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Cable laying (bibliography)


Author Title Description
ANDERSEN, Eva Wistoff, FRILANDER, Søren, & GØRICKE, Jan Hybertz: Den store søslange (The Great Sea-Serpent) - Pictures from the infancy of telegraphy. Available from the Post & Tele Museum. Copenhagen, Denmark: Post & Tele Museum, 2004. 90 pp. Danish and English text.
Written to accompany the web-exhibition, The Great Sea-Serpent traces the history of 150 years of telegraphic communications within Denmark, and in the wider context of worldwide links.
ANDERSEN, Sir James Statistics of Telegraphy London: Waterlow & Sons, 1872. 121pp. Includes diagrams of cables from many manufacturers of the period.
Anon. An Act to incorporate and regulate the Atlantic Telegraph Company, and to enable the Company to establish and work Telegraphs between Great Britain, Ireland and Newfoundland and for other Purposes.
Summary of the Act.
London: 27 July 1857; folio, I6 pp. An issue of the original grant. The full text of the Act was reprinted in The Reports of the Committees of the Senate of the United States, 1858. The report of the Committee on the Judiciary, dated 9 June 1858, was in response to a memorial of the Magnetic Telegraph Company requesting the passage of a law to prohibit the establishment of the Atlantic Telegraph Company in the United States, and the response to this by the A.T. Company.
Anon. Report of the Joint Committee Appointed by the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade and the Atlantic Telegraph Company to Inquire into the Construction of Submarine Telegraph Cables; together with the Minutes of Evidence and Appendix.
Full text at Google Books.
London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1861. Folio; 44, 520 pp.; plates. Testimony of cable and telegraph experts during Dec. 1859 to Sept. 1860. The list of witnesses is a who's who of the cable industry, and the volume contains much primary source material on the early cable laying attempts.
The author have tabulated the Index to Evidence, which is a useful guide to the main content of the Report.
Anon. The Atlantic Telegraph: Its History, From the Commencement of the Undertaking in 1854, to the Return of the Great Eastern in 1865 First edition. London: Bacon & Co, 1865. 117 pp, 2 maps, foldout diagram of Great Eastern, four tipped-in photographs. Written at the conclusion of the unsuccessful expedition of 1865.
A third edition after the cable was successfully laid and the 1865 cable retrieved and completed.
AVERY, John G. The Cable Ships of Turnchapel. Southampton, Beech Books 2004, 34pp. A short history of the cableships based at Turnchapel, Plymouth.
BAINES, G.M. Beginner's Manual of Submarine Cable Testing and Working New York: The Electrician Printing & Publishing Co., 1903. 217pp.
Image courtesy of Jim Kreuzer
BALDWIN, Maurice S.

A Break in the Ocean Cable

Image courtesy of Jim Kreuzer

Montreal: Dawson Brothers, 1877. 41 pp.
From a contemporary review: "Canon Baldwin, Rector of the Parish of Montreal, and Canon of the Cathedral. in this clear and impressive discourse, beautifully works out the illustration of human sin resembling a break in the cable of connection between earth and heaven, and the work of Christ
viewed as a rejoining of the cable."
BELL, James & WILSON, S. Submarine Telegraphy: and other papers London: "Electricity", 1895. 63pp. A practical book for practical men.
Info & image courtesy of Jim Kreuzer.
BEAUCHAMP, Ken History of Telegraphy London: Institution of Electrical Engineers, 2001. 413pp.
From mechanical systems through landline and submarine cables to wireless telegraphy. An excellent overview with much historical material and a detailed bibliography for each chapter.
BLACK, Robert M. The History of Electric Wires and Cables London: Peter Peregrinus Ltd., 1983. Historical development of both communications and power cables.
BLAKE-COLEMAN, B.C. Copper Wire and Electrical Conductors - The Shaping of a Technology Chur, Switzerland: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1992. 284 pp. A comprehensive history of copper wire in its role as a conductor, with much information on its use in submarine telegraphy. Includes an extensive bibliography.
BLUNDELL, J. Wagstaff Manual of Submarine Telegraph Companies First edition: London: Bixon and Arnold, 1871. 64pp. Second edition: London: Published by the Author, 1872. 115pp.
Financial and technical details of the companies.
BODIE, James Observations on Telegraphic Cables Devonport: (ca. 1858). 9 pp. A proposal for yarn-covered cable by one who served in the first expedition.
BRANAGAN, J.G. The Story of the Bass Strait Submarine Telegraph Cable 1859-1967 Launceston, Tasmania: Regal Publications, 1987. 44 pp. The history of the first submarine cable in the southern hemisphere.
BRETON, Philippe, and De ROCHAS, Alphonse B. Théorie Mécanique des Télégraphes Sous-Marins Paris: Dalmont et Dunod, 1859. 4, 72 pp., plates.
BRETT, John W.

