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13 July 1866 - 150 years ago today - Ireland and the start of the Information Superhighway

Catalpast

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13 July 1866: The Great Eastern steamship [above], the largest vessel afloat at that time, departed Valentia Island Co Kerry for Newfoundland on this day. Its task was to attempt once again to try and lay a working telegraph cable from Europe to the Americas.




‘It was the brainchild of American entrepreneur Cyrus Field, who made two unsuccessful attempts before finally succeeding. The first officer on the Great Eastern - the biggest vessel in the world at the time - was Wicklow native Captain Robert Halpin. While Belfast born scientist and engineer, Lord Kelvin, worked on the technical aspects of the cable.


Prior to the laying of the Transatlantic Cable it took approximately two weeks from a message to reach North America from Europe… weather permitting as all communications were sent via boat.




The idea of a transatlantic cable was first proposed in 1845, but the distances and depths presented formidable problems. In 1856 the Atlantic Telegraph Company was registered with a capital of £350,000 (then about $1,400,000). On the American side Cyrus W. Field was the driving force; on the British side it was Charles Bright and brothers John and Jacob Brett.




After so many failed attempts, the final, successful, cable was laid with virtually no problems. On 27 July 1866, the cable was pulled ashore at a tiny fishing village in Newfoundland known by the charming name of Heart’s Content. The distance was 1686 nautical miles Valentia Island. The Great Eastern had averaged 120 miles a day while paying out the cable.




The first message sent on this, finally successful, cable was: “A treaty of peace has been signed between Austria and Prussia”. Queen Victoria, then at Osborne, in the Isle of Wight, sent a message to the President of the United States. “The Queen congratulates the President on the successful completion of an undertaking which she hopes may serve as an additional bond of Union between the United States and England.'' *


Almost immediately, the cable opened for business but only the very wealthy could afford it – the initial rates were a startling $1 a letter, payable in gold – at a time that a monthly wage for a labourer might be $20.''

Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station | Valentia Island


For the next 100 years Valentia Island was a major portal for the dispatch and reception of messages between the distant continents in what was for its time an Information Superhighway in itself. The station finally ceased being a conduit for transatlantic communication in 1966 when air mail & satellites made it un-economic to maintain it any longer. It was an end of an Era.


* No mention of Ireland!
 


Dimples 77

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13 July 1866: The Great Eastern steamship [above], the largest vessel afloat at that time, departed Valentia Island Co Kerry for Newfoundland on this day. Its task was to attempt once again to try and lay a working telegraph cable from Europe to the Americas.




‘It was the brainchild of American entrepreneur Cyrus Field, who made two unsuccessful attempts before finally succeeding. The first officer on the Great Eastern - the biggest vessel in the world at the time - was Wicklow native Captain Robert Halpin. While Belfast born scientist and engineer, Lord Kelvin, worked on the technical aspects of the cable.


Prior to the laying of the Transatlantic Cable it took approximately two weeks from a message to reach North America from Europe… weather permitting as all communications were sent via boat.




The idea of a transatlantic cable was first proposed in 1845, but the distances and depths presented formidable problems. In 1856 the Atlantic Telegraph Company was registered with a capital of £350,000 (then about $1,400,000). On the American side Cyrus W. Field was the driving force; on the British side it was Charles Bright and brothers John and Jacob Brett.




After so many failed attempts, the final, successful, cable was laid with virtually no problems. On 27 July 1866, the cable was pulled ashore at a tiny fishing village in Newfoundland known by the charming name of Heart’s Content. The distance was 1686 nautical miles Valentia Island. The Great Eastern had averaged 120 miles a day while paying out the cable.




The first message sent on this, finally successful, cable was: “A treaty of peace has been signed between Austria and Prussia”. Queen Victoria, then at Osborne, in the Isle of Wight, sent a message to the President of the United States. “The Queen congratulates the President on the successful completion of an undertaking which she hopes may serve as an additional bond of Union between the United States and England.'' *


Almost immediately, the cable opened for business but only the very wealthy could afford it – the initial rates were a startling $1 a letter, payable in gold – at a time that a monthly wage for a labourer might be $20.''

Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station | Valentia Island


For the next 100 years Valentia Island was a major portal for the dispatch and reception of messages between the distant continents in what was for its time an Information Superhighway in itself. The station finally ceased being a conduit for transatlantic communication in 1966 when air mail & satellites made it un-economic to maintain it any longer. It was an end of an Era.


* No mention of Ireland!


So Brits and yanks collaborated to make this happen, and one end of the cable was in Ireland.

Whooppee!!!
 

cozzy121

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13 July 1866: The Great Eastern steamship [above], the largest vessel afloat at that time, departed Valentia Island Co Kerry for Newfoundland on this day. Its task was to attempt once again to try and lay a working telegraph cable from Europe to the Americas.




