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Communications Under the SeasThe Evolving Cable Network and Its Implications$
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Bernard Finn and Daqing Yang

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012867

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012867.001.0001

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Submarine Telegraphy: A Study in Technical Stagnation

Submarine Telegraphy: A Study in Technical Stagnation

Chapter:
(p.9) 2 Submarine Telegraphy: A Study in Technical Stagnation
Source:
Communications Under the Seas
Author(s):

Bernard Finn

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012867.003.0014

This chapter focuses on the innovation of submarine telegraphy, and discusses the history of the development of underwater cables, first proposed by John and Jacob Brett in 1845, and how they differed considerably from landlines. The Brett brothers were able to develop Permalloy, an iron–nickel magnetic material that made up the wrappings of the core of the cable to provide “inductive loading.” Manufacturing this new innovation was accompanied by some difficulties, as witnessed by Charles Bright. It is suggested that the process through which underwater cables were manufactured and developed allowed the cable industry to demonstrate a certain entrepreneurial exuberance that pushed the industry towards the edge of what was technically feasible.

Keywords:   submarine telegraphy, John Brett, Jacob Brett, Brett brothers, underwater cables, Permalloy, inductive loading, Charles Bright

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