On the origin and progress of the oceanic electric telegraph. with a few facts, and opinions of the press

British Museum via Google Books

Copies at the King's College Library have this addition to the title:
": to be extended with copies of charts, soundings, and scientific detail."

London, W.S. Johnson, 1858. 104 pp. A documentation of events from 1845 to 1858.
Note: The British Museum copy has no contents section and totals only 97 pages, including the title page and preface.
BRETT, John W.

[On] The origin & progress of Brett's submarine oceanic & subterranean electric telegraph. With a few brief facts, and [the] opinions of the press.

e-rara: ETH-Bibliothek Zürich

London: 1858. 175 pp. Expanded edition of the book above. Two copies viewed each have a manuscript title page, each with slightly different wording, and no publisher's imprint.
BRIGGS, Charles F., and MAVERICK, Augustus

The Story of the Telegraph and a History of the Great Atlantic Cable

Available from

New York: Rudd & Carleton.1858. 255 pp. A clear, contemporary narrative reproducing important records.
BRIGHT, Charles Imperial Telegraphic Communication London: P.S. King & Son, 1911. 212 pp. Much information on the All-British globe-circling telegraph network.
BRIGHT, Charles

Submarine Telegraphs, Their History, Construction and Working.
Full text at Google Books

London: Crosby Lockwood, 1898. 4to, 38. 744 pp.. plates. An elaborate, technical exposition by the son of Charles T. Bright.
Reprinted in 1974 by Arno Press.
BRIGHT, Charles The Story of the Atlantic Cable New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1903. 222 pp. A clear account condensed from the above.
BRIGHT, Charles Submarine Telegraphy London: 1907; 31 pp. A historical review.
BRIGHT, Edward B. The Electric Telegraph by Dr. Lardner London: 1867; 10, 272 pp., 140 figs.
BRINE, Capt. Frederic Map of Valentia and the Atlantic Telegraph London: 1859. Folio. Shows the positions of ships and cables of 1857, 1858.
BROWN, Frank .J. The Cable & Wireless Communications of the World London: Pitman, 1927 (first edition, 148pp), 1930 (second edition, 153pp).
Mostly on cables, includes photographs of cable laying and repair.
CAMERON, Duncan H. Submarine Telegraphy Scranton: International Textbook Company, c.1927. 83 pp, diagrams. Bluebooks 492.
CASPER, Louis Telephone and Telegraph Cables Scranton: International Textbook Company, 1928. 51 + 67 pp. Has a short but detailed section (with diagrams) on the 1921 Key West to Havana telephone cables, and a note on the New York to Azores link, the first permalloy cable placed in service.
van CHOATE, S.F. Ocean Telegraphing
Cambridge, (Massachusetts): Riverside Press, 1865. 41 pp. By a proponent of a transatlantic route via Bermuda.
CLARK, Latimer Experimental Investigation of the Laws which Govern the Propagation of the Electric Current in Long Submarine Telegraph Cables London: 1861; 50 pp., folio, plates. Evidence before the Joint Committee of the Government and the Atlantic Telegraph Company.
CLARKE, A. C. Voice Across the Sea New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958. 15, 208 pp. An account of submarine telegraph and telephone lines.
Harper & Row: 1974, second edition, updated and revised.
CLARKE, A.C. How the World Was One: Beyond the Global Village New York: Bantam Books, 1992. 296 pp. A further updating of Voice Across the Sea, including sections on satellites and fiber optic cables.
Clarkson Research Services Limited Cable Lay & Maintenance Vessels of the World Clarkson Research Services Limited, 2006, 88 pp, A4 softcover.
CLAYTON, Howard Atlantic Bridgehead London: The Garnstone Press, 1968.192 pp. Includes a 75-page section on the Atlantic Cable.
COATES, Vary T. and FINN, Bernard A Retrospective Technology Assessment: Submarine Telegraphy San Francisco: San Francisco Press, Inc., 1979. A historical case study of the Atlantic cable of 1866, and its consequences on society.
COOKSON, Gillian The Cable: The Wire That Changed The World Stroud: Tempus Publishing, 2003. 160 pp. + 32 pp. color plates. An excellent new account of the cable story.
CORNELL, Alonzo B. History of the Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Schenectady: 1894. 24 pp. A pamphlet of the paper presented by Cornell at Union College on Jan 19, 1894.
CROUCH, Archer P. On a Surf-bound Coast:
or, Cable-Laying in the African Tropics
London: Sampson Low, 1887. 338pp + 32pp catalog.
An account of three months on a cable laying ship. Ship and company names have been changed by the author, but history shows that the company was the West African Telegraph Company, promoted by the India Rubber, Gutta Percha, and Telegraph Works Company. The book describes the laying of cable from Bathurst in Portuguese Guinea to Loanda in 1885-6. The cableships were Dacia, Silvertown, and Buccaneer.
The author also wrote a sequel, scanned (PDF) copy is available.
The Gulf of Guinea Islands' Biodiversity Network has more information on Crouch and his books.
D'ALIGNY, H. F.Q. Outline of the History of the Atlantic Cables Washington, Government Printing Office, 1868. 13 pp. A review by the U.S. Commissioner to the Paris Universal Exposition of 1867.
DAVIS, L.J. Fleet Fire: Thomas Edison and the Pioneers of the Electric Revolution New York: Arcade Publishing, 2003. 350pp. A comprehensive and entertaining history of electricity, including the stories of Morse and Field and the Atlantic Cable.
DE GIULI, Italo Submarine Telegraphy - A Practical Manual London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd., 1932.
DIBNER, Bern The Atlantic Cable Norwalk: Burndy Library, 1959. An excellent overview of the story of the Atlantic Cable.
View the entire text of the book on line at the Smithsonian Institution website.
DODD, George Railways, Steamers and Telegraphs London: W. & R. Chambers, 1867. 7, 326 pp. A concise resume of the inter-woven story.
Du MONCEL, Th. Notice sur le Cable Transatlantique Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1869. 46 pp., 25 figs. The cables' electrical characteristics.
DWYER, John B. To Wire theWorld
Perry M. Collins and the North Pacific Telegraph Expedition
Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2001. 183pp. From the author's preface: "My goal was to tell the story of this nineteenth-century, multicountry, trans-Pacific adventure in its entirety, with a primary focus on first-hand accounts of experiences in British Columbia, Russian America, Siberia, and at sea, by those who participated in exploring, surveying, and building Western Union's North Pacific telegraph line.
ELWOOD, Tony Ships of the Line: A History of Cableships
London, British Telecomms PLC, 1986, 32 pp. Written to accompany an exhibition at the Telecom Technology Showcase, London, January 15th - May 30th 1986.
FIELD, Cyrus W. The Atlantic Telegraph London: 1856. 20 pp. The original prospectus.
FIELD, Cyrus W. Prospects of the Atlantic Telegraph New York: 1862. 15 pp. A paper read before the American Geographical and Statistical Society.
FIELD, Cyrus W. The Atlantic Cable Projectors 1854-1895 New York: Press of the Chamber of Commerce, 1895. 35 pp. A report of the session of May 23d, 1895, in which the painting by Daniel Huntington was presented to the Chamber of Commerce.
FIELD, Henry M. History of the Atlantic Telegraph New York: Charles Scribner & Co., 1866 (367 pp.); 1867, (438 pp.); 1869, (437 pp.). The early editions.
FIELD, Henry M.

