Skip PBS navigation bar, and jump to content.
Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

The Film & More
Special Features
Online Poll
Science Expo 1870
Interview Excerpts
Cable Jokes!

People & Events
Teacher's Guide

spacer above content
Cable Jokes!

men with cable In August 1866, under the title "Cable-Ends," Harper's Weekly published jokes about the nation's newest technological wonder, the transatlantic cable. Tell these jokes to your friends, and yuk it up, mid-19th century style!

Or, for a more scientific appraisal of the Cable, read an 1868 article about cable experiments.

Q: Why is a happy husband like the Atlantic Cable?

A: Because he is spliced to his Heart's Content.

(Don't get it? A little geography is in order. The town at the cable's western terminus, on Newfoundland's Trinity Bay, was named Heart's Content.)

'Tis said the present success of the Ocean Telegraph was in the fact that the directors never lost sight of the "great end" of their undertaking from the start.

The greatest "wire-puller" of modern times -- Cyrus W. Field.

(A wire-puller is like a string-puller, someone who uses secret influence to get what he wants.)

On the arrival of the Great Eastern at Newfoundland the sailors unanimously declared that the whole thing was "played out," and during the passage they held an indignation meeting, at which loud shouts of "Down with the Cable!" were heard.

Shall we call Mr. Field an aristocrat because he is so very proud of his "connections?"

"Dear me," said Mrs. Grandy, "and so they have put telegraph poles all the way 'cross the ocean! I shouldn't wonder if they tried a pontoon bridge next."

page created on 11.30.04
Site Navigation

Special Features: Online Poll | Science Expo 1870 | Interview Excerpts
Cable Jokes!

The Great Transatlantic Cable Home | The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline
Gallery | People & Events | Teacher's Guide

American Experience | Feedback | Search | Shop | Subscribe | Web Credits

© New content 1997-2004 PBS Online / WGBH

The Great Transatlantic Cable American Experience

Exclusive Corporate Funding is provided by: