On 16 August 1858, Queen Victoria and U.S. president James Buchanan exchanged telegraphic pleasantries, inaugurating the first transatlantic cable connecting British North America to Ireland. This milestone in telegraphy had been a long time coming. Samuel Morse first suggested linking the two continents in 1840, and various attempts were made over the ensuing years.
Terrestrial telegraphy was by then well established, and several shorter submarine cables had been deployed in Europe and the United States. Still, the transatlantic cable’s great length posed some unique challenges, especially because transmission theory and cable design were still very much under debate.
What a fascinating story about the early days of transatlantic communication.