The Story of the Atlantic Telegraph

Text of the 1898 reprint of the 1892 edition at Gutenberg Project

London: Scribners, 1892, also 1893. 9, 415 pp., portrait, figures. This volume provided the main source of the data used in Dibner's monograph; it is a revised version of the author's History of the Atlantic Telegraph, above.

FINN, Bernard Submarine Telegraphy: The Grand Victorian Technology
London, HMSO (Science Museum), 1973, 48 pp.
FORESTIER-WALKER, E.R. A History of the Wire Rope Industry of Great Britain Federation of Wire Rope Manufacturers of Great Britain, 1952. 162 pp.
Some useful background material on the wire rope companies which became the first manufacturers of submarine cables. Click here to read my article on this topic.
See also these books:
200 Years of Richard Johnson & Nephew
The Iron Masters of Penns

Thomas Bolton & Sons
in the Company Histories section below
GARNHAM, Capt. S. A. and HADFIELD, Robert L. The Submarine Cable: The Story of the Submarine Telegraph Cable from its Invention down to Modern Times London: Sampson, Low, Marston & Co. Ltd., ca. 1934. 12, 242 pp.; photos and figs. Cable history, cable ships, cable laying and repair. 16 pages of photographs and illustrations.
GARRATT, G. R. M. One Hundred Years of Submarine Cables London: Science Museum, 1950. 8, 60 pp.
GISBORNE, F.N. Automatic and Multiplex Telegraphy Trans. Royal Soc. of Canada, 1891. 4to.; 5 pp., plate. By the man who started it all.
Victoria University, Toronto, has the Gisborne Archive
GOLDSMID, Sir Frederick John Telegraph and Travel: A Narrative of the Formation and Development of Telegraphic Communication Between England and India, Under the Orders of Her Majesty's Government, with Incidental Notices of the Countries Traversed by the Lines London, Macmillan, 1874. 673 pp. including 3 maps, 2 folding, errata slip, 60pp. publishers' catalogue at end.
GORDON, John Steele A Thread Across the Ocean New York: Walker, 2002. 240pp. A new account of the early cable history.
No author listed Great North Atlantic Telegraph Route London: 1866. 48 pp. A prospectus favoring the Iceland, Greenland route.

