Publisher Information: 1876.
Gibson, Henry H. Something about telegraph cables. A paper read before the Hornsea Mutual Improvement Society. Autograph manuscript signed. N.p., 1876 (date supplied in a different hand). ff., stapled at the top. 318 x 203 mm. Right margins a little frayed.
Gibson was a member of the shipbuilding family that founded the firm of Edward Gibson & Son in Hull, Yorkshire; he was also vice president of the Mutual Improvement Society in Hornsea, a town on the Yorkshire seacoast connected to Hull by rail. His manuscript, the text of a lecture he delivered before the Society in 1876, includes his firsthand account of the laying of the 1873 Atlantic cable between Valentia, Ireland and Heart's Content, Newfoundland, undertaken by the Anglo American Telegraph Company seven years after the first successful Atlantic cable was laid in 1866. The 1873 Atlantic cable, like the 1866 and unsuccessful 1865 cables, was laid by the Great Eastern, accompanied on this trip by the companion vessels Hibernia, Edinburgh and Robert Lowe. Gibson's manuscript describes the preparations made prior to departure, the features of the Great Eastern, the various tasks involved in cable laying (among them being numerous "calculations . . . made every few minutes" and tabulated every half hour), the crossing, and the ship's arrival at Heart's Content. Evidence in the manuscript suggests that Gibson was heavily involved in submarine cable laying; e.g. in the raising of the Malta-Alexandria cable (laid in 1868).
Gibson's lecture begins with a brief history of telegraphy, from signal beacons and semaphores to the electric telegraph, which he regards as one of the wonders of the age: "New speeds along minute wires buried in the earth or sunk in the ocean, or stretched on poles in the air, telling of the fall of empires or the flight of kings, the price of stocks; of births and bankruptcies; of arrivals and accidents; of elopements and wrecks; of crops, or robberies, of murders and of markets; friends hundreds of miles apart may converse with one another as if in the same apartment." He describes the development of the electric telegraph from the experiments of the Bishop of Llandaff in 1784 to the technological innovations of his own day, paying special attention to the Atlantic Cable and its troubled history. He refers several times to information given to him by participants in earlier submarine cable ventures; e.g. Willoughby Smith, who gave Gibson a firsthand account of the laying of the Dover-Calais cable in 1850.Book Id: 40141