
Published and for sale by Baker & Godwin, Printers,
Printing-House Square, Corner Nassau and Spruce Streets, New York.

Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1858, by Baker & Godwin in the clerk’s office of the district Court of the United States of the Southern district of New York.

Overall size 17½" x 23"
Wood Engraving

Image courtesy of Library of Congress

This somewhat fanciful broadside shows the US and British cable ships Niagara and Agamemnon on opposite sides of the Atlantic ocean, connected by the cable. Lightning bolts from the sky signify the establishment of electrical communication between Europe and North America.

Brother Jonathan of the United States and Britain’s John Bull are shaking hands across the ocean, and each man has a speech balloon:

Jonathan:

Glad to grasp your hand, uncle John! I almost feel like calling you Father, and will if you improve upon acquaintance! May the feeling of Friendship which comes from my heart, and tingles to the very end of my fingers, be like the electric current which now unites our lands, and links our destiny with yours! May our hearts always beat together; and with one pulse–one Purpose, of Peace and Good-Will, we yet shall see ALL NATIONS speaking our language, blessed with our Liberty, and led by that spirit of Love and Justice which leads to the only true happiness and Glory of Nations!

John:

Happy to see and greet you, Jonathan! You feel like “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!” You have grown to be a tall and sturdy man—quite as big as your Father! Great times these, my boy! We won’t think of quarreling any more. I have grown too wise for that and I hope we will both agree to let bygones be bygones! Henceforth we treat each other as equals, and only strive which shall do most in making “all the world and the rest of Mankind,” as one of your good old Presidents once said) realize
“How good and pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”

The New York Public Library Digital Gallery has an 1865 chromolithograph of Printing-House Square published by Baker & Godwin, showing the firm’s offices in the Tribune building.

Printing-House Square, New Yor... Digital ID: 55037. New York Public Library

Baker & Godwin also published this handbill featuring the Atlantic Telegraph as a “Triumph of Science,” along with the the Lightning Press and the Sewing Machine:

Image courtesy of Bill Holly

It is not known if this handbill was distributed during the 1858 celebration.

 

1858 Torchlight Procession around the World
A. Weingärtner’s Lithography, New York
 

Torchlight Procession around the World
What the B’hoys intended by the Atlantic Cable Celebration
September 1? 1858

Dedicated to Young America
by the Author & Publisher A. Weingärtner, Lithographer, 87 Fulton St. New York.

Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1858, by A. Weingärtner in the clerk’s office of the district Court of the United States of the Southern district of New York.

Overall size 14" x 18"

Image courtesy of Library of Congress

This print shows allegorical scenes related to the laying of the Atlantic telegraph cable, and head-and-shoulders portraits of Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Morse, Cyrus Field, and Captain Hudson of the USS Niagara.

Evoking volunteer fire departments, the U.S. is shown as a “fire laddie,” sending a bolt of electricity in the direction of England. Heathens of the world help lay the cable, while at the bottom of the broadside King Neptune and his mermaids seem rather bemused by the disturbance of their domain.

Further information on the image may be found at The History Project - University of California, Davis

A number of other images by A[dam] Weingärtner are shown at the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

1858 Telegraph Chart
H.H. Lloyd, New York
 

Telegraph Chart
Published by H.H. Lloyd & Co., 348 Broadway, New York.

Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1858, by H.H. Lloyd & Co.,
in the clerk’s office of the Southern District of New York.

Wynkoop, Hallenbeck & Thomas, Printers. 113 Fulton and 48 Ann Street, New York

Overall size 3378" x 2678"

This broadside gives a capsule history of the telegraph industry up until the laying of the 1858 Atlantic cable. At the top are tables of the overland and submarine telegraphs of the world, and in between are a lateral section of the Niagara, end and side views of the Atlantic cable, and of the Gulf of St. Lawrence cable. A “Chart Showing the Track of the Great Submarine Atlantic Telegraph, with the Principal Land & Submarine Telegraph Lines of Europe & America. Also, Tracks of Steamships and the Depth of the Ocean” needs no further description, except to note that the ship images do not represent any of the vessels of the cable fleet.

Two illustrated text sections occupy the rest of the sheet: “Account of the Invention and Operation of the Magnetic Telegraph”, with images of Morse and his equipment, and a table of the Morse Telegraphic Alphabet; and a “Description of Making and Laying Submarine Telegraph Cables” with images of cables and equipment from 1851 to date.

A second variation of the broadside (below) has a portrait of Cyrus Field replacing one of the ship images in the top section, but is otherwise identical.

Telegraph Chart
Published by H.H. Lloyd & Co., 348 Broadway, New York.

Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1858, by H.H. Lloyd & Co.,
in the clerk’s office of the Southern District of New York.

