History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
Atlantic Cables - Index
1852-1856: The Beginning
Prince Edward Island Cable - the first link, 1852
The Atlantic Cable Projectors - where it all began: 1854-1895
St. John's, Newfoundland, as a Port of Call for Transatlantic Steamers - February 1856 pamphlet promoting use of the soon-to-be-completed telegraph line between Newfoundland and New York
The Atlantic Telegraph - Cyrus Field’s November 1856 prospectus for the company
Professor Hall’s Floating Stations - an unsuccessful 1857 proposal
Cabot Strait Cable and 1857-58 Atlantic Cables by Bill Glover
On Submarine Electric Telegraphs - paper given by Frederick R. Window in January 1857 to the Institution of Civil Engineers, including comments on the problems of long submarine lines
The Atlantic Telegraph - report published in the USA by Cyrus Field in June 1857 to answer questions on the upcoming cable
A song by James Clerk Maxwell on the failure of the 1857 cable
Atlantic Telegraph Company: Ordinary General Meeting, February 1858 - Report of the Directors to the Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders
On Submerging Telegraphic Cables - report on a paper read at the Institution of Civil Engineers on 16 February 1858, by Mr. J.A. Longridge, M. Inst. C.E., and Mr. C.H. Brooks.
On the Practical Operations connected with the Paying-Out and Repairing of Submarine Telegraph Cables - paper presented on 23 February 1858 to the Institution of Civil Engineers by Frederick C. Webb.
On the Submergence of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable - lecture given in March 1858 to the United Service Institution
Henry M. Field’s account of meeting the Telegraph Squadron in June 1858
Private Journal of Geo. R. Johnson - an account of the 1858 Atlantic cable expedition by the Second Assistant Engineer of USS Niagara
The 1858 cable expedition as reported in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, New York
The 1858 cable station in Newfoundland and the landing of the cable. Includes previously unpublished paintings made at the time.
My Connection with the Atlantic Telegraph by James Burn Russell. Transcription of sections of the manuscript journal of William Thomson’s assistant, who accompanied Thomson on the 1858 cable expeditions. An important source document, previously unpublished.
Leaves from the Journal of an Amateur Telegrapher by James Burn Russell. Published articles based on the experiences described in the journal above.
The New York Chamber of Commerce Tiffany gold medals - and Richard Williamson’s story
David Dudley Field’s speech on September 1st 1858 at the Crystal Palace celebration of the laying of the cable
The Telegraph Jubilee - celebrations in New York City and around the country on August 18th
The 1858 Cable Celebration in New York City - September 1st and 2nd
The First Atlantic Telegraph Cable, by John Mullaly - a 1907 recap of his original writings
Wildman Whitehouse and the 1857-58 Atlantic cables - a comprehensive history of the life and work of the Electrician of the 1857-58 Atlantic Cables
William Thomson and the 1857-58 Atlantic Cables - another point of view
Atlantic Telegraph Company: Extraordinary General Meeting, December 1858 - report of a special meeting of the almost bankrupt company which attempted to present an optimistic view to the shareholders
The Maths Behind the Trans-Atlantic Telegraph Cable - a short article by Liam Morris on William Thomson’s mathematical analysis of the first Atlantic cable
Was the Atlantic Cable A Humbug! - an argument waged in the pages of the Boston Courier as to whether the 1858 cable actually carried the reported messages 
The Atlantic and South Atlantic Telegraphs - Frederick R. Window’s anonymous pamphlet on the shortcomings of the 1858 cable, and a proposed South Atlantic route 
Index to the Report of the Joint Committee Appointed by the Lords of the Privy Council for Trade and the Atlantic Telegraph Company to Inquire into the Construction of Submarine Telegraph Cables 
Bridging the Gap – News Telegraphs 1863-1870 by Steven Roberts
The Northern Line – The Arctic Cables by Steven Roberts
Cyrus Field’s Banquet - London, April 1864
Making the 1865 Atlantic Cable - a visit to the factory at Greenwich
Choosing the Site for the Shore End - descriptions of the activities at Valentia in June 1865
Laying the Shore End - a description of the scene at Valentia in July 1865
William Russell’s Manuscript Diary of the 1865 expedition
William Russell & Robert Dudley’s book: The Atlantic Telegraph - includes scans of the cover, title page, tinted lithographs, and original artwork from the book recording the events of the 1865 Great Eastern cable expedition.
De Profundis by William H Russell; an article summarizing the events of 1865
John C. Deane’s Diary of the 1865 expedition.
The 1865 cable expedition as reported in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, New York
Original letter from Sir Daniel Gooch describing the loss of the cable on the 1865 Great Eastern expedition
Henry O'Neil’s accounts of the 1865 and 1866 cable expeditions
Portraits on the Voyage - photographs and sketches of some of the key figures of 1865
Letter from Sir Robert Peel to John C. Deane, later Secretary of the Anglo-American Telegraph Company, concerning the loss of the 1865 cable
Atlantic Telegraph Cable - address of Professor William Thomson to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on the 1865 cable
The Anglo-American Telegraph Company - formed to lay the 1866 cable, the company remained in business for over a hundred years
Description of the Paying-Out and Picking-Up Machinery in 1866, by George Elliot of Glass, Elliot
Shipboard Publishing and Printing on Great Eastern in 1865 and 1866
From Sheerness to Valentia - reports on the first part of the 1866 Great Eastern expedition by the Special Correspondent of the Daily News (London).
Affairs at Hearts Content: August 1866 - New York Times correspondent’s report from Newfoundland after the successful conclusion of the 1866 expedition
Detailed description of the Recovery of the Cable in 1866, from Henry M. Field’s book
On the Atlantic Telegraph - 1867 lecture by Cromwell F. Varley on the theory behind long submarine cables
The Cables and Iceberg - 1867 damage to the 1866 Atlantic cable by an iceberg at the mouth of Trinity Bay, Newfoundland
On The Causes Of Failure Of Deep-Sea Cables - 1884 article by James Graves
Engineering Facts and Figures for 1866 - an overview of technical details of the 1858, 1865, and 1866 Atlantic cables
Submarine Telegraphy - December 1866 article by cable engineer Fleeming Jenkin with a detailed technical analysis of the design, manufacture, laying, and testing of the Atlantic cables of 1858, 1865, and 1866
Edward Bright: Description of the Manufacture, Laying and Working of the Cables of 1865 and 1866; with an Explanation of the Means Employed for Recovering the Lost Cable of 1865.
Bern Dibner’s book The Atlantic Cable, published in 1958, provides an excellent overview of the 1857 -1866 Atlantic cables, and is available on line at the Smithsonian Institution’s website.
A 2016 article by Nigel Linge and Bill Burns, “The Cable that Wired the World” (PDF), gives an illustrated overview of the Atlantic Cable project on the 150th anniversary of its successful completion.
Timeline of Atlantic Cables
Atlantic Cable Broadsides
Posters for the Public - a record of how the cable captured the imagination in Britain and America
Cable Route Maps - includes maps of the early Atlantic cables
Cable Bibliography - details of published works on subsea cables, beginning in the 1850s, as well as films and videos from the 1920s to date
Cable Signalling Speeds
Comparision of transmission speeds from early to modern cables
Salient Features In Cable Design Since 1850 - a timeline of cable technical developments from 1850 to 1959 by Submarine Cables Ltd.
Collage of Atlantic Cable Documents
Historical document collage - but all are reproductions
Last revised: 18 January, 2021