Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 149,682 pages of information and 235,430 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

James Anderson (1824-1893)

From Graces Guide

Sir James Anderson (1824-1893)

Captained SS Great Eastern on the laying of the Transatlantic telegraph cable in 1865 and 1866.[1]


1893 Obituary[2]

"Death of Sir James Anderson.—The death is announced of Sir James Anderson, at his residence, Queen’s-gate, London, in his 69th year. Sir James, who was born at Dumfries in 1824, from early boyhood was attracted to the sea, and at the age of sixteen joined the mercantile marine. After commanding sailing vessels to India and China, he entered the service of the Cunard Co in 1851, and successfully commanded fourteen steamships belonging to that company. It was while he was in command of the first screw steamer of that company that he was selected for the command of the Great Eastern, which was to lay the cable to America. The first cable, it will be remembered, was lost in mid-Atlantic, but ultimately a cable was successfully laid in 1866. The vessel afterwards proceeded to attempt to raise the broken Atlantic cable of 1865. After a careful search the cable was found and brought to the surface on September 2. The cable was drawn up over the bow of the Great Eastern, and after a splice had been effected it was recommitted to the deep, the paying-out process continuing till the arrival of the vessel in Trinity Bay, where a perfect connection was formed with the American continent. The Great Eastern returned to Liverpool on September 19, 1866, and Captain Anderson and his officers were presented with an address in recognition of the successful exertions they had made to recover the lost Atlantic cable. For these services he also received the honour of knighthood^ and on December 14 the same year he was presented with the freedom of his native burgh of Dumfries. Convinced that cables could be laid and maintained with accuracy, resembling that of railways, he associated himself with the little band of capitalists and others who have covered the globe with a network of cables. He was himself connected with no fewer than twelve cable companies, with a gross capital of 21 millions sterling and 80,000 miles of cable. Sir James Anderson has also written much on his pet subject. His work on “ Statistics of Telegraphy ” is regarded as a standard work. He has also written valuable papers on “Cables in Time of War” and “The Telegraphic Communication of the Empire, and a Comparison of the Routes to the East.” It was due to his efforts that the last International Telegraphic Conference decided to compile an official list of words to be used in codifying telegrams. Among the societies to whioh Sir James belonged were the Geographical, the Geological, and the Statistical. He has also rendered muoh help to the Imperial Institute."


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