In the deep dark ocean

by Instant Noodle

I was rather struck by how beautiful this plate was.

We know more about the surface of Mars than we do about that of the deep ocean.

It is rather cliched to say that, but it is nonetheless true.

We may not find mermaids, but the bizzarre sorts of life that we do find down there I’ll bet will surprise us. You never know; perhaps the last remnants of the trilobites are down there.

On more Earthly matters though; what a truly astounding achievement the first transatlantic cable was. Most people – certainly myself – are more than just a little surprised to find out that it was lain in 1858; barely 20 years after the invention of the telegraph, and only 8 years after lying the line from England to France.

Once it was lain, the first words said were

Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace and good will toward men

After that, Queen Victoria and president James Buchanan sent messages to one another.

“The Queen desires to congratulate the President upon the successful completion of this great international work, in which the Queen has taken the deepest interest. The Queen is convinced that the President will join with her in fervently hoping that the electric cable, which now connects Great Britain with the United States, will prove an additional link between the two places whose friendship is founded upon their common interests and reciprocal esteem. The Queen has much pleasure in thus directly communicating with the President, and in renewing to him her best wishes for the prosperity of the United States.”

The message took 16 hours to send by Morse code through 2,500 miles of cable. This is the route that the cable took,

However, the cable unfortunately stopped working after just a few months. Facing a public backlash, the company responsible rapidly replaced the cable with a better one that could communicate considerably faster in 1866, which is what the cartoon above refers to.

(Prologue of the 1866 almanack)

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