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Time Warner Inc (TWX), The Western Union Company (WU) – Today in History: Central Banks, Trans-Atlantic Telegraphs, and Bugs Bunny

Although it was completed only five years after the first transcontinental telegraph line in the United States, the trans-Atlantic telegraph line had been on the drawing board for far longer. The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) built the transcontinental telegraph in less than a year, taking advantage of extant lines, but trans-Atlantic cable-laying efforts had been stymied twice in the 1850s before the effort was nearly derailed by the American Civil War.

A trans-Atlantic line was built and successfully transmitted messages for a few days in 1858 before succumbing to corrosive damage in the Atlantic. That project’s developer, Cyrus Field, would return to his dream after the war with a better cable design in 1866, and this one would hold up until 1872. By then, newer cables were already in the works. Field’s company, the Anglo-American Telegraph Company, laid down four more trans-Atlantic cables from 1873 to 1912, when its assets were leased by the far stronger The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU). This arrangement continued until 1963, by which point modern telecommunications cables — in service beneath the Atlantic since the late 1950s — had rendered the old lines obsolete.

The article Today in History: Central Banks, Trans-Atlantic Telegraphs, and Bugs Bunny originally appeared on is written by Alex Planes.

Fool contributor Alex Planes has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Western Union.

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