The Great Eastern laid telegraph cables across the Atlantic. When was the Great Eastern built, where, and by whom? Was it designed as a cable-laying ship? Are models available for builders?
The Great Eastern was built by the British in the 1850s. It was the largest vessel up to that time and was designed to sail to Australia with 4,000 passengers or 10,000 troops and return without refueling. However, the ship was too big to be profitable and bankrupted three corporate owners. It was hired” to lay the Atlantic cable—a joint U.S.-British endeavor—because it was thought to be the only ship large enough to handle the load. In 1866, the Great Eastern sailed into Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, having laid 5,000 tons of cable over a distance of 1,600 miles—an extraordinary feat. We don’t know whether models are available, but you could consult the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF, England, for information. Or visit the museum’s Web site at www.nmm.ac.uk.”