. Historical view of the art of electro-magnetic telegraphing in connection with the telegraph cable, and its insulation by gutta percha.

Available from

Philadelphia: King & Baird, 1867. 40pp.
An argument addressed to the U.S. Senate Committee on patents, etc., by George Griscom. In answer to the arguments filed on behalf of G.B. Simpson's claims. A long-running dispute on US cable insulation patent claims.

Le Meraviglie del Mondo. Il Sistema Internazionale delle Comunicazioni nell'Ottocento
[The wonders of the world. The international system of communications in the nineteenth century]

Available from Istituto di Studi Storici Postali

Italian language history of the beginnings of worldwide communications. The author describes how three major developments led to the rise of a global economy by the end of the 19th century: the transport of mail on steamboats, the cutting of the Suez Canal, and submarine telegraphy.
HAIGH, K.R. Cableships and Submarine Cables

First edition cover image

Second edition cover image

London: Adlard Coles, 1968. 416 pp. A historical survey of cable ships and cable companies, from the 1840s to the 1960s.
Second edition, London: Standard Telephones & Cables Limited, 1978. 454pp. Some corrections to the first edition, and updated through 1977.
HARCOURT, Edgar Taming the tyrant: The first one hundred years of Australia's international communication services

Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1987. xv, 405 p., ill., map, ports.
Much of the first half of the book (175 pages) deals with the establishment of landline and cable services - a very detailed history.

HARRIS, Robert Dalton and DeBLOIS, Diane An Atlantic Telegraph: The Transcendental Cable Schoharie, NY: The Ephemera Society of America, Inc., 1994. 80 pp., quarto.
HEARN, Chester G.

Circuits in the Sea: The Men, the Ships, and the Atlantic Cable.

Westport, Praeger Publishers 2004, 280pp.
A detailed chronology of the Atlantic cable history with extensive notes and bibliography.
See full review.
HIGGINSON, Francis, Lieut. R.N.

Laying down the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable, and Sounding Ocean Depths

British Museum via Google Books

London, Partridge & Co., 1857. 39 pp.
A series of letters sent by the author in 1857 to "the several authorities engaged in this great undertaking" (the Atlantic Telegraph Company), giving his views on taking soundings at great deptsh. Only Higginson's size of the correspondence is included.
The following entry appears to be a much-expanded version of this booklet.

HIGGINSON, Francis, Lieutenant R.N.

The ocean, its unfathomable depths and natural phenomena: comprising authentic narratives and strange reminiscences of enterprise, delusion, and delinquency: with the voyage and discoveries of Her Majesty's Ship "Cyclops".
British Museum via Google Books

London, Edward Stanford, 1857, 202 pp.
Half-title: "The stirring narrative of an attempt at laying down a transatlantic telegraph cable.".
HMS Cyclops made soundings for the 1857 Atlantic cable expedition under Lieutenant-Commander Joseph Dayman. Higginson commented from the shore on the events of the 1857 cable expedition, and is critical of the Atlantic Telegraph Company throughout the book.

HOSKIAER, Capt. V. A Guide for the Electric Testing of Telegraph Cables London: E. & F.N. Spon, 1873. 54pp, 10 figures. Second edition 1879. 72 pp, 11 figures. Testing during fabrication, installation, and in fault. The author was a member of the Royal Danish Engineers.
HOSKIAER, Capt. V. Laying and Repairing of Electric Telegraph Cable London: Spon, 1878. 8, 71 pp.
HOYT, Franklin Kaye The French Atlantic Cable 1869 Duxbury: 1982. 25 pp.. Published by the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society and may be ordered through the Society's website.
ITU Nomenclature des câbles formant le réseau sous-marin du globe. Dressée d'après des documents officiels par le Bureau international de l'Union télégraphique.
Berne: Bureau international de l'Union télégraphique (ITU), 1910. 68 pp. 10th edition. The "Berne List". Nomenclature of the cables forming the underwater network of the globe. Drawn up according to official documents by the International Telegraphic Union. A list of the world's submarine cables.
Image courtesy of Allan Green.
JENKIN, Fleeming Report on Electrical Instruments (London: 1862): 54 pp. The instruments at the International Exhibition of 1862.
JOHNSON, George, Ed. The All Red Line - The Annals and Aims of The Pacific Cable Project Ottawa: James Hope & Sons, 1903. 486 pp.
KIEVE, Jeffrey.L. Electric Telegraph - A Social and Economic History Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1973. A history of the British telegraph industry, with a chapter on the Atlantic cable.
No author listed The Landing of the French Atlantic Cable at Duxbury, Mass., July, 1869

The book has an interesting inscription on the endpaper: "Saml. Lossing, Duxbury. I was present at the landing of the Cable and assisted in taking it on shore. S. Lossing.

