Tiffany's Transatlantic Cable Souvenir

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The completion of the first transatlantic telegraph cable in 1858 was a cause for much celebration on both sides of the Atlantic. Tiffany & Company of New York purchased the cable remaining on board the USS Niagara after the successful completion of the cable and sold 4-inch sections as souvenirs. Each section of cable was banded at the ends with brass ferrules and had a brass plaque that read “ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLE/GUARANTEED BY/TIFFANY & CO./ BROADWAY • NEW YORK • 1858.” The cable souvenirs originally sold for 50 cents and came with a reproduced letter of authenticity from Cyrus W. Field, the pioneer of the transatlantic cable system. The jubilation turned to jeers when the cable failed a few weeks later, and Tiffany never sold its supply of cable. In 1974 Lanello Reserves began reselling the transatlantic cable, and donated this object to the Smithsonian.
date made
Glass, Elliot, & Co.
Tiffany & Co.
place made
United States: New York
United Kingdom: England, London, Greenwich
Physical Description
steel (sheathing material)
brass (ferrules material)
copper (conductor material)
gutta percha (insulator material)
overall: 4 in x 1/2 in; 10.16 cm x 1.27 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
from Silver Creations, Ltd. and Lanello Reserves Inc.
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Work and Industry: Electricity
American Stories exhibit
American Stories
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History