Telegraph wire at the Greenwich works, 1865.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithograph after Robert Dudley from 'The Atlantic Telegraph', a book by W H Rusell with 26 illustrations by Dudley, published in 1866. This plate shows the reels of gutta-percha-covered conducting wire being conveyed into tanks ready for loading on to Isambard Kingdom Brunel's ship the 'Great Eastern'. This was for the second attempt, in 1865, to lay a permanent transatlantic communications cable. The third attempt, the following year, was succesful and reduced communication times from the length of a sea voyage to a few seconds.