‘It was the brainchild of American entrepreneur Cyrus Field, who made two unsuccessful attempts before finally succeeding. The first officer on the Great Eastern - the biggest vessel in the world at the time - was Wicklow native Captain Robert Halpin. While Belfast born scientist and engineer, Lord Kelvin, worked on the technical aspects of the cable.


Prior to the laying of the Transatlantic Cable it took approximately two weeks from a message to reach North America from Europe… weather permitting as all communications were sent via boat.




The idea of a transatlantic cable was first proposed in 1845, but the distances and depths presented formidable problems. In 1856 the Atlantic Telegraph Company was registered with a capital of £350,000 (then about $1,400,000). On the American side Cyrus W. Field was the driving force; on the British side it was Charles Bright and brothers John and Jacob Brett.




After so many failed attempts, the final, successful, cable was laid with virtually no problems. On 27 July 1866, the cable was pulled ashore at a tiny fishing village in Newfoundland known by the charming name of Heart’s Content. The distance was 1686 nautical miles Valentia Island. The Great Eastern had averaged 120 miles a day while paying out the cable.




The first message sent on this, finally successful, cable was: “A treaty of peace has been signed between Austria and Prussia”. Queen Victoria, then at Osborne, in the Isle of Wight, sent a message to the President of the United States. “The Queen congratulates the President on the successful completion of an undertaking which she hopes may serve as an additional bond of Union between the United States and England.'' *


Almost immediately, the cable opened for business but only the very wealthy could afford it – the initial rates were a startling $1 a letter, payable in gold – at a time that a monthly wage for a labourer might be $20.''

Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station | Valentia Island


For the next 100 years Valentia Island was a major portal for the dispatch and reception of messages between the distant continents in what was for its time an Information Superhighway in itself. The station finally ceased being a conduit for transatlantic communication in 1966 when air mail & satellites made it un-economic to maintain it any longer. It was an end of an Era.


* No mention of Ireland!
Excellent OP.
I would highly recommend this PBS documentary about the man behind the cable.

The Great Transatlantic Cable
American Experience | The Great Transatlantic Cable | PBS
 

NMunsterman

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Indeed - surely that is worthy of note?
Yes, you are totally correct and thank for an excellent OP:

Best to ignore that fanatical Unionist bigot "Dimples 77" who loathes almost everything and anything that most Irish people hold dear.
 

Dimples 77

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Yes, you are totally correct and thank for an excellent OP:

Best to ignore that fanatical Unionist bigot "Dimples 77" who loathes almost everything and anything that most Irish people hold dear.

What am I loathing in this case?
 

Breanainn

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What am I loathing in this case?
The Valentia Islanders take great pride in their role in the telecommunications revolution, and it was the major source of local employment for a century, so to decry it as "un-Irish" is singularly misinformed.
 

Dimples 77

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The Valentia Islanders take great pride in their role in the telecommunications revolution, and it was the major source of local employment for a century, so to decry it as "un-Irish" is singularly misinformed.
Who was doing that?
 

Old Mr Grouser

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... For the next 100 years Valentia Island was a major portal for the dispatch and reception of messages between the distant continents in what was for its time an Information Superhighway in itself. The station finally ceased being a conduit for transatlantic communication in 1966 when air mail & satellites made it un-economic to maintain it any longer. It was an end of an Era ...
No, it's worse than that.

There's still transatlantic cables and one of them - the PTAT-1 - comes into Ireland; but some fiddle was worked and it comes ashore at Ballinspittle.


The dirty animals. Moving statues is bad enough, but moving a cable is straightforward theft.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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mredfellow
It was just another milepost on the road to globalisation.
No doubt about it.

Which is why the £/$ exchange rate is still known on the bourses as "Cable".


Now tell us what essentially is wrong with "globalisation"? Especially if (for one glaring example) it means AIDS in Africa gets First World money and medications. Not to mention that I'm just into a decent, £5 bottle of Chilean Merlot.

As an analogy, I know where I was on the evening of 23rd July, 1962: watching JFK opening a press conference via Telstar.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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No, it's worse than that.

There's still transatlantic cables and one of them - the PTAT-1 - comes into Ireland; but some fiddle was worked and it comes ashore at Ballinspittle.


The dirty animals. Moving statues is bad enough, but moving a cable is straightforward theft.
P-TAT1 was closed down, as uneconomic, in early 2004.

When some types gripe about "globalisation", this is how it goes:

  • Telstar was a "private" venture between AT&T and British Telecom.
  • PTAT-1 is an acronym for "Private TransAtlantic Telecommunication System", originally TelOptik in the US, with Cable and Wireless as the UK partner. Much of the technology came from the UK end, with STC and ICL as major contractors. It bust the AT&T/BT stranglehold.
  • For PTAT to happen, transAtlantic monopoly deals, incorporated in laws from the 1930s, had to be busted: the national comms monopolies were severely displeased
 


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