Have you ever traveled back in time, in your thoughts to revisit the reality of the world, as it was, just a few decades ago?
The technology of today was once the subject of science fiction. When I was a child, there were no fax-machines, no VCRs, no DVD players (no DVDs of course!), not CDs either. Not to talk about the existence of the Internet (at least not in the form and shape it is today), no personal computers and no portable phones.
Even the use of communication satellites, which have been in space for about 50 years, for the transmissions of personal communication, such as satellite phones, later mobile phones and of course the GPS systems, has been only available since the 80's and 90's.
Have you ever considered how exactly did the telegraph (and later telephone) signal travel across the Atlantic Ocean, before the invention of fiber-optics and the existence of satellites?
Well, a transatlantic communication was possible, about hundred years ago, due to an actual physical cable, called the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable, which was laid all across the bottom of the Atlantic.
I find this very impressive and extremely fascinating.
The first cable crossed from the Telegraph Field, Foilhommerum Bay, Valentia Island, in western Ireland to Heart's Content in eastern Newfoundland. The transatlantic cable bridged North America and Europe, and expedited communication between the two. Whereas it would normally take at least ten days to deliver a message by ship, after it was laid, it took a matter of minutes.
As described by wikipedia:
"Five attempts to lay it were made over a nine-year period—in 1857, two in 1858, in 1865, and in 1866—before lasting connections were finally achieved by the SS Great Eastern captained by Sir James Anderson with the 1866 cable and the repaired 1865 cable. Additional cables were laid between Foilhommerum and Heart's Content in 1873, 1874, 1880 and 1894. By the end of the 19th century, British-, French-, German- and American-owned cables linked Europe and North America in a sophisticated web of telegraphic communications."
Of course, in order for the transmissions to function properly, each end had to construct cable relay stations, which housed the most technologically advanced equipment for its time. There were several so called Cable Houses, and some still do stand today. The old cable station at Waterville in Ireland is well maintained and serves today as a Bed & Breakfast, while I really do not know if the original Cable House in Newfoundland is still in existence today. There were several buildings that served as relays, and there seems to be remains of one such Cable House in Hazel Hill, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. However, it is falling apart. There are plans on restoration and I found many appeals throughout the Internet to save this important heritage from decay, however all these reports are several years old.
As I could not find any new reports on the faith of this important historic building, I wonder if any of my Canadian friends have more details on this subject.