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This is a piece of the first transatlantic telegraph cable laid in 1858. The cable's promoter, Cyrus W. Field, sold a length to Tiffany & Co, who cut it up and sold the pieces as souvenirs.
It took several attempts to keep the cable across the Atlantic from breaking and to achieve a quality signal over the long distance.
The band in the middle of the wire reads: "Atlantic Telegraph Cable/Guaranteed by/Tiffany & Co./Broadway, New York, 1858."
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