Archive for July 1st, 2010

Submarine Telegraphy, 1872

While browsing Google Books today during lunch, I came across an interesting 1872 book on “submarine telegraphy”, i.e. the earliest trans-oceanic cables. I immediately found two things very interesting – the profit-sharing arrangements that were involved between various companies, and the downtime that was apparently considered permissible. Consider:

The [Anglo-American Telegraph Company] messages are taken from London to Valentia, through the Wexford cable, two wires being specially reserved for the American messages; at Heart’s Content they are handed to the New York, Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Company, who transmit them as far as Plaister Cove, whence they are sent by the Western Union Telegraph Company direct to New York.

From the opening of the Atlantic cable for traffic, on the 28th July, 1866, until the 15th August, 1869, the Anglo-American Company had no rival; but immediately upon the opening of the French Atlantic Company’s cable for traffic on the latter date, a sharp competition commenced, which resulted in an agreement being made between the two companies for a division of receipts, as follows :—

The gross receipts accruing to the two companies, from messages passing over their lines (the French Company being considered as commencing at Brest and ending at Boston, and the Anglo Company as beginning at Valentia and ending at Plaister Cove), to be divided, by giving the French Company 36 2/3 per cent., and the Anglo Company 63 1/3 per cent., irrespective of which company may have done the work. Special arrangements are also made in case of the breaking of all or any of the three cables, which are as follows :

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Published in: General, History | on July 1st, 2010 | No Comments »