Boston: Alfred Mudge & Son, Printers, 1869. 57 pp., 6 tipped in photographs.

Images courtesy of the Ken Rosen Image Archive

LISTER, Raymond Private Telegraph Companies of Great Britain and Their Stamps Cambridge: The Golden Head Press Ltd., 1961. 58pp. Includes a useful history of each company, together with details of the stamps.
McCARTHY, Michael, GALGAY, Frank, OKEEFE, Jack The Voice of Generations. A History of Communications in Newfoundland St. John's: Robinson-Blackmore, 1994. A history from the first telegraph line to the present time.
MACOMBER, George S. Modern Land And Submarine Telegraphy Chicago: American Technical Society, 1914. 89 pp. 59 illus. A brief up-to-date treatise on the electric telegraph, including the development of modern methods and equipment.

Detailed Report of the Proceedings Had in Commemoration of the Successful Laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable

Reprint available from

New York: Edmund Jones, 1863. 4, 282 pp. A detailed account of the 1858 New York celebration.

[MANN, Robert. J].

The Atlantic Telegraph: A History of Preliminary Experimental Proceedings and a Descriptive Account of the Present State and Prospects of the Undertaking

Click here for title page image

Full text at Google Books

Advertisement for the book published in the Illustrated London News for several weeks beginning 15 August 1857.

London: Jarrold and Sons, July 1857. 4, 70 pp. A prospectus of the experiments and plans of the company, published "by order of the Directors"
This copy has the bookplate of Charles Wilkes, Commander of the United States Exploring Expedition 1838-42) and is inscribed to him by Captain William Hudson. Hudson was commanding officer of USS Peacock under Wilkes, and of USS Niagara during the 1857-58 Atlantic cable expeditions.

Wildman Whitehouse, who was believed by many at the time to have been the authorof this pamphlet, wrote in an 1879 letter about it: “the details of which were chiefly furnished by me though written by another hand (Dr Mann) at the desire of the Co.”

No author listed Manual No. 3. Technical Equipment of the Signal Corps Washington: Government Printing Office, 1917.
MARCOARTU, Arturo de Universal Telegraphic Enterprise. Telegraphic Submarine Lines between Europe and America, and the Atlantic and Pacific New York: 1863; 55 pp.; map. A proposal to girdle the globe with cables.
MARLAND, E.A. Early Electrical Communication London: Abelard-Schuman Ltd, 1964. A history of electrical communication from the invention of the telegraph through the telephone, with a good section on submarine telegraphy.
MAVER Jr., William American Telegraphy & Encyclopedia of the Telegraph New York: Maver Publishing Company, 1912. 563 pp. Reprinted 1997 by Lindsay Publications Inc. Perhaps the best single book on telegraphy in general; includes a chapter on submarine telegraphy.
MERRETT, John Three Miles Deep London: Hamish Hamilton, 1958. 191 pp.; 9 illustrations. The story of the transatlantic cables by a cable-man who spent 23 years in transatlantic telegraphy.
MIDDLEMISS, Norman L. Cableships Gateshead, England: Shield, 2000, 160 pp. Profile drawings and short descriptions of all of them to that point
MOLL, O Atlantic Telegraph Cables (Illustrated)

London, Waterlow and Sons, 1896. 24 pp.
A short illustrated history of the early Atlantic cables.

MOLL, O Die Untersee-Kabel in Wort und Bild

Title page image

Cologne, Germany: Westdeutscher Schriftenverein, 1904.
Images courtesy of Bob Voss.
MOYER, Claire B. Ocean Cable Lore New York: Heath Cote Publishing Co., 1974. 58pp. A brief survey of current cable-laying procedures, with many illustrations.
MULLALY, John A Trip to Newfoundland: Its Scenery and Fisheries: With an Account of the Laying of the Submarine Telegraph Cable

Detail of cover
Title page

New York: T.W. Strong, 1855. 108pp. The first book on what would become the Atlantic Cable project.

The Laying of the Cable, or the Ocean Telegraph

Reprint available from

New York: D. Appleton, 1858. 329 pp. A detailed report of the 1857 and 1858 cables by the correspondent of the New York Herald, on board the Niagara.
NAIR, C.N.N. The Story of India's Overseas Communications Bombay: Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd., 1988. 199 pp. A general historical survey. with a small amount of information on cables.
NEERING, Rosemary Continental Dash - The Russian-American Telegraph Ganges, British Columbia: Horsdal & Schubart, 1989. xii + 233 pp. The history of the unsuccessful competitor to the Atlantic cable.

