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American Experience; Great Transatlantic Cable, The


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American Experience
Great Transatlantic Cable, The
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Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

This production tells the remarkable story behind the laying of the transatlantic cable. By the middle of the 19th century, a network of telegraph poles strung across America had changed the way the country did business. Samuel Morse's invention made possible almost instantaneous communication between cities across the continent. Communicating with Europe was another matter. Messages to London were sent the old-fashioned way, aboard sailing ships that could take weeks to reach their destination. Though the need for a transatlantic cable was obvious, the physical challenges to laying one were enormous. Cyrus Field, an energetic, young paper manufacturer, wasn't deterred. It took 12 years of cajoling and massaging investors, several abortive attempts to lay the cable and millions of wasted dollars before Field and his team of engineers finally succeeded. On July 27, 1866, when the wire was finally in place, Field sent back the first message to Europe: "Thank God," he wrote, "the Cable is Laid." Since that day, almost 140 years ago, nothing has broken his communications link with Europe -- not storms, earthquakes or world wars.



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Broadcast program

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Chicago: “American Experience; Great Transatlantic Cable, The,” 02/16/2005, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed January 21, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_07DE5C3B7745404B980E5B752ACB11CE.
MLA: “American Experience; Great Transatlantic Cable, The.” 02/16/2005. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. January 21, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_07DE5C3B7745404B980E5B752ACB11CE>.
APA: American Experience; Great Transatlantic Cable, The. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_07DE5C3B7745404B980E5B752ACB11CE
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