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Lord Kelvin

Mitchell Library, The Bailie

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Lord Kelvin

Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), was Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow.

The Bailie’s caricaturist portrayed Thomson laying a telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1856 the Atlantic Telegraph Co was formed to connect the two continents, and the professor became a scientific consultant. A cable was laid from Ireland to the USA in 1857-1858 but there were serious flaws in the implementation of the project and the cable failed. The engineer in charge was removed and Thomson was given a greater role in planning the project. A second cable, made to his exacting specifications, was laid successfully in 1865-1866. Thomson was knighted in 1866 for his part in the success of the Transatlantic cable. He received international recognition as a scientist and inventor and a substantial income from the registration of patents relating to submarine cable technology.

Thomson was created a peer in 1892.

Reference: Mitchell Library, 920.04BAI

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

Atlantic Telegraph, Atlantic Telegraph Co, inventors, Natural Philosophy, professors, scientists, University of Glasgow

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