If you are ever down near Land’s End, you could do worse than visiting The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, located in the small eponymous coastal village. This was the point at which many submarine telegraph cables came ashore. The museum, which opened in May 1998, is housed in the former telegraph facility. Above the beach was a small building, where the operator would send and receive messages to and from the far reaches of the Empire.
Transatlantic cables of the 19th century consisted of an outer layer of iron and later steel wire, wrapping India rubber, under which was a layer of gutta-percha, which surrounded a multi-stranded copper wire at the core. The portions closest to each shore landing had additional protective armor wires. Gutta-percha, a natural polymer similar to rubber, had nearly ideal properties for insulating submarine cables, with the exception of a rather high dielectric constant which made cable capacitance high. Gutta-percha was not replaced as a cable insulation until polyethylene was introduced in the 1930s.
Each cable carried but a single message at a time. For the Empire. The British Empire. The biggest Empire the world has ever known until now. One line of communication for India, one for Canada and one for Australia. One. If you only have one line, what data is sent, and what isn’t?
Even so, it was the envy of the world. This was the biggest and the most important communication hub in the world. Until then, the only way to send messages was by Packet Ships, and they could take months.
This is an incredible concept in this day and age of mass, constant communication, most of which is ephemeral and inconsequential, after all, who really needs to know what you are having for lunch? One thing is certain though. Technical development and Innovation is snowballing, driven by ever increasing speeds and levels of communication. But we have to keep up. There is no point of talking if nobody is listening. We at Aerco Ltd listen. Call us with your requirements. We will tell you if there is a standard product that meets them, and if not, we will guide you through the design process to produce one that does, advising you of the pitfalls, and coming up with an affordable solution within a realistic time scale.
Modern undersea cables are constructed of armoured fibre optics, sending data at the speed of light, and we rush head long into the future, surfing on the wave of ever increasing speeds and levels of communications.
Aerco Ltd are currently looking into entering the Fibre Optic world, and hope to be making announcements in the near future, so, if you have any requirements regarding Fibre, give us a call. We shall endeavour to treat them with the level of professionalism you have come to expect of us.
And the museum? Start with a visit to their website at www.telegraphmuseum.org and as for the world, it may be getting smaller, but I wouldn’t want the job of painting it!
To learn more cable and wire services and products at Aerco, please message us or call us on 01403 260206.