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History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

The Eighth Wonder of the World

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The transatlantic cable, completed in July 1866, was the beginning of fast communication across the seas.

New York merchant and financier Cyrus W. Field first proposed laying a 2,000-mile copper cable along the ocean bottom from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1854, but the first three attempts ended in broken cables and failure. Field's persistence finally paid off in July 1866, when Great Eastern, the largest ship then afloat, successfully laid the cable along the level, sandy bottom of the North Atlantic.

As messages traveled between Europe and America in hours rather than weeks, Cyrus Field was showered with honors. Among the honors was this commemorative print referring to the cable as the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Image credit:
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division,
reproduction number LC-USZC4-2388

Further information on this and many other Atlantic Cable lithographs and broadsides may be found here.

Last revised: 24 November, 2010

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