Chapter

Telephonic Scotland: Periphery, Hybridity, Diaspora

Cairns Craig

in Intending Scotland

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780748637133
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653478 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637133.003.0005
Telephonic Scotland: Periphery, Hybridity, Diaspora

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This chapter notes that in 1858 the first attempt to lay a telegraph cable between Europe and North America ended in disaster: after an initial transfer of some 700 messages, the signals faded and became unintelligible. It reports that William Thomson, Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, had been an adviser to the project but his advice had been ignored by the managing engineer, Wildman Whitehouse, who did not have Thomson's expertise in the theoretical aspects of the transmission of electronic currents. It notes that after a parliamentary investigation into the failure, Thomson was put in charge of a second attempt in 1865 and eventually succeeded in 1866 not only in laying a cable from Ireland to Nova Scotia but in establishing a consistent contact that linked continent to continent in an almost instantaneous circuit of information.

Keywords: telegraph cable; Europe; North America; William Thomson; Natural Philosophy; University of Glasgow; Nova Scotia

Chapter.  16924 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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