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Portrait of Cyrus W. Field Field, Cyrus W. (1815-1896)

Cyrus Field was an entrepreneur who led the first transatlantic telegraph cable venture.

Field was never very interested in school and left when he was 15 with his sights firmly focused on business. He headed directly for New York with eight dollars in his pocket and found his first job as an errand boy.

Three years later he returned home to work in paper manufacture. It wasn't plain sailing but by the age of 33 he had a thriving paper mill.

Field then looked for a new challenge. In 1854, he developed plans to lay a telegraph cable from America to Newfoundland, which led him to establish another cable between America and Europe . It was a huge undertaking, but together with John Pender, he pulled it off, and in 1858 the first official message - from Queen Victoria to President Buchanan - crossed the Atlantic.

Field was the driving force behind the whole project, from raising finance to getting cables made, who travelled across the Atlantic several times, despite being congenitally seasick!

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...