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

Valentia Telegraph Key

This key was presented to the Valentia Heritage Centre (Knightstown, Valentia Island, Co. Kerry, Ireland) by a descendant of James Graves, Superintendent of the Valentia Cable Station of the Anglo-American Telegraph Company from 1866 to 1909.

According to the label the key was used to test the first (unsuccessful) Atlantic cable of 1857. However, the key has been identified by a specialist in Marconi equipment as a Marconi Company spark key, manufactured between 1907 and 1918. Further research is in progress to find more about the history of the key.

Detail of label

Key used for testing
the first transatlantic
cable at Valentia in 1857

Images courtesy of the Valentia Heritage Centre

Last revised: 23 December, 2009

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You can help - if you have cable material, old or new, please contact me. Cable samples, instruments, documents, brochures, souvenir books, photographs, family stories, all are valuable to researchers and historians.

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—Bill Burns, publisher and webmaster: Atlantic-Cable.com