Wynkoop, Hallenbeck & Thomas, Printers. 113 Fulton and 48 Ann Street, New York

Overall size 34" x 26" (?)

Image courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library

Thanks also to David and Julia Bart for their image of this version of the chart

The Connecticut State Library has a third version of the broadside. It also has the portrait of Cyrus Field, but the title area for the texts on landline and submarine telegraphy has been re-arranged to include the Queen’s and President’s messages over the 1858 cable. It seems likely that this is the third and final edition, made after the completion of the cable in August 1858.

Telegraph Chart
Published by H.H. Lloyd & Co., 348 Broadway, New York.

Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1858, by H.H. Lloyd & Co.,
in the clerk’s office of the Southern District of New York.

Wynkoop, Hallenbeck & Thomas, Printers. 113 Fulton and 48 Ann Street, New York

Overall size 34" x 26" (?)

Image courtesy of Connecticut State Library

H.H. Lloyd published many maps, charts, and broadsides.

Wynkoop, Hallenbeck & Thomas, Printers, participated in the celebratory parade for the successful laying of the Atlantic cable in New York on 1 September 1858. This story and woodcut appeared in the Frank Leslie’s Illustrated issue of September 25th 1858:

THE PRINTING TRUCK IN THE TELEGRAPHIC PROCESSION.

One of the principal and most attractive features in the great municipal procession on the telegraph jubilee of September 1st was the massive truck, twenty feet long by ten broad, on which Hoe’s printing presses and an old hand press were kept at work during the entire passage of the great cortege.

This truck was supplied by Messrs. Hoe to the New York Typographical Society, and was drawn by eight powerful horses. The men were from the well-known establishment of Messrs. Wynkoop, Hallenbeck & Thomas, whose printers struck off thousands of impressions of brief histories of the telegraph, Mrs. Stephens’ Ode, &c., from one of the celebrated cylinder presses, and distributed them among the multitude.

Printing Car as it Appeared at the Cable Jubilee, September 1, 1858,
with Hoe’s Presses, Being Worked by the Printers of Wynkoop,
Hallenbeck & Thomas’s Establishment

It is not recorded which "brief history of the telegraph" was distributed from the truck, but according to the Detailed Report of the Proceedings Had in Commemoration of the Successful Laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable, published in 1863, “Mrs Stephens’ Ode” was to be performed at the Crystal Palace:

Mrs. Ann S. Stephens having kindly prepared a couple of odes suitable to the occasion, and the Harmonic Society having generously proffered the services of their extensive and excellent choir to perform the same at the Crystal Palace, it was proposed that the ceremonies should be varied not only by instrumental, but also by vocal music, into which should be introduced the odes of Mrs. Stephens, together with appropriate extracts from oratorios, &c., and the offer of the Harmonic Society was accepted for the performance of this part.

Mrs Stephens’ odes were “The Cable,” sung to the tune of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and “All Hail,” to the tune of “God Save the Queen.”

Facsimile image
courtesy of Jerry Simkin

The Proceedings also described the printing car:

Then came an immense car, drawn by eight horses, on which were mounted three printing presses, namely, one of Messrs. R. Hoe & Co.’s single cylinder presses, a card press, and a queer old relic, in the shape of a wooden press, more than a hundred years old, with the primitive buckskin balls for inking apparatus. Printed sheets were thrown off by the respective presses on this car, as the procession moved along.

Among the printed matter worked off by the press, and scattered among the crowd, were the ode written by Mrs. Stephens, a paper entitled “The Atlantic Telegraph,” another purporting to give “A Brief History of Printing,” and the Queen’s and President’s messages, all of which were very creditable specimens of printing. The contrast between the press as it was one hundred years since and the printing press as it is now, was brought before the public eye vividly. Four pretty little girls, dressed in white, with red trimmings, helped to distribute the printed matter.

The “queer old relic” on the printing truck was a Ramage Press. The Daily Alta California newspaper (Volume 10, Number 269, 1 October 1858) had this description:

Next came an immense platform, drawn by eight horses, beautifully decorated, upon which was an old Ramage press, upwards of one hundred years old, and two of Hoe’s “latest and most modem editions,” at each of which, under the rays of a burning sun, a merry looking set of printers printed odes to the Cable...

This handbill, “Franklin’s Way to Wealth,” has a tagline:

"Printed on the RAMAGE PRESS, while in procession, on the celebration of the Atlantic Cable, Sept. 1, 1858.”

Image courtesy of Bill Holly

 

1858 The Celebration in San Francisco
Sterett & Butler, San Francisco
 

The Celebration in San Francisco
In Commemoration of the Successful Laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable
Monday, September 27th, 1858.

Sterett & Butler, Printer, Engravers and Publishers, 145 Clay street, San Francisco.

