What revolution in communication technology took place today in 1858?

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by / August 4, 2011
A section of the first transatlantic telegraph cable on display at the Computer History Museum.

Answer: The completion of the first transatlantic telegraph cable

The cable, which ran from Ireland to Newfoundland, made possible the first real-time, intercontinental communcation. The cable was laid by the Atlantic Telegraph Company, a company created by American entreprenuer Cyrus West Field. The cable was opened for business on August 16, with an inagural telegram exchanged between Britain's Queen Victoria and U.S. president James Buchanan.

The cable was not long for this world, however. The following month, Wildman Whitehouse, the cable's chief engineer, inadvertently destroyed the cable by ramping up the voltage in an ill-advised attempt to repair it.  

Chad Vander Veen

Chad Vander Veen previously served as the editor of FutureStructure, and the associate editor of Government Technology and Public CIO magazines.

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