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Download A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable ePub

by John Steele Gordon

Download A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable ePub
  • ISBN 0060524464
  • ISBN13 978-0060524463
  • Language English
  • Author John Steele Gordon
  • Publisher Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Pages 272
  • Formats docx azw mobi lrf
  • Category Engineering
  • Subcategory Engineering
  • Size ePub 1560 kb
  • Size Fb2 1394 kb
  • Rating: 4.3
  • Votes: 681

Today, in a world in which news flashes around the globe in an instant, time lags are inconceivable. In the mid-nineteenth century, communication between the United States and Europe -- the center of world affairs -- was only as quick as the fastest ship could cross the Atlantic, making the United States isolated and vulnerable.

But in 1866, the Old and New Worlds were united by the successful laying of a cable across the Atlantic. John Steele Gordon's book chronicles this extraordinary achievement -- the brainchild of American businessman Cyrus Field and one of the greatest engineering feats of the nineteenth century. An epic struggle, it required a decade of effort, numerous failed attempts, millions of dollars in capital, a near disaster at sea, the overcoming of seemingly insurmountable technological problems, and uncommon physical, financial, and intellectual courage. Bringing to life an overlooked story in the annals of technology, John Steele Gordon sheds fascinating new light on this American saga that literally changed the world.


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A Thread Across the Ocean. Although it took about 12 years and 5 attempts to finally get the transatlantic cable down and running, Field never lost sight of his goal and never gave up. He also invested hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money back in the days when a dollar really meant something.

John Steele Gordon's book chronicles this extraordinary achievement - the brainchild of American businessman Cyrus Field and one of the greatest engineering feats of the nineteenth century.

John Steele Gordon's book chronicles this extraordinary achievement, one of the greatest engineering feats of the . A popular and easy-reading history of the transatlantic cable

John Steele Gordon's book chronicles this extraordinary achievement, one of the greatest engineering feats of the nineteenth century and perhaps of all time. A popular and easy-reading history of the transatlantic cable. As befits an author, John Steele Gordon, who writes business history, the central figure is Cyrus Field, the American who didn’t know.

A Thread Across the Ocean is full of fascinating facts leading up to the transatlantic telephone cab. Published by LLS, 5 months ago. My students were fascinated by the equipment outside our classroom that was laying new fiberoptic cable. I mentioned that I would have liked to have seen the transatlantic telephone cables laid. They had never heard of them. They wondered why they were needed. I'm so glad that I got this book for myself as well as for them. It gives a lot of background information that my students might think unnecessary, but it shows why the cables were so important.

The idea for the scheme began in 1854 when a young New York entrepreneur, Cyrus Field, became enamored with the idea of laying a 2,000 mile long telegraph cable across the Atlantic between Ireland and Newfoundland. At that time it typically took as long as a month for news to travel by ship from Europe to America. Field believed oceanic telegraphy would be commercially viable and quickly raised money for the project. It took him twelve years and five failed attempts to succeed.

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But when they were done, these men had changed the world.

Talk about A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable


Cerekelv
This is one of those very good, against all odds reads that leaves you impressed with one man's ability to motivate those around him and in so doing achieve the impossible. The mid nineteenth century laying of the Atlantic telegraph cable was the scientific and entrepreneurial business event of its day. Much of the technology required that led to the success achieved on the fifth attempt simply did not exist 10 years earlier on this venture's first attempt.

Conceived, organized and executed by American Cyrus Field and initiated by joint cooperation of the United States and Great Britain, due to the intervention of the American Civil War the cable's crossing would become an all British event. Underwritten, financed, manufactured and led by Britain's most successful capitalists and best scientific minds, the entire Western world, from the Missouri River in North America to the Volga in Russia learned of its 1866 completion almost simultaneously. The economic success of the venture was so significant that by 1870 five cables crossed the Atlantic in competition with each other! By the early 1900's there were fifteen.

The other reviewers are quite correct. The story line does wander but that is part of this book's charm. It is the story of one man's single mindedness, his ability to move thousands to complete a ten year project that would ultimately provide instant communication globally, eliminating distance and compressing time from months to seconds.

It is a legacy few people have ever been able to achieve.
Corgustari
The subtitle for this book should have been, "If At First You Don't Succeed..." As I read the book I admired, and was amazed by, the tenacity of Cyrus Field. Although it took about 12 years and 5 attempts to finally get the transatlantic cable down and running, Field never lost sight of his goal and never gave up. He also invested hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money back in the days when a dollar really meant something. Mr. Gordon writes, "To give some idea of what $200,000 meant in the 1850's, consider that $1,000 per year was enough income for a family to live a modest, middle-class life, and there were not two dozen men in all of New York City- which then had a population of over 700,000- who had a net worth of $1,000,000." During the years of failure, before the final success of 1866, Field saw the money that he had invested go down the drain....along with the money of all the other investors. He made dozens of trips across the Atlantic to raise money (most of the money, equipment and technology came from Britain) and as the investors kept losing money Field had to convince them to keep the faith and to not pull the plug on the project. A lesser man would have quit. Mr. Gordon describes not only the problems of laying a submarine cable (the trial-and-error in finding the right insulating materials, the proper thickness and weight for the cable and a sufficient degree of purity for the copper wire; dealing with the weather- one storm lasted over a week and nearly capsized one of the cable-laying ships; trying to recover a cable that had snapped and was resting on the ocean floor...two miles under the surface), he also describes the preparatory work well. Besides raising lots of money, Field had to arrange for cable to be placed across a considerable stretch of Newfoundland (through mountainous and uninhabited terrain) and under the Cabot Strait to Cape Breton Island. Mr. Gordon makes it very clear that Cyrus Field, although he was the organizing force, had plenty of help. The author provides intriguing character sketches of many people who either provided financial or scientific help. We learn about Samuel F.B. Morse, whose main contribution was of course his famous telegraphic code (and who was a well-known artist before he became famous for his invention); Peter Cooper, the New York entrepreneur who invested in the project (and, still smarting from his own lack of a formal education, who started the Cooper Union school in New York- a tuition-free school that working men could attend at night in order to further themselves); William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), whose work with electrical currents got him interested in telegraphy. Because of the large distance the transoceanic cable would cover, Thomson advocated using particularly pure copper for the core and he also suggested using a large-diameter core to reduce resistance. He also invented an instrument to detect very weak electrical signals. Thomson was both a brilliant theoretical and practical physicist, of whom Arthur C. Clarke wrote, "If one took half the talents of Einstein, and half the talents of Edison, and succeeded in fusing such incompatible gifts into a single person, the result would be rather like William Thomson." These are just a few of the interesting people whose contributions Mr. Gordon discusses. Money, creativity, technology, vision, willpower and lots and lots of elbow grease all came together to make the cable a reality. Mr. Gordon does a fine job of putting all of the elements together (in just 200 pages) to form a coherent and compelling narrative.
Marilace
An excellent, well-crafted story. I wish the author would've done away with footnotes (he only used them for quotes, so it was not excessive), as they're distracting, but I'm giving this book five stars anyhow for the thoroughly-researched details, the impressive narrative, and the amount I learned from it.
Whitestone
The trans Atlantic cable install, at the time, was one of the most significant events of that era. This is well-written chronicle of the difficulties, cost and politics involved in setting up direct communication with European continent. If you like knowing about building great things you'll like this read.
Celore
Maybe a person has to be geeky to call this story exciting, but it was. Mounted pieces of first cable can be bought at gift shop in Ireland
Anaragelv
Excellent book~
Nenayally
good condition; good read
Very good book getting into much more detail than documentaries you can watch.
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