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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

The first official transatlantic telegram

On this day in 1858 Queen Victoria sent the first official transatlantic telegram. This photograph is of the galvanometer used to receive Queen Victoria's message to President James Buchanan over the first transatlantic cable, 1858

© The Henry Ford

A galvanometer is an instrument that detects and measures electric current. On August 16, 1858, this device was used by President James Buchanan to receive the first public message sent across the transatlantic cable. The message was sent by Queen Victoria to celebrate "a link between nations." It was 98 words long--and took 16.5 hours to transmit.

The original tickertape recording of Queen Victoria's message to the President of the United States, James Buchanan, transmitted by submarine cable from Ireland to Newfoundland on 16 August 1858. This message was the first official transatlantic cable ever sent. The text of the tickertape reads:


The Queen desires to congratulate the President upon the successful completion of this great international work, in which The Queen has taken the deepest interest.

The Queen is convinced that the President will join her in fervently hoping that the electric cable, which now connects great Britain with the United States, will prove an additional link between the nations, whose friendship is founded upon their common interest and reciprocal esteem.

The Queen has much pleasure in thus communicating with the President, and renewing to him her wishes for the prosperity of the United States."

© Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

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