Overall size 16½" x 10¾"

This wood engraving has around its periphery 35 small illustrations: four stars in the corner, thirty small seals of the States, and one unidentified portrait at the top. In the body of the sheet are several larger illustrations: Cars carrying 120 little girls, uniformly dressed in white, and representing all the States, and principal European Nations; Rube Aldrich, just arrived, 120 days from St. Jo., Missouri; Adams with his family of Native Californians; and the men of the Knickerbocker 5 Fire Company in procession behind a float of a small boat with cable coiled on its deck.

This curious broadside at times has been thought to be completely fanciful, but a contemporary account in the Daily Alta California newspaper of 27 September 1858 gives details of the firemen’s programme for the evening, listing the participants and the route of the procession. The story is titled: “Atlantic Telegraph Celebration, Grand Torchlight Procession of the San Francisco Fire Department,” and noted that “The Department dismiss at the grand finale of the Fire Works”.

Here is the full text of the broadside:

The day, which was one of the finest of the year, was ushered in by the tinning of bells and repeated discharges of artillery. At an early hour the streets were thronged with people, and boats were arriving from different parts of the interior, crowded with visitors, eager to witness or participate in the proceedings. Military and Fire Companies came from Stockton, Sacramento, Solana and other places, and people from every clime seemed to unite with the utmost cordiality in celebrating the great event of the age, by the greatest civic display ever known in California.

The procession was to have formed in Market street exclusively, but it soon became evident that even that spacious thoroughfare would not contain the multitude that were to compose it, and many other streets in the vicinity were filled with the different military and civic associations. Along the line of march. and, indeed, throughout the city, the buildings were decorated with flags and well painted transparencies, and in many cases with green boughs—adding greatly to the general holiday effect. Among the most attractive features of the day were the Black Hussars, who were followed by the Grand Marshal, Capt. Thos. D. Johns, and his twelve aids, and by a large representation of the military of the city and State.

All the trades and professions took a part in the ceremonies. In three immense vans, drawn by gaily decorated horses, rode one hundred and twenty young girls, dressed uniformly in white, with chaplets upon their heads, and decked with blue ribbons. Each bore a flag, those in the first car being inscribed with the name of one of the States or Territories of the Union; those in the second with the names of western nations; and those in the last, with the names of the nations of the continent of Europe This display was greeted with cheers throughout the entire line of march.

In the procession was also a huge covered wagon, similar to those used by emigrants, in crossing the plains, and drawn by a team of ten oxen. One side of this wagon bore the device “Latest Dispatch from Pike: 120 days from St. Jo., Missouri;”— and the other, “Give us a Pacific Railroad: Don’t wait for the Wagon.” Several Grizzly bears followed, the terror of all travelers in California.

The State Line Telegraph Company, and the Alta Telegraph Co., were conspicuously represented, a cable extending from one to the other of the two
wagons in which the attaches were seated. A platform carried a printing press belonging to the Alta newspaper, from which, at intervals, a miniature specimen of that sheet was distributed. One of the Overland Mail Stages also attracted much attention.

Among the trades the different foundries figured conspicuously—having in their ranks several cars, containing various kinds of machinery in working order, and two steam engines, whose shrill whistles reverberated among the surrounding hills. There were also brewers, who distributed excellent beer to the crowd; cigar-makers, who manufactured cigars and distributed them as they went along; bakers, who dispensed crackers and cakes to the juvenile spectators; carpenters at work building a frame house, which they had nearly completed during the march of the procession; box-makers, at their work; and a deputation of boat-builders bearing with them a handsome two-masted vessel, filled with sailors. and surrounded by an imitation sea.

The Express of Wells, Fargo, & Co., Freeman’s, and the Alta Express Co., made fine displays with their long lines of wagons, loaded down with packages of goods and treasure boxes. A.H. Houston, street contractor, had a fine turnout of workmen with their horses and wagons, handsomely decorated. On one of the very numerous vans belonging to the trades were elevated a variety of light wagons and vehicles made by R.S. Eells; Geo. P. Kimball & Co., also had a large number of carriages; Maine and Winchester saddlery and harness.

H.C. Hayden, agent of Wheeler & Wilson’s sewing machines, turned in line with a handsome span of grey horses and carriage, containing one of their celebrated sewing machines—horses handsomely decorated in red, white and blue; a monster wagon loaded with Napa soda, and another with a stock of Geo. Thacher’s celebrated California wines, manufactured at Los Angeles, occupied leading places; P. Whitbeck also exhibited a fine array of carriages and wagons of California manufacture; the attaches of the mint made a neat appearance, bearing with them a portion of the machinery used in the manufacture of coin and a large quantity of the precious metal, in strips and other shapes which it is made to assume preparatory to being “struck;” the Mercantile Library Association turned out 30 men, and the Society of California Pioneers, about 60 members; a quartz-crusher with eight stamps in operation, was carried by the representatives of the Pacific Foundry. D. Norcross exhibited a loom used in making fringes, and the Bricklayer’s Association a large model of the Fort.