Facts and Observations Relating to the Invention of the Submarine Cable

(click on title to see full text)

London: E & F.N. Spon, 1882. 8 pp. A case for priority in the use of gutta-percha covered cable in the Dover-Calais, 1851 line.
See also On Submarine Electric Telegraphs, by F.R. Window, below.
OSLIN, George P. The Story of Telecommunications. Macon: Mercer University Press, 1992. 507 pp. Oslin, (1899-1996), was involved in telecommunications for many years, and personally spoke to Thomas Edison, to Martin Cahoon (who was on the Great Eastern's Atlantic Cable laying voyage), to Morse's grand-daughter, and many others. An excellent overview of the field, currently available in paperback.
PARKINSON, J.C. The Ocean Telegraph to India: A Narrative and a Diary

Engravings of Daniel Gooch and John Pender

Edinburgh & London: William Blackwood, 1870. 328pp. An account of the Great Eastern's laying of the cable from Bombay to Aden.
PRESCOTT, George B. History, Theory and Practice of the Electric Telegraph Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1866. 508 pp. Reprinted 1972 by Frank Jones, available from Artifax Books. Another excellent single-volume reference to telegraphy, with two chapters on submarine cables.
RONALDS, Sir Francis Catalogue of Books and Papers Relating to Electricity, Magnetism, the Electric Telegraph, &c. including the Ronalds Library

Full text at Google Books

London: E. & F.N. Spon, 1880. 564 pp.
The catalogue contains over 13000 entries, comprising not only the books, pamphlets, and other publications in the Ronalds Library, but also the titles of all other works on the subject of Electricity, Magnetism, &c. which came to the notice of the compiler.
Sir Francis Ronalds died in 1873, and the Ronalds Library,which comprises about 2000 volumes and 4000 pamphlets on electricity and magnetism, was transferred in 1876 to the Society of Telegraph Engineers and Electricians (later the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and now the Institution of Engineering and Technology).
ROWETT, W. The Ocean Telegraph Cable: Its Construction, the Regulation of its Specific Gravity, and Submersion Explained

London: Sampson Low, Son & Marston, 1865. 125 pp.. plates. The case for hemp cable covering.

Image courtesy of Bob Voss

RUNGE, Peter K. and TRISCHITTA, Patrick R., Eds. Undersea Lightwave Communications New York: IEEE Press, 1986. 621 pp. An early book on fiber optic submarine cable technology. The editors have compiled 43 technical articles on all aspects of undersea fiber optic cables.
RUSSEL, Major Edgar Manual No. 4. Handbook of Submarine Cables of the U.S. Signal Corps Washington: Government Printing Office, 1905.
RUSSEL, Florence Kimball

A Woman's Journey through the Philippines: On a Cable Ship that Linked Together the Strange Lands Seen en Route

Images of the Map

Boston: L.C. Page & Company, 1907. 270 pp. Folding map, 40 plates. The c. 1902 cable-laying voyage of the US Army's cableship Burnside, by the wife of Signal Corps Major Edgar Russel (see his book above). The book is largely a travelogue of the Philippine Islands, but contains some interesting descriptions of cable-laying.
From the introduction: "Life on a cable-ship would be a lotus-eating dream were it not for the cable."
RUSSELL, W.H. The Atlantic Telegraph London: Day & Son, (1865). 4to; 4, 117 pp. With 26 magnificent lithographs. One of the prime books, especially in describing the 1865 expedition.
SABINE, Robert The Electric Telegraph London: Virtue Brothers & Co., 1867. 12mo., 428 pp. The electrical equipment.
SABINE, Robert The History and Progress of the Electric Telegraph with Descriptions of some of the Apparatus

London: Virtue & Co., 1869, 14, 280 pp. Second edition of the above book, "with additions".
Lockwood & Co., 1872, 280 pp. Third edition

SALVADOR, René Cabliers
(France), Les Editions Chourgnoux, 1991. 32 x 27 cm, 175 pp. A large format book on the French cable industry, with text in French and English and photographs by Jean-Marie Chourgnoux and Patrick Godiniaux
(SAWARD, George) Deep Sea Telegraphs; Their Past History and Future Progress
being A Series of Articles Recently Published in the “Mechanics’ Magazine” and now Revised and Enlarged by the Author.
London: 1861; 48 pp. A review by the Secretary to the Atlantic Telegraph Company, describing the failings of earlier cables and their promoters and proposing methods of improvement.
Click on the title for the full text.
SAWARD, George

The Trans-Atlantic Submarine Telegraph: A Brief Narrative of the Principal Incidents in the History of the Atlantic Telegraph Company. Compiled from Authentic and Official Documents by the Late George Saward Secretary to the Company

Full text available at the link above

London: Printed for private circulation, 1878; 4, 80 pp. A keen and factual account.

