This week’s readings focused on the transatlantic Telegraph cable and the challenges of the newly popular telegraph system. Gisborn and Field wanted to create a transatlantic telegraph system, but when this seemed impossible, they decided that a cable from New York to St. Johns would be a more practical place to start. Once this cable was successfully connected, they hired Whitehouse to be the electrician who would be responsible for attempting to create a transatlantic telegraph system. However, it took 4 attempts to successfully link a cable from Ireland to Newfoundland. This cable only worked for less than a month, as it would get congested when there were too many telegraphs being sent. A new cable was built years later that was successful because it utilized low voltage cables. However, the cables still became too congested, and messages often took far too long to be received.
Telegraphs were coming into the office quicker than they could handle them. Some telegraph companies hired messenger boys to run messages across a short distance because this was quicker than re-telegraphing them. Clark came up with the idea of a system of tubes that would send outgoing message while the wire service would receive the incoming messages. Steam engines powered this system which quickly became a new way of sending messages that was quicker than the telegraph in most instances. This “Victorian Internet” was similar to the current idea of the Internet being a series of tubes that allows users to communicate with each other. Whether it was the telegraph or this system of tubes, citizens are always looking for the fastest way to communicate with each other. Once these communication systems become slow or outdated, a new system is quickly created to satisfy the users. This raises the question, are users the ones who determine how the technology is used or is the technology created for specific uses?