The Odd Fellows, Free Masons, and other benevolent societies, were out in all their splendid regalia. Not the least conspicuous were the Commandery of the Knights of Malta, mounted on black horses, and attired in a sable costume of Spanish cut, with silver trimmings and plumes, and each wearing upon the back of his gloves the blood red cross of Malta. Several military and fire companies were interspersed throughout the line—the splendid engines of Knickerbocker and Tiger companies being conspicuous, the former turning out 85 men. Two little boys, attired in the costume of the old Knickerbockers, were mounted upon the engine. They constituted one of the prominent features of the day. The Sons of the Emerald Isle and the Turn Verein Club were likewise out in strong force.

The whole procession was not less than three miles in length, and occupied several hours in passing. In all its features, dress, decoration, emblems and music, it was fully equal to anything of the kind ever witnessed at the East.

The ceremonies closed with an eloquent oration by Col. E.D. Baker, a poem by a literary gentleman of the city, and a song by two thousand little children from the public schools—of whom San Francisco alone has upward of seven thousand.

In the evening the Firemen had a torch-light procession, finally forming a circle around the Plaza, where fireworks held together a large concourse of spectators until 12 o’clock at night. The city was also illuminated, and hardly an accident occurred to mar the general rejoicing.

The occasion was enthusiastically observed in Sacramento, and throughout the State, and the stock of all the telegraphic associations has gone up rapidly in consequence of the success of the ocean cable. Several companies are already engaged in the construction of lines to the Mississippi.

The streets throughout the day wore the aspect of a European city during the carnival. Crowds in holiday costume, swayed hither and thither, and the air was filled with the strains of martial music. Among the chief points of attraction during the illumination were Sargent’s popular American Exchange Hotel, on Sansome street, where the flags of all nations were displayed in profusion, and across the street a large transparency, on which America and England were represented by female figures, with the ocean intervening and the Niagara and Agamemnon approaching the two shores in the act of laying the cable: Motto, “American and England—Science, Skill, and Industry.

The British Consulate was illuminated, and exhibited also a grand transparency, with a motto complimentary to the union of the two nations. The manner in which, during the day, the English and Americans fraternized, showed an entente cordiale superior to that heretofore existing between the English and the French. A frame maker on Montgomery street exhibited a single candle as the sole illumination for a very large window, and on a piece of linen above it, the words, “A single candle shows my will—give me a railroad to the Pacific; and I’ll pay for candles at the highest rates.” The French Consulate, the Custom House, and the Montgomery Block, were splendidly illuminated and decorated—flowers in wreaths and festoons were abundant everywhere, while flags of all kinds were so numerous that they seemed to have fallen in a shower from the skies.

The San Francisco Gas Company made the most brilliant display. Fifty-six burning jets of gas were in the twelve large arched windows on First and Natoma streets; on the top of the building were a number of lighted globes, and a transparency with the motto, “Peace hath her Victories no less than War.” A double orb of fiery jets adorned the front entrance, and above the middle window was a revolving wheel of fire. At the opposite corners of the street the gas posts were covered by transparencies representing the Niagara and the Agamemnon: and between stretched a gas pipe, pierced with holes, through which streamed countless jets of fire. This was in illustration of the cable.

 

1859 Map of Valentia, Shewing the positions of the various ships and lines of cable connected with the Atlantic Telegraph. Compiled from the latest Government Surveys and other authentic sources by Captain Frederic Brine, R.E.  F.R.G.S. 1859.
Edward Stanford, London
 

Map of Valentia, Shewing the positions of the various ships and lines of cable connected with the Atlantic Telegraph. Compiled from the latest Government Surveys and other authentic sources by Captain Frederic Brine, R.E. F.R.G.S. 1859.
London, Edward Stanford 6 Charing Cross March 7th 1859

Overall size 17 x 22"

Images courtesy of the Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution
Catalog entry

Cover

Inside front cover advertisement

Titled a map, but in the form of a broadside, with information on the Atlantic cables at Valentia and the Atlantic Telegraph Company. The print includes diagrams of the cross sections of the cable, the location of the ships of the 1858 expedition, and other historical details.

An advertisement for the map was published in the 27 May 1859 issue of the Limerick Reporter:

The original map was sectioned and laid down on canvas so it could be folded. The version shown on this page has been digitally restored for clarity; the original may be seen here.

