Escher.gif (426 bytes) History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network
Site Changes 2009  
26 December Added 1867 paper by Cromwell F. Varley: On the Atlantic Telegraph
26 December Added January 1903 article: The Laying of the American Trans-Pacific Cable
24 December Added obituary of Cromwell F. Varley
24 December Added page by Bill Glover on CS Long Lines
22 December Added page on Goliath, the ship which laid the first submarine cable in 1850
21 December Added February 1858 paper: On the Practical Operations connected with the Paying-Out and Repairing of Submarine Telegraph Cables by Frederick C. Webb
19 December Added page on 1858 Atlantic Cable ribbon, Albany NY
18 December Added January 1857 paper: On Submarine Electric Telegraphs by Frederick R. Window
16 December Added March 1858 lecture: On the Submergence of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable by Captain M.S. Nolloth, R.N.
8 December Added Reports and Opinions in Reference to the Selection of the Best Point for Laying the Cable. July, 1857
22 November Added 1895 article on the cable station at Rye Beach to the Direct United States Cable Company page
16 November Added article by Bill Glover on the 1827 Liverpool - Holyhead Semaphore Telegraph
9 November Added new Cable Story: George West and cable repairs off the coast of Peru, 1883
26 October Added page on the 1852 Prince Edward Island Cable
24 October Added page on the 1950 Key West - Havana Cable
23 October Added new Cable Story: Charles W. Banks and the fire on CS Minia, 1894
17 October Added information on a recovered cable to the Simplex page
17 October Added page on the 1889 Obock-Perim Cable
28 September Added John W. Brett's Rejoinder to Mr. Whitehouse, 22 September 1858
24 September Added page on Atlantic Cable Broadsides 1858-66
16 September Added newspaper article on cable laying and repair in World War II
15 September Added biographies by Steven Roberts of 19th century cable industry notables:
Nathaniel John Holmes George Saward Henry Weaver
14 September Added new Cable Story: S.F. (Rudy) Rudolph - Cablehead RM, 1945-51. Rudy arrived at the station just as Cal Sheckler was leaving, and continues the story of the operation immediately after the end of the war
5 September Added page on the 1858 England-Holland Cable (Dunwich-Zandvoort)
28 August Added page on Early Cable Instruments - text and images of a talk given at the Antique Wireless Association Conference, August 2009
31 July Added page on 1858 Atlantic Cable Medal/Brooch
7 July Added article by Wildman Whitehouse on the 1856 soundings of the Atlantic Ocean for the telegraph route
1 July Added note by Don Morton on the later history of wartime cable station RM
13 June Added review of Bert Lundy's book Telegraph, Telephone, and Wireless: How Telecom Changed the World
13 June Added page on Hooper's proposed 1873 South African Cable
2 June Added 1857 presentation by John Watkins Brett to the Royal Institution: On the Submarine Telegraph
24 May Added article on Wildman Whitehouse's 1855 experiments on the velocity of signals in long cables
18 May Added detailed account of the laying of the 1859 Singapore-Batavia Cable
15 May Added page on the 1900 German Atlantic Cable
14 May Added The Song of the Atlantic Telegraph Company by James Clerk Maxwell (1857)
14 May Added article by Steven Roberts: Bridging the Gap – News Telegraphs 1863-1870
12 May Added 1899 article on the Commercial Cable Company: The End of an Ocean Cable
11 May Added page on the 1865 Great Eastern Diary by W.H. Russell
5 May Added full text of Cyrus Field's 1856 prospectus for The Atlantic Telegraph
31 March Added page on CS Recorder (1)
30 March Added 1889 article on Cable Operators
10 March Added page on the 1923 US Army San Pedro - Catalina Island cable
7 March Added page on TAT-1 Commemorative Silver Dish
6 March Added page by Steven Roberts on Anglo-Irish Cables
3 March Added page on the Killantringan Cable Hut near Portpatrick, Scotland
8 February Added page by Bill Glover on CS Salernum/Charles L Brown
7 February Added further original material on Edward Orange Wildman Whitehouse
29 January Added page on the The Wheeler Gift Collection - Latimer Clark’s library
29 January Added photograph of the Telcon Electrical Staff, 1890
25 January Added page on the 1869/70 Land’s End - Scilly Isles cables
23 January Added article on the 1870 Falmouth Gibraltar & Malta cable
13 January Added section on Edward Orange Wildman Whitehouse - a comprehensive history of the life and work of the Electrician of the 1857-58 Atlantic Cables

All site content copyright © 1999-2009 FTL Design

Unless otherwise noted all images and text on the Atlantic Cable website are
copyright © 2009 FTL Design and may not be reproduced without permission
Most images for which we hold the copyright may be licensed
for commercial or personal use; please enquire.

Contact Information
Site owner and webmaster: Bill Burns
email me at:


As the site progresses into its eleventh year, I continue to extend special thanks to Bill Glover, who has been contributing time and material to the project for much of that time.

Thanks also to Jim Jones, a cable industry veteran of many years, who has not only provided much of his own material, but has also tracked down former colleagues and other cable workers for contributions to the site.

And to Steven Roberts, an invaluable source of research help, who has also contributed a number of articles to the site. Steve’s Distant Writing - The Telegraph Companies in Britain between 1838 and 1868 was first published on-line with the encouragement of this website.

And finally, thanks to all contributors and correspondents for their help in making the site a major resource for communications history research.

Contributors are credited on their individual pages; all uncredited material is by site owner and webmaster Bill Burns.

The background image on this page is taken from the front cover of
W.H. Russell’s The Atlantic Telegraph, and shows a section of the 1865 cable.