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-22. CYRUS FIELD (1819-92)

The businessman Cyrus Field, who had entered the paper business when he was 21, and retired at 33 with a fortune, promoted the laying of the first transatlantic telegraph cable. He had no technical knowledge to qualify him for the task, but he was a brilliant and persuasive organiser. He also had a determination that overcame repeated failures. The idea of laying a transatlantic cable was not new, but because of the great depths and distance involved, no one had promoted it. In 1854 a Canadian engineer interested Field in laying a cable from St. John's, Newfoundland, to the Canadian mainland. This would speed receipt of European news by several days. While studying a globe, Field decided that the cable should be extended to Ireland. Laying the Canadian cable took two and a half years. By that time Field had organised companies in the United States and Great Britain to raise funds for an Atlantic cable between the two countries. The first four cables broke, causing heavy losses to investors. The fifth was completed on August 5, 1858. On August 15, Queen Victoria and President James Buchanan exchanged messages on the new cable. Soon, however, the signals became unintelligible, and in October they ceased. Undeterred, Field raised additional funds. After another failure in 1865, the fight was finally won on July 27, 1866.

According to the passage, Cyrus Field completed the laying of a transatlantic cable ......... .

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