 

1860 A View of the Town and Harbour of St. John’s, Newfoundland
F.R. Page, St. John’s
 

A View of the Town and Harbour of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Taken in Commemoration of the successful laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable shewing the Position of the Several Vessels after their return from Bay Bulls Arm, the Newfoundland Terminus.
In the accompanying Plate the large vessel on the left hand is the United States Steamship Niagara, the centre vessel H.M Steamship Gorgon and the Brig on the right further up shore H.M. Brig of War Atalanta.
Published by F.R. Page, by special request.
Drawn by W.R. Best, lithographed by W. Spreat

Overall size not known

Image courtesy of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies,
Memorial University Libraries, St John’s, Newfoundland.
Catalog entry

The National Maritime Museum has two catalogue entries for this lithograph, which give the size as 534 x 824 mm and 484 x 754 mm.

This lithograph is the only one to show the ships at Newfoundland after the landing of the cable in August 1858, and before the Niagara sailed for New York:

At a little after sunrise [August 5th, 1858] the Niagara”s and Gorgon”s boats were ranged in line in the romantic Bay of Bull”s Arm. The end of the cable was soon safely brought ashore, when the three captains, with their officers and men, formed a chain for the purpose of hauling it inland to the telegraph station, which is situated about half a mile from the shore. This concluding operation was speedily accomplished, and the Niagara”s share in laying the Atlantic Telegraph was complete.

Early in the morning of August 9th the Niagara and Gorgon left Trinity Bay for St. Johns, where they arrived the same evening, and whence, after coaling, the Niagara sailed for New York.

[Frank Leslie”s Illustrated Newspaper, 28 August 1858]

 

1865 The Atlantic Telegraph (first edition)
G.W. Bacon & Co., London
 

The Atlantic Telegraph
Bacon & Co., 48, Paternoster Row, London.
The image shown here is of a later reprint of the 1865 original.

Overall size 23¾" x 16½" (this reprint)
~32" x 22" (original)

This English broadside includes a map showing the route of the cable as well as other similar proposed and existing cables; a map of the proposed network of cables worldwide; actual size cross-sections and side views of the shore-end and deep-sea cable sections; a diagrammatic view of a telegraph register; a view of the Great Eastern under steam, and a longitudinal section of the ship; and a profile of the sea-bed between Ireland and Newfoundland, with the ships of the cable fleet above.

Note that Great Eastern is shown with five funnels, so this is a re-purposing of an existing image. For the 1865 cable expedition the middle funnel was remove to make room for the cable tanks..

The text gives the history of the laying of the cable and a great deal of related information: earlier attempts, the development of the science that enabled the cable to operate, Morse code and more.

See below for the 1866 updated edition of this broadside.

The Mechanics’ Magazine, in its edition of September 1, 1865, had this notice:

Messrs. Bacon and Co. have just published a chart of the Atlantic telegraph. It contains a history of telegraphy, origin and progress of the Atlantic telegraph, and describes the old and new cables. It is well illustrated with maps of the route, engravings of the cables and of the “Great Eastern,” showing the arrangements for laying, in fact a large amount of useful information is compressed into a small compass.

George Washington Bacon, publisher of this broadside and also of a book on the Atlantic Telegraph was born in Lockport, New York, in 1830 and moved to London in 1861. In 1862 he opened a business at 48 Paternoster Row, London, initially importing maps and atlases from Colton in New York, but soon publishing many works himself. He sold a very large range of cartographic publications and was well respected as a publisher for many years.

Bacon died in 1922, but his firm survived until 1944, and he left a fine legacy of 400 catalogued maps and atlases. The name Bacon on maps only finally vanished (under the imprint of Johnston & Bacon) in 1980.

 

1865 The Great Eastern (with the New and Old Atlantic Cables)
G.W. Bacon & Co., London
 

The Great Eastern
G.W. Bacon & Co., 48, Paternoster Row, London.
Price Sixpence

Overall size 13⅝" x 20"

This English broadside by G.W. Bacon is a simpler version of the one above, also published in 1865. It shows the same views of the Great Eastern under steam and the longitudinal section of the ship, with illustrations and brief descriptions of the 1858 and 1865 Atlantic cables. As with the image above, the ship is shown with its original five funnels.

 

1865 The Great Eastern Steamship James Anderson Esq. Commander with Atlantic Telegraph Cable 1865
A.J. Schenk
 

 

 

No Image Available

 

The Great Eastern Steamship
James Anderson Esq. Commander
with Atlantic Telegraph Cable 1865

Tinted lithograph

Overall size 498 x 998 mm
(19½" x 39¼")

This lithograph is listed in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England [object PAJ2389], but I can find no further information on it at the moment.

A.J. Schenk was also the artist of an 1860 Great Eastern lithograph in the collection of the State Library of New South Wales, Australia:

The Great Eastern steam ship, J. Vine Hall commander, 1860 / drawn by A.J. Schenk, lithographed by T.G. Dutton, published by Day & Son.
15¼ x 38½ in., mounted 17¾ x 39½ in.

