Search Results

Restricted Access

Submarine Telegraphy and the Hunt for Gutta Percha

Challenge and Opportunity in a Global Trade


Helen Godfrey

In Submarine Telegraphy and the Hunt for Gutta Percha, Helen Godfrey traces the connections between submarine telegraphy and the peoples of Singapore and Sarawak (Borneo) who supplied 'gutta percha', the latex insulating the world network of undersea telegraph cables. The book examines the complex inter-relationships linking metropolitan and local environments in a trade once described as a matter of interest to the whole civilized world. Using previously untapped corporate and official archives, trade data and a rich documentary record, the study explores the roles of cable producers, scientists, administrators, and local Chinese and indigenous traders. It reveals how a global trade may transcend technological, geographic and cross-cultural challenges, even hostilities. Motivations and outcomes are more complex than simple commercial gain.