Cryptologic Bytes

"On This Date in History" Calendar

1866: First use of transatlantic telegraph cable.

Saturday, July 27, 2024

27 July 1866: The first use of transatlantic telegraphic cable generated an upsurge in commercial cryptography. Initially messages on the 1858 cable were sent by an operator in Morse code. However, the 1866 cable could transmit at eight words a minute–80 times faster than the 1858 cable.

The "Great Eastern" was the name of the cable-laying ship that laid the successful cable in 1866. Historians have said the endeavor was the Victorian equivalent of the Apollo space program.

The first message was received in Newfoundland almost immediately but there was still a gap in the link to the mainland of North America and messages from London to New York still took 24 hours because of this gap. However, this did not concern people at the time who were amazed at the rapid news that was now possible.


Check out the Cryptologic Bytes Archives for a wide variety of articles on all topics related to cryptology, codes and ciphers, related publications, Museums, and more.