 

1865 The Route of the Atlantic Telegraph, The Great Eastern, Section of the Bed of the Atlantic
William Stevens, London
 

The Route of the Atlantic Telegraph by Capt. H. Clark, R.N.
The Great Eastern
Section of the Bed of the Atlantic
London. Published by Stevens
The Model Dockyard 22 Aldgate, City
July 20 1865

Overall size 14" x 21"
Image courtesy of National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) licence

Coloured etching, published by Stevens, 20 July 1865, London.

This broadside has at the bottom a section of the Great Eastern showing details of its cable equipment and storage. Beneath this is a section of the bed of the Atlantic. Above the ship are cross-sections of the old (1858) and new (1865) cables.

The top half of the print illustrates “The Route of the Atlantic Telegraph, by Capt. H. Clark, R.N.” This shows both the ocean route and the onward connections to New York, London, and Europe. The proposed (but never laid) North Atlantic cable route via Greenland and Iceland is also shown

See also the 1866 broadside by Stevens, which has a similar route map and Great Eastern section..

 

1865 Steamship The Great Eastern Laying the Electrical Cable between Europe and America
Louis Le Breton
 

Steamship The Great Eastern Laying the
Electrical Cable between Europe and America

This lithograph by the French marine artist Louis Le Breton (1818-1866) is of the Great Eastern laying cable in 1865.

The artist seems to have had little concept of how cable laying worked; the bow sheave as shown in the illustration is completely wrong. However, he does show the correct number of funnels.

 

1865 Titled “Great Eastern 1858”
N.F. Diana [copy of Louis le Breton lithograph above]
 

Great Eastern
1858
Drawn by N.F. Diana
Edizioni Ponte Vecchio
Published by P.V.5

Overall size 19½" x 27", image size 9"x 15"

This mid-20th-century hand-coloured photomechanical print is quite obviously an almost exact copy of the 1865 Louis le Breton lithograph above, despite its 1858 date.

Perhaps in an attempt to disguise its origins, the Edizioni Ponte Vecchio print actually has the image of the ship reversed horizontally compared with the 1865 lithograph. I have remedied this on the version shown above so that it may be more easily compared with the original.

Edizioni Ponte Vecchio was a company which produced reproductions of antique art prints. Formed in 1938 in Florence, the company offered a large number of subjects in various categories such as botany, astronomy, maps, etc. The firm went out of business in 2012 and its assets were sold at auction.

 

1865

The Great Eastern is Coming! A Grand Carnival at Hartford, Conn. on Friday, Sept. 29th, 1865.
 

The Great Eastern is Coming!
A Grand Carnival at Hartford, Conn. on Friday, Sept. 29th, 1865.

Overall size 23" x 9"


The Connecticut State Library at Hartford lists this broadside in its catalog, maker not stated: a “Satyrical broadside in the form of a playbill ridiculing failure of the attempt in the summer of 1865 to lay an Atlantic submarine telegraphic cable.”

THE GREAT EASTERN IS COMING! A Grand Carnival at Hartford, Conn. on Friday, Sept. 29th, 1865. The Knights of the Silver Cross will lay The Atlantic Cable and receive Field, DeSauty and Company with Distinguished Honors. The Atlantic Telegraph Co. after making two unsuccessful attempts to lay the Cable, have disposed of their interest in the Cable including the entire machinery and apparatus together with the Great Eastern and its attendants to the Knights of the Silver Cross, who having thoroughly remodeled the machinery and re-charged the Batteries, will connect the two Continents on the day above mentioned.

The broadside satirizes the failure of the 1865 expedition.

The Terrible was in the company of the Great Eastern when the cable parted and was marked with buoys for future recovery. She steamed on to St. John’s while the Great Eastern returned to England after failing in four attempts to grapple to the surface the parted cable, which was under two miles of water.

Image and text from An Atlantic Telegraph: The Transcendental Cable by Robert Dalton Harris and Diane DeBlois. Schoharie, NY, The Ephemera Society of America, Inc., 1994, 80 pp., quarto. Reproduced here by kind permission of the authors.

The Hartford Daily Courant was the instigator of this elaborate satire. The newspaper promoted the forthcoming “event” in its issues of 28 and 29 September in the “City Intelligence” section, and the issue of 30 September 1865 had a detailed (if completely fictitious) report on the supposed proceedings.

A transcript of the broadside and the full text of all the Courant’s “reports” may be read here. These give an interesting view of mid-19th century American humor.

