Biography of Sir Charles Bright

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Electricians' Directory

London, England
vol. 3, p. 91, col. 1,2


BRIGHT, Sir Charles. Born in 1832. He first became connected with electro-telegraphy in 1847, under the auspices of Sir Wm. Fothergill Cooke. In 1852 he became engineer to the Magnetic Telegraph Company, in which capacity he took part in the submersion of the first submarine telegraph cable between Great Britain and Ireland, from Port Patrick to Donaghadee, in 1853. He held this appointment for eight years, during which period the greater part of the company's lines were constructed under his superintendence, and in 1860 became their consulting engineer, a post which he held until the laud telegraphs were taken over by the Government in 1870. In 1854 he engaged in an extended series of experiments upon the retardation experienced in subterranean and submarine conductors, and in the following year entered into a partnership with Messrs. Cyrus Field, John Watkins Brett, and Dr. Whitehouse, with the view of forming a company to lay a submarine cable across the Atlantic; having satisfied himself and them of the feasibility of working through so long a distance without the signals becoming blended together, a fact which, strange as it may seem to us now, was disbelieved by many at that date. In 1856 the time was considered ripe for putting the great project into a practical shape, the lines of the Magnetic Company being extended to the West of Ireland, and those of the New York and Newfoundland Company (of which Mr. Field was vice president) being laid to Newfoundland. A company was accordingly formed, with 350 shares of 1,000 each, the subscribers being principally shareholders in the Magnetic Telegraph Company, among whom Sir Charles Bright was the first to enter his name for part of the capital. Mr. Brett became one of the directors of the company, Sir Charles Bright the engineer, Mr. Cyrus Field the manager, and Dr. Whitehouse the electrician. The cable was laid successfully in 1858, the end being landed by Sir Charles Bright in Valentia Bay on the 5th August in that year. For this national service he received the honour of knighthood. In 1860 he laid a series of cables for the Spanish Government from Barcelona to Minorca, Majorca, Iviza, and back to Cape San Antonio on the mainland. In 1861 he entered into partnership with Mr. Latimer Clark, as the firm of Bright and Clark. He afterwards, in 1864, laid the first working cable to India, for the Government of India, from the head of the Persian Gulf to Kurrachee, a distance of nearly 1,600 miles. Sir C. Bright was returned to Parliament as member for Greenwich in 1865, and sat until the election at the end of 1868, when he retired, being engaged in the Gulf of Florida laying a cable from the United States to Cuba, and his seat was transferred to Mr. Gladstone. While Sir C. Bright was in Parliament he took an active part on the East India Communications Committee, part of the outcome of which was the formation of the Eastern Telegraph Company a few years after. In 1869 he was engineer to the Anglo-Mediterranean Company, by which a direct line was laid from Malta to Alexandria. In the following year he was joint engineer to the Falmouth, Gibraltar, and Malta Company, the Eastern Extension Company from India to Singapore, and to several other companies. In this and succeeding years he laid many cables between North, Central, and South America, connecting Cuba, Porto Rico, Jamaica, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbadoes, St. Vincent, Grenada, Trinidad, Demerara, and Panama. In 1881 he was appointed by Her Majesty's Government as one of the British Commissioners to the French Electrical Exhibition. Sir C. Bright is the inventor of many important improvements in telegraph apparatus, and the manufacture and laying of submarine cables, which are extensively used. He is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, of which he was Telford gold medallist in 1864; a vice-president of the Society of Telegraph Engineers and Electricians, and a fellow of various other learned societies, as well as an Officer of the Legion of Honour.

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Keywords:Bright's Insulator : Foreign : CD 630 : CD 631
Researcher notes:There are two know Brights insulators: CD 630 and CD 631.
Supplemental information:(see patent gb1858-0002601)
Researcher:Elton Gish
Date completed:December 28, 2008 by: Elton Gish;