SCHELLEN, Dr. Thomas Joseph Heinrich Das Atlantische Kabel (The Atlantic Cable: its Manufacture, Laying, and Working)
Braunschweig, Germany: 1867. 168 pp., 60 illustrations.
Book image courtesy of Jim Kreuzer
SCHENCK, Howard H. The World's Submarine Telephone Cable Systems
(OT Contractor Report 75-2)
Washington, Government Printing Office: 1975. 291 pp. A survey of repeatered submarine telephone cables in service as of 1974, created for the US Department of Commerce, Office of Telecommunication.
First edition. A second edition was published in 1980, and a third in 1990.
SCHREINER, George Abel Cables And Wireless and Their Role in the Foreign Relations of the United States Boston: Stratford Co, 1924. 269 pp. Two folding maps.
The book is concerned mostly with policy and politics, but the appendices give useful details of the world cable industry, with 35 pages on cables and companies.
SCOTT, R. Bruce Gentlemen on Imperial Service Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1994. 131 pp. A Story of the Trans-Pacific Telecommunications Cable, told in their own words by those who served.
SELWYN, Capt. J.H. Explanation of the Floating Cylinders for Laying Telegraphic Submarine Cables London: T. Piper, c. 1860. 18pp.
Info & image courtesy of Jim Kreuzer.
SHAFFNER, Taliaferro P. Memorial of Tal. P. Shaffner of Kentucky, praying for an amendment of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1857, entitled "An act to expedite telegraphic communication for the uses of the government in its foreign intercourse," so that the subsidy granted by the said act shall be general in its application to all Atlantic ocean telegraph lines. Washington, DC: 35th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Mis. Doc No. 263, 1858. 46 pp. disbound. Shaffner planned a northern overland/submarine telegraph route in competition to Field's proposal, and was attempting to get the US government to fund it.
SHAFFNER, Taliaferro Preston. The Telegraph Manual: A Complete History and Description of the Semaphoric, Electric and Magnetic Telegraphs of Europe, Asia, Africa and America, Ancient and Modern. New York: Pudney & Russell, 1859; 851 pp., portraits. A technical manual by the proponent of the Northern telegraph route. Contains a good overview of the state of submarine telegraphy at the time of publication.
SHIERS, George Bibliography of the History of Electronics Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1972. 323 pp.
The original version of the volume following.
STERLING, Christopher H. and SHIERS, George History of Telecommunications Technology - An Annotated Bibliography

Available from

Lanham, MD and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2000. xii + 333 pp.
An essential work for the collector or researcher of communications history.
Christopher Sterling has updated and more tightly focused George Shiers' pioneering 1972 bibliography of the communications field.
The book has a comprehensive listing of submarine telegraphy source material from 1855 through today - technical books, company histories, biographies, magazine articles, websites. Other sections of the book include telephony, electromagnetic waves, radio, electron tubes, television, and newer media.
Highly recommended.
SHIMURA, Seiichi., Ed. International Submarine Cable Systems Tokyo: KDD Engineering and Consulting, Inc., 1984. 509pp. A text on modern submarine cable systems.
SIEMENS, C. William The Scientific Works of C. William Siemens.
Partial table of contents
London: John Murray, 1869, two volumes. Vol. II contains several papers on telegraphy and cables
SIMONTON, J. W., and FIELD, Cyrus W. Atlantic Cable Mismanagement New York: 1871. 24 pp. About favoritism in scheduling messages.
SMITH, Willoughby

A Résumé of the Earlier Days of Electric Telegraphy

Full text at Google Books

London: 1881. 56 pp. In English and French, by a participant of the 1865 and 1866 expeditions.
Originally presented as a paper at the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Society of Telegraph Engineers, held on Thursday, September 22nd, at 8.30 p.m., in the Electrical Exhibition, Palais de l'Industrie, Paris.
SMITH, Willoughby The Rise and Extension of Submarine Telegraphy.
Full text at Google Books.
London: J.S. Virtue & Co., 1891. 4to.; 13, 390 pp., plates. Reprinted New York, 1974, Arno Press.
SOLOMON, Louis Voiceway to the Orient New York: McGraw Hill, 1964. 64pp. The laying of the first US - Japan Telephone Cable. Some good photographs of cable-laying equipment, and a prescient quote from 1964: "Some day, in the as yet inestimable future, a laser beam may simultaneously transmit more messages than all existing wires and radio waves put together".
STEPHENS, J.H., Ed. Text Book on Telegraph Cable Engineering, Volume II: Construction and Maintenance of Submarine Cables and Land Lines London: Eastern Associated Telegraph Companies, 1927. 812 pp. Includes chapters on cable manufacture, laying, and repairing.
SUTTON, Richard (Reporter) The Arguments in Favor of the International Submarine Telegraph in the Senate of the United States Washington: Printed at the Congressional Globe Office, 1857. 16pp.
Info and image courtesy of Jim Kreuzer.
TARRANT, D.R. Atlantic Sentinel. Newfoundland's Role in Transatlantic Cable St. John's, Newfoundland: Flanker Press, 1999. The history of submarine cable communications in Newfoundland from 1856 to the present.
THOMSON, William Atlantic Telegraph Cable - The Forces Concerned in the Laying and Lifting of Deep-sea Cables London: William Brown, 1866. 12 pp. An address delivered before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, December 18th, 1865.
Another edition of 31 pp. includes appendices.
Image courtesy of Bob Voss
TUCKER, Eleanor M. Laying the First Deep Sea Cable Between Cuba and Key West

