Thursday, April 28, 2011

Coney Island Electro Magnetic Telegraph

I find it amazing to imagine what a big deal a single telegraph line used to be. Today, some people get worried if a friend doesn't text back in 15 minutes!

City Intelligence.
...The L. I. Telegraph.--The projectors of this work commenced staking off the ground yesterday. It will extend to the extreme end of the Island, touching by the way at Coney Island, Fire Island, and Rockaway. The station in New York will probably be in Wall street.

--Brooklyn Eagle, Friday, October 3, 1845

City Intelligence.
...The Electro Magnetic Telegraph is to be finished to Coney Island by the first of November. Yesterday the wires were put across the East River at the Fulton Ferry. They were sunk by means of leaden tubes which encased them, and will rest on the bottom, out of the way of everything but dragging anchors.

--Brooklyn Eagle, Friday, October 24, 1845

City Intelligence.
...L. I. Telegraph.--The wires of the telegraph were put up yesterday morning through Atlantic and Furman street to the Fulton ferry, so that we now have a continuous talking-rod from here to the kingdom of Coney Island. The wire in this case is somewhat differently prepared from that we have seen on other telegraphs, and we should think greatly improved. It is wound with tarred thread, which prevents the rain, or ice which forms around it in the winter time from at all destroying the power of the fluid. The end of the wire is now temporarily fastened to the Fulton ferry house, and the question is, how it shall be carried across the river. We believe the project is abandoned of carrying it under water...

The article goes on at length about ways that won't work, concluding:

The telegraph company will for the present have to make their station at our wharf, and use a semaphore telegraph to forward their intelligence to Wall street, until a tunnel be placed under the river to furnish us with the Croton water ; when they may take advantage of that utopian event to carry their will below the channel of the water.

--Brooklyn Eagle, Wednesday, November 5, 1845

The newspaper was not amused when someone ran it underwater with evidently no trouble, in this early example of sarcasm:

City Intelligence.
...The wires for the Coney Island Telegraph are said to have been relaid under water at the Fulton ferry, though upon examination we cannot discover that such is the case. If it be so, the contractor for the work must be one of that most distinguished body known as the Futilitarians. So preserving a pipe-layer will have the pleasure of re-laying his wire once a week at least.

--Brooklyn Eagle, Thursday, November 13, 1845

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