 

1866 The Great Eastern, leaving Sheerness with the Atlantic Telegraph Cable on Board June 1866
R.C. Rothery
 

 

 

No Image Available

 

The Great Eastern, leaving Sheerness with
the Atlantic Telegraph Cable on Board June 1866

Tinted lthograph

Overall size 593 x 910 mm
(23¼" x 35¾")

This lithograph is listed in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England [object PAI6633], but I can find no further information on it.

It is possible that the lithograph is of the same scene that was used in the Illustrated London News issue of 14 July 1866, as the caption is exactly the same, but I have not yet been able to verify this:

A second catalogue entry at the NMM [PAH9040] notes that this copy of the hand-coloured lithograph was in the Science Museum exhibition “Submarine Telegraphy, 1973-4” and lists the size as 498 x 811 mm (19½" x 32").

R.C. Rothery is quite possibly R. Cadogan Rothery, for whom I find records of three nautical watercolours: “Wreck of HMS Eurydice” (1878); “The Thames at Richmond” (1880), “The Approaching Storm” (1882). Two of the listings have his name as R. Cadogan-Rothery.

 

1866 The Atlantic Telegraph (second edition)
G.W. Bacon & Co., London
 

The Atlantic Telegraph
Bacon & Co., 48, Paternoster Row, London
and the American News Company, 119 & 121, Nassau Street, New York

Overall size 30¾" x 22¾"

This edition was printed by woodcut and letterpress, then hand coloured. Laid on canvas, the paper broadside is folded into twenty and presented in book form between boards.

Although at first glance identical to Bacon’s large format broadside of 1865 (above), this version has additional text on the cable laid in that year, and some differences in the illustrations. The same cuts of the Great Eastern (with the incorrect five funnels) were used on all three of Bacon’s broadsides.

Front cover

Inside front cover

Bacon’s
Chart
of the
Atlantic Telegraph

Containing a History of Telegraphy, Origin and Progress of the Atlantic Telegraph, Description of the Old and New Cables, etc., etc; Illustrated by Maps, Engravings, Diagrams, etc.

Price in Boards,

Two Shillings

Mounted on cloth, in Case 4s. 0d.
do.   do. Roller and Varnished 5s. 0d.

London

G.W. Bacon & Co, Publishers & Booksellers
48, Paternoster Row

Harrild, Printer, London.

 

1866 The Atlantic Telegraph
William Stevens, London
 

The Atlantic Telegraph
London Published for the Proprietor by William Stevens
82 Aldgate, 14th July 1866

Overall size 29¼" x 21"

Chromolithograph broadside, published by William Stevens, 14 July 1866, London. 21" x 29¼"

“The Atlantic Telegraph and other submarine Cables, in Europe and America.” map shows [Shaffner’s] proposed North Atlantic line and the proposed French South Atlantic line. “Section of the Bed of the Atlantic, from Surveys of her Majesty’s Ship Cyclops” above which the Great Eastern is laying cable on an ocean populated otherwise by vessels under sail. Cross sections of the cables of 1865 and 1866 in conjunction with the much smaller 1858 are compared on either side of a “telegraph apparatus” resembling a Morse register. “The Great Eastern Laying the Cable” in the company of the Terrible and the Sphinx. “Section of the Great Eastern” above a numbered “Reference” labeling its parts. “Proposed Ocean Telegraphs and Overland Route Round the World” -map that includes the Collins Overland Extension of Western Union still in progress which remains to complete the global girdle. “NOTE: - Implicit reliance may be placed upon the above - the information having been furnished by the Atlantic Telegraph Company, expressly for this Publication, which is used by them.” “DESCRIPTION. ... A new expedition in 1865 also failed, whether by accident or wanton mischief is unknown....” Comparison of the statistics of the 1858, 1865 and 1866 cables.

Image and text from An Atlantic Telegraph: The Transcendental Cable by Robert Dalton Harris and Diane DeBlois. Schoharie, NY, The Ephemera Society of America, Inc., 1994, 80 pp., quarto. Reproduced here by kind permission of the authors.

See also the 1865 broadside by Stevens, which has a similar route map and Great Eastern section.

 

1866 The Eighth Wonder of the World: The Atlantic Cable
Kimmel & Forster, New York
 

The Eighth Wonder of the World
The Atlantic Cable
Pub’d by Kimmel & Forster, 254-256 Canal St. N.Y.

Monochrome version, as issued

Overall size 18¾" x 23½"

This lithograph shows the cable extending from the paws of a lion, symbolizing Great Britain, to the talons of an eagle, symbolizing the United States. Along the length of the cable is the message: “Valencia Bay, July 26th 1866. Congratulate you heartily all well here.”

Around the scene is an oval cable border, and at the top is a portrait of Cyrus W. Field flanked by the British and American flags. At the bottom is the date of the successful laying of the cable, 1866, with a portrait of Neptune above. The cities of London and Manhattan are illustrated at either side of the image, with a fleet of ships in between, the Great Eastern in the forefront. Clock towers in each city show the five-hour time difference between the two countries now connected by the cable (although the direct connection was actually between Ireland and Newfoundland)..

