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Posted By: Pete on: 12/04/2004 20:08:32 EDT
Subject: Submarine Cable

Message Detail:
From the Scientific American, May 31, 1862:

MILITARY TELEGRAPH CABLE SUCCESSFULLY LAID.

The submarine telegraph cable was successfully laid on the 19th inst., across the Chesapeake Bay, from Cherry Stone to Back River in Virginia, and the War Department is now in telegraphic communication with Fortress Monroe and Gen. McClellan’s headquarters.
The cable, twenty-five miles in length, is heavily armored with sixteen stout iron wires, arranged longitudinally, like the staves of a barrel around the insulating coat and conductor, and protecting them from all strain by any force short of what would be required to break the covering wires, the aggregate strength of which equals that of a ship’s chain cable.
The longitudinal wires are hooped by a still heavier wire, wound spirally round them, which binds them together so that they form a strong but flexible tube of iron that effectually protects the conductor and the insulating coat. This is deemed a great improvement over the English system of spiral wire armor which was used in the Atlantic cable, and tended so strongly and incorrigibly to twist and kink.
At the time of laying the first temporary cable, there was no heavy cable in this country, or machinery for its expeditious manufacture. The experiment was made with such cable as could be extemporized at the moment, and which was constructed like the English cable, 370 miles in length, laid in the Black Sea, between Yarna and Balakiava, during the Crimean war, and which worked so admirably for several months.
The temporary cable worked successfully, and most opportunely to relieve the public mind on the memorable Sunday of the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac, but in a few days was dragged away by anchors, or otherwise broken—-an accident not likely to happen to a cable of such immense strength as the new one.
The present cable was manufactured in New York, under the orders of Col. Anson Stager, Military Superintendent of United States Telegraphs, and was laid in four hours, under the supervision of Mr. Win. H. Heiss, who also superintended its manufacture. A brake of new construction was used to govern the paying out of the cable, and worked so admirably that it is thought it will overcome one of the greatest difficulties experienced in laying the Atlantic cable.


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