Further extracts from the article, below,
give additional information on the loss of the 1865 cable, and the plans
to retrieve it.
OF RAISING THE OLD CABLE.
Gill said they had a great deal of this property at the present moment
at the bottom of the Atlantic, and he would like to hear from Mr. Canning
whether, if it was in a proper conducting electrical state, it could be
used hereafter for a cable.
Canning would refer Mr. Gill to Mr. Varley. He could only say that from
the tests they had read, the cable was in the same condition it was in
when it was made.
Varley said since the cable was submerged it had been continually tested
from Valentia, and it showed no change whatever. It insulated about four
times as well as when it left the Medway in the Great Eastern.
Pickering asked if Mr. Canning would tell them if there was any chance
of getting hold of the cable again
Canning replied that he believed they would certainly get the cable again.
When they unfortunately lost the end on the 22d August last, they all
naturally thought it had gone from them for ever. They were not, however,
to be beaten by such a thought as that; and although they bad not appliances
at the time sufficient for grappling and bringing to the bight of the
cable from a depth of 2,000 fathoms, they had sufficient buoy rope to
buoy it up, and it obliged to leave the buoys from stress of weather they
could find these again. After a consultation upon grappling for it, they
had no difficulty in finding the cable, and in hooking. In their very
first attempt they met with the greatest success; and although they had
at first great doubts about ever knowing when they hooked the cable, from
the weight of the Great Eastern, the great depth of water, and their cable
only bearing the weight of seven tans, they thought they should not have
the knowledge indicated on board when the cable was hooked. To their great
surprise, when they came to the cable, the Great Eastern began to swing
round to it, and there was no doubt they had hooked some thing at the
bottom. (Hear, hear). They commenced lifting seven hundred fathoms from
the bottom, when the swivel parted with it. Now, it was an indicated fact
that they lifted the cable seven hundred fathoms from the bottom of the
Atlantic; and he said if they could lift it through a space of seven hundred
fathoms there was no doubt whatever that with stronger ropes and power
of machinery for lifting they could get the cable of 1865 again, and put
it in good working order during the ensuing summer. (Hear, hear). It was
only a question of strength of materials for lifting the cable. (Hear,
hear). They would have three good ships for cutting grapnels and holding
grapnels, so that they could buoy and lift the cable in three parts.
C. E. Rawlins, Jr,, remarked that there were certain buoys laid for marking
the places where the cable was lost. Were these buoys in existence?
Canning replied that the buoys were moored quite as a temporary means,
but he thought they were floating about.
C. E. Rawlins, Jr., asked if Mr. Canning was perfectly certain he could
go to the place where the cable was lost.
Anderson said tho real object of the buoys was not so much to mark the
place where the ship was at the time the cable was lost as where it was
drifting. It was just as easy to find the end of the cable as it was to
sail to Sandy Hook or Cape Clear. It was a matter of common nautical astronomy.
Varley said in the attempt to grapple the cable on the last occasion,
they were near to the end of the cable in order to save it; but supposing
any difficulty was experienced in that depth of water, they had only to
run into 500 fathoms shallower water, so that it would he unnecessary
to grapple two miles deep. He firmly believed that no difficulty would
be experienced in getting at it from that depth, but if there should,
they could run nearer to Ireland. (Hear, hear).
King - Would there be more risk in underrunning it than bringing it up?
Canning said that if they could only get the bight they would splice on
a run to America. He would not think for a moment of stopping the expedition
to complete the cable; he would leave another ship besides the Great Eastern,
which would be with them to do that work. (Hear, hear).
WAY THE OLD CABLE IS TO BE RAISED.
meeting in Manchester on March 15th, the Chairman asked what means would
be taken for the recovery of the old cable.
Canning said that after laying the cable of 1866 they would return to
pick up the cable of 1865. Three ships would be used, the Great Eastern
and another, which would be a chartered vessel, and a government ship
fitted out with machinery for hauling up, the same as the other vessels.
In lifting, the ships would be grappling at the same time, at certain
intervals apart, from two to three miles. The one to the west would put
the greatest strain upon the cable, while the other two ships gently lifted
it to the surface. The rope employed would bear a breaking strain of twenty-nine
to thirty tons; the swivels would be tested up to twenty-five tons, and
the grapnels would be tested up to the same; and therefore, he thought,
with this strain, they would have an ample margin of strength. If the
western ship, by hauling, should part the cable, there would then be other
two ships with the bight on their grapnels, and by so doing, if the western
ship should part it, that would materially lessen the strain upon the
middle ship and also on the one to the eastward. If the ship to the west
did not break it, and they wished to make an end, they could always do
that by using the cutting or jamb grapnel which would so damage the cable
by the strain put on it that it would break it and make an end. They could
also adopt another mode - by lifting the cable up to a certain extent,
and then buoying it, going further again, so as to get up the greater
length from the ground, and get more slack, for the purpose of lessening
the strain upon the cable. He thought that by these modes there was no
doubt that they would be successful in recovering the lost cable. Mr.
Fairbairn had gone into the calculations and agreed with him in every
Chairman said he had some doubts some time ago, but Captain Anderson had
so explained the principle he intended to act upon with regard to the
recovery of the cable that he had no doubt, if it was done with care,
so as not to throw any severe strain upon the cable, instead of having
one new cable in operation they would shortly have two cables.
Canning said he thought the fact, that the directors of the Telegraph
Construction and Maintenance Company had subscribed as much money as £100,000
toward this new attempt, proved the great confidence which they had in
its success. Besides this, eight of these gentlemen had each subscribed
£10,000 to the new company, and Mr. Cyrus Field had taken a like amount
of stock in the new company.
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