Detail of cover illustration

Los Angeles: Bedrock Press, N.D. (author's inscription dated 1954). 53pp.
The author's father was a 14-year-old cabin boy on the 1867 Dacia cable expedition between Havana, Cuba, and Key West, Florida, and later told his story to his children. His daughter, Eleanor Tucker (who wrote Gospel stories under the name "Aunt Eleanor") re-tells his experiences in this book for young people. She intersperses stories of the cable laying with religious homilies, but if one can ignore the heavy-handed moralistic interjections this short work does present an interesting picture of life aboard an early cable ship.
VIERUS, Dieter Kabelleger aus aller Welt Berlin: Steiger, 1989, 148pp. Photos and descriptive text (in German) of past and present cable ship. Also includes sections on the equipment and methods of early cable laying, with illustrations.
(WEST, Charles) The Story of My Life. By the Submarine Telegraph

Click here for title page image

Full text at Google Books

London: C. West, 1859. 96 pp. An anonymous, biting review of the early history of submarine telegraphy.
Images courtesy of Bob Voss
WEAVER, William D. Catalogue of the Wheeler Gift of Books, Pamphlets and Periodicals in the Library of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers [two volume set]

Full text at Internet Archive.
Further details of the Wheeler Gift Collection may be read here

New York: AIEE, 1909. 504 & 333 pp.
The catalogue of the library of Josiah Latimer Clark, of Westminster, Eng., purchased in 1901 by Schuyler Skaats Wheeler, and presented by him to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. Mr. Andrew Carnegie donated the fund to house, catalog and complete the collection.
The collection was dispersed in 1995; part is now at the New York Public Library Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology.
WHITEHOUSE, Edward O. W. Report of a Series of Experimental Observations on Two Lengths of Electric Cable, Containing, in the Aggregate, 1,125 Miles of Wire.
Full text available at the linkabove.
Brighton 1855. [23 pp. 5 plates. Wheeler Gift #4539. Whitehouse’s self-published pamphlet containing the full text of his British Association paper.

The Atlantic Telegraph: the Rise, Progress, and Development of its Electrical Department.
Full text available at the link above

London: 1858. 28pp.
Wheeler Gift #1433: “Introduction of gutta-percha, effect of induction, cable troubles.”

Reply to the Statement of the Directors of the Atlantic Telegraph Company.
Full text available at the link above

London: 1858. 27 pp. Stamp, Carlton Club. A defense after his discharge by the company.

Recent Correspondence between Mr. Wildman Whitehouse and the Atlantic Telegraph Company with an Appendix Containing Every Telegram and Letter for Reference.
Full text available at the link above

Published by the author, 1858. A follow up to Whitehouse’s Reply to the Statement (above).
WILKINSON, H. D. Submarine Cable Laying and Repairing.
Full text (second edition) available at
London: "The Electrician" Printing and Publishing Company Ltd.
1896 first edition. 15, 406 pp.
1908 second edition, 557pp.
WINDOW, Frederick Richard On Submarine Electric Telegraphs London: Institute of Civil Engineers, 1857. 40 pp. Principally an engineering discussion of the early cables, but raising questions of priority, later rebutted by R. S. Newall. See Newall's Facts and Observations Relating to the Invention of the Submarine Cable, above.
WINDOW, Frederick Richard The Atlantic, and South Atlantic, Telegraphs London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1859. 32pp + map. A pamphlet published in February 1859 after the failure of the 1858 cable, written by "A Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers", revealed in the text as F.R. Window. While describing itself as an impartial review of possibilities for future cables, the pamphlet is, in fact, a proposal for a cable on the South Atlantic route.
WINSECK, Dwayne R and PIKE, Robert M Communication and Empire: Media, Markets, and Globalization, 1860-1930 Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2007. 429 pp., softcover
Available from
WÜNSCHENDORFF, E. Traité de Télégraphie Sous-marine Paris: Librairie Polytechnique, 1888; 4to.; 14, 556 pp., 469 figs. A technical treatment for the engineer. Charles Bright's 1898 book Submarine Telegraphs was "founded in part" on this work.


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