A global history of the Valentia Island telegraph cables
by Donard de Cogan, M0KRK
The development of deep sea trans-Atlantic cables was one of the great Victorian technologic developments. But its tenure as the main technology from trans-Atlantic communications was only a few decades. This book looks at both the huge technological developments behind the cables and the importance of a tiny station on Valentia Island on Ireland's Atlantic coast. Both of which were pivotal in the development of the business and technology of international communications.
They Talk Along the Deep takes a global view of the history and considers how external factors aided the development and eventual decline of cable telegraphy. The trans-Atlantic telegraph attracted some of the greatest names in Victorian science, commerce and politics. However, that story largely now forgotten was one of international importance and is retold here. Not only this, but the book looks at how the electric telegraph simplified the control of the developing rail network, a system of uniform time, synoptic meteorology, remote control of warfare (Crimea war), rapid dissemination of news, insulation of copper with gutta-percha for cables and much more. The trans-Atlantic telegraph cable at Valentia Island in Ireland can also lay claim to many 'firsts', including the demonstration of the need for high purity copper for cable core, clarification of the theories of electricity, the development of uniform systems of electrical units, establishment of transmission and reception procedures, study of earth currents and their diurnal variation, discovery of photoconductivity, improvements in electrical earthing to name just a few.
Originally written as part of the push to have Valentia Island declared a UNESCO world heritage site, this book is concerned with how this all came about, the people who were involved and what the wider effects of these innovations were. There is no doubt that the telegraph cable station at Valentia had an enormous impact on both sides of the Atlantic and this book details the story in fascinating detail.
Size: 205x254mm, 304 pages