Laying the Atlantic telegraph cable, 1858: the ‘Agamemnon’

Victorian illustration to download showing the ‘Agamemnon’, one of the ships that laid the Atlantic telegraph cable in 1858, with cable-laying apparatus fixed to her stern, along with large buoys to mark the spot if the cable were to break. In June 1858 the ‘Agamemnon’ and the US ship ‘Niagara’ sailed to the middle of the Atlantic, each to lay the cable to Ireland and Newfoundland. An attempt in 1857 had been unsuccessful, and the first 4 heroic attempts of 1858 failed because of storms, fog, and the cable snapping. In August the task was achieved – however, the cable failed in October. Success finally came in 1866 when another cable was laid by Brunel’s ‘Great Eastern’.