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Transatlantic Cable Investigating Failure

The public reacted to the failure of the transatlantic cable in 1858 with suspicion. Why did the cable stop working? Was the whole venture a fraud? After a second cable failure in Asia, the British Board of Trade assembled a committee of experts to find out what had gone wrong on both projects. It was the first time scientists gathered to dissect and analyze major technical failures.

The group took two years to investigate, and concluded that the idea of submarine telegraphy was scientifically sound. Further, it drafted recommendations for designing, manufacturing, testing, and reporting on cable equipment.

The Great Transatlantic Cable American Experience PBS