Tiffany's Transatlantic Cable Souvenir


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: 1858

Maker: Glass, Elliot, & Co.Tiffany & Co.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New YorkUnited Kingdom: England, London, Greenwich

See more items in: Work and Industry: Electricity, Communications, American Stories exhibit


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: from Silver Creations, Ltd. and Lanello Reserves Inc.

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: EM.334736.01Accession Number: 312154Catalog Number: 334736

Object Name: submarine cablecable sample

Physical Description: steel (sheathing material)brass (ferrules material)copper (conductor material)gutta percha (insulator material)Measurements: overall: 4 in x 1/2 in; 10.16 cm x 1.27 cm


Record Id: nmah_1255864

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