The four corner vignettes are titled: “Manufacturing the Cabel [sic],” “Loading the Cable,” “Valentia, Ireland,” and “Hearts Content, New Foundland.”

In the lower margin are statements by Cyrus Field:

“Heart’s Content, July 27th , 1866 .
I hope that it will prove a blessing to England, and the United States, and increase the intercourse between our Country & the Eastern Hemisphere.

Yours Faithfully
Cyrus W. Field.”

and U.S. President Andrew Johnson:

“Washinton [sic], July 29th, 1866.
To Cyrus W. Field, Heart’s Content:

May the Cable under the sea tend to promote harmony between the Republic of the West and the Governments of the Eastern Hemisphere.

Andrew Johnson.”

Christopher Kimmel (b. 1830) was a German-born engraver, lithographer and printer, active in New York City from 1850 to 1876. He was with Capewell & Kimmel from 1853 to 1860, and later with Kimmel & Forster and Kimmel & Voight.

Hand-coloured version at the Library of Congress

According to America on Stone, Kimmel & Forster published at least one other Atlantic cable lithograph (see next entry), as well as Civil War and genre prints.

 

1866 The Arrival of the Atlantic Cable, in New Foundland, July 27th 1866
Kimmel & Forster, New York
 

The Arrival of the Atlantic Cable in New Foundland, July 27th 1866
Lith. & Pub”d. by Kimmel & Forster, 254 & 256 Canal St. N.Y.

Overall size 17" x 20¾"

Image courtesy of
Yale University Art Gallery

Mabel Brady Garvan Collection


This color lithograph is mentioned in America on Stone (print edition), and Yale University Art Gallery has a copy in its collection. The lithograph shows the Great Eastern close to the shore at Heart”s Content in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, on 27 July 1866, accompanied by several smaller ships and boats, with a well-dressed crowd watching as seamen haul the end of the cable on to land.

Henry Field, Cyrus Field”s brother, describes the scene in his book History of the Atlantic Telegraph:

In England the progress of the expedition was known from day to day, but on this side of the ocean all was uncertainty. Some had gone to Heart”s Content, hoping to witness the arrival of the fleet, but not so many as the last year, for the memory of their disappointment was too fresh, and they feared the same result again. But still a faithful few were there who kept their daily watch. Two weeks have passed. It is Friday morning, the twenty-seventh of July. They are up early and looking eastward to see the day break, when a ship is seen in the offing. She is far down on the horizon. Spy-glasses are turned toward her. She comes nearer—and look there is another and another. And now the hull of the Great Eastern looms up all-glorious in that morning sky. They are coming! Instantly all is wild excitement on shore. Boats put off to row toward the fleet. The Albany is the first to round the point and enter the Bay. The Terrible is close behind. The Medway stops an hour or two to join on the heavy shore end, while the Great Eastern, gliding calmly in as if she had done nothing remarkable, drops her anchor in front of the telegraph house, having trailed behind her a chain of two thousand miles, to bind the old world to the new.

The image is signed in the stone: “F[eodor] Fuchs”. In 1876 Fuchs created one of the earliest images of “Custer”s Last Charge”.

 

 

Bill Glover adds these notes on the British flags seen on some of the broadsides:

The flag of Great Britain is the Union Flag (or Union Jack, as it’s often wrongly called), but this can only be flown on a ship when either the Admiral of the Fleet or the Monarch is on board. It’s otherwise illegal for anyone to fly the Union flag on board ship, and has been since the reign of Charles II, when he made it so to prevent merchant ships flying it to avoid paying harbour dues.

The White Ensign is flown by the Royal Navy, the Red Ensign by the Merchant Navy, and the Blue Ensign by members of the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) under Warrant from the Lords of the Admiralty.

White Ensign

Red Ensign

Blue Ensign

The 1858 “Telegraph Chart, America and Europe” shows the Red Ensign on the British section of the broadside. Used by the Merchant Navy, it would have been flown at the stern by HMS Agamemnon, although as a Naval vessel she would have customarily flown the White Ensign.

The 1858 “Torchlight Procession Around the World” shows the White Ensign on the ship at the right of the broadside, HMS Agamemnon, below the portrait of Morse. This would also have been flown by HMS Leopard, one of the escorts.

The Great Eastern can be seen flying the Red Ensign in the three G.W. Bacon broadsides of 1865 and 1866.

I don”t know where the artist found the flag used on the 1866 “The Eighth Wonder of the World: The Atlantic Cable” broadside, but it certainly isn”t British.

 

Last revised: 18 November, 2014

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