Cyrus Field had a dream -- a BIG DREAM -- to lay a telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean. No one had ever done that before.

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Cyrus West Field

Cyrus Field


Map of North Atlantic Ocean, showing cable route

Cyrus dreamed of instant communication between America and Europe. Why not lay a telegraph cable between Newfoundland and Ireland, the shortest distance across the Atlantic Ocean?

The rocky shore of Newfoundland

Newfoundland shore

   Valentia Island, the westernmost point of Ireland

Valentia Island

Ships Agamemnon and Niagara
Two ships were needed to carry enough cable to cross the ocean: HMS Agamemnon and USS Niagara.

Manufacturing cable

Manufacturing cable

All underwater cable was manufactured in England.

Cable laying machinery on board the ships
Cable-laying machinery like this was used on both ships.
Coiling cable on board Niagara
Men coiled cable onto the deck of USS Niagara. They coiled more cable in tanks below deck. 
Agamemnon in a storm
HMS Agamemnon nearly went down in a horrible storm, but the cable was laid in 1858.

Parade along Broadway, New York City
Celebrations took place all over the country, but the cable soon failed. It was years later before Cyrus could try again.
In 1865, Cyrus was able to use the largest ship in the world, SS Great Eastern. That year they failed, but in 1866, aboard Great Eastern, they finally succeeded.


Great Eastern


Telegraph station in Ireland
 Messages were sent from this telegraph station on Valentia Island, Ireland.
Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria sent the first public message through the transatlantic cable.

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