Brunel's 'Great Eastern', 23 July 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 'Great Eastern' beginning its voyage with an escort of other ships. Following the unsuccesful attempts of 1858 and 1865, the 'Great Eastern' succesfully laid a transatlantic communications cable acros the Atlantic in 1866. The use of cable to relay telegraph mesages reduced communication times from the length of a sea voyage to a few seconds.