Telegraph wire at the Greenwich works, London, 1866.
© 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 shows the reels of gutta-percha-covered conducting wire being coiled into tanks ready for loading onto the ship the 'Great Eastern'. This was for the third attempt to lay a transatlantic communications cable, the first to establish a permanent cable link acros the Atlantic. The use of the cable to relay telegraph mesages reduced communication times from the length of a sea voyage to a few minutes.