The Great Transatlantic Cable

About the Show

The remarkable story behind the laying of the transatlantic cable. By the middle of the 19th century, a network of telegraph poles was strung across America, but communicating with Europe was another matter. Though the need for a transatlantic cable was obvious, the physical challenges to laying one were enormous. The project would require the production of a 2,000 mile long cable that would have to be laid three miles beneath the Atlantic. Cyrus Field, an energetic, young, New York-based paper manufacturer was undeterred. It took 12 years of cajoling and massaging investors, four abortive attempts to lay the cable and millions of wasted dollars before Field and his team of engineers finally succeeded. On 27 July 1866 when the wire was finally in place, Field sent the first message to Europe and since that day nothing has broken his communications link.