Field, Cyrus West

SUBJECT AREA: Telecommunications
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b. 30 November 1819 Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA
d. 12 July 1892 New York City, New York, USA
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American financier and entrepreneur noted for his successful promotion of the first transatlantic telegraph cable.
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At the age of 15 Field left home to seek his fortune in New York, starting work on Broadway as an errand boy for $1 per week. Returning to Massachusetts, in 1838 he became an assistant to his brother Matthew, a paper-maker, leaving to set up his own business two years later. By the age of 21 he was also a partner in a New York firm of paper wholesalers, but this firm collapsed because of large debts. Out of the wreckage he set up Cyrus W.Field \& Co., and by 1852 he had paid off all the debts. With $250,000 in the bank he therefore retired and travelled in South America. Returning to the USA, he then became involved with the construction of a telegraph line in Newfoundland by an English engineer, F.N. Osborne. Although the company collapsed, he had been fired by the dream of a transatlantic cable and in 1854 was one of the founders of the New York, Newfoundland and London Telegraph Company. He began to promote surveys and hold discussions with British telegraph pioneers and with Isambard Brunel, who was then building the Great Eastern steamship. In 1856 he helped to set up the Atlantic Telegraph Company in Britain and, as a result of his efforts and those of the British physicist and inventor Sir William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), work began in 1857 on the laying of the first transatlantic cable from Newfoundland to Ireland. After many tribulations the cable was completed on 5 August 1857, but it failed after barely a month. Following several unsuccessful attempts to repair and replace it, the cable was finally completed on 27 July 1866. Building upon his success, Field expanded his business interests. In 1877 he bought a controlling interest in and was President of the New York Elevated Railroad Company. He also helped develop the Wabash Railroad and became owner of the New York Mail and Express newspaper; however, he subsequently suffered large financial losses.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Congressional Gold Medal.
Further Reading
A.C.Clarke, 1958, Voice Across the Sea, London: Frederick Muller (describes the development of the transatlantic telegraph).
H.M.Field, 1893, Story of the Atlantic Telegraph (also describes the transatlantic telegraph development).
L.J.Judson (ed.), 1893, Cyrus W.Field: His Life and Work (a complete biography).
KF

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Field,Cyrus West — Field (fēld), Cyrus West. 1819 1892. American merchant and financier who planned and oversaw the laying of the transatlantic telegraph cable (completed 1866). * * * …   Universalium

  • FIELD, CYRUS WEST —    brother of the following, born at Stockbridge, Massachusetts; was first a successful paper manufacturer, but turning his attention to submarine telegraphy was instrumental in establishing cable communication between England and America, and… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Cyrus West Field — c. 1858 Cyrus West Field (* 30. November 1819 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts; † 11./12. Juli 1892) war ein US amerikanischer Geschäftsmann. Cyrus W. Field war in New York Kaufmann und gelangte in kurzer Zeit zu großem Wohlstand. 1853 richtete er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Cyrus West Field — Cyrus W. (West) Field c.1858 Born November 30, 1819(1819 11 30) Stockbridge, Massachusetts Died July 12, 1892 …   Wikipedia

  • Cyrus West Field — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Cyrus West Field hacia 1858 Cyrus West Field (30 de noviembre de 1819 – 12 de julio de 1892) fue un empresario y financiero estadounidense que dirigió la empresa the Atlantic Te …   Wikipedia Español

  • Cyrus W. Field — Cyrus Field Cyrus West Field (1819 1892) est un homme d affaires et financier américain qui posa le premier câble télégraphique transatlantique en 1858. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Fiction …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Field — or fields may refer to: * Field (agriculture), an area of land used to cultivate crops for agricultural purposes * Field of study, a branch of knowledge * Playing field, in sports, the area in which the sport is played * Visual field or field of… …   Wikipedia

  • Field — Field, Cyrus West, Kaufmann, geb. 30. Nov. 1819 zu Stockbridge in Massachusetts, bis 1853 Chef eines Handlungshauses in Neuyork, widmete seitdem seine ganze Tätigkeit der Legung des ersten Telegraphenkabels zwischen Europa und Amerika, die erst… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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