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Telegraphing the future of instant communication: Transatlantic Cable

Moses Taylor was one of the original investors in the New York, Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Co., founded in 1854 by Cyrus West Field, a successful young businessman who is credited with laying the first transatlantic cable. Taylor was treasurer of the new company and a director. The first cable was completed in 1858 but soon broke down. After interruptions caused by the Civil War between 1861 and 1865, three more unsuccessful attempts were made. The company finally succeeded on the fourth attempt, in 1866, bringing New York into virtually instant communication with London. Field and his associates also founded American Telegraph Co. - this became the biggest telegraph operator in the East, with lines from Maine to Louisiana. Its only major rival was the Western Union Telegraph Co., which was growing its network westward to the Pacific, centered on the Mississippi Valley. Western Union later merged with American Telegraph, giving it a dominant role at the American end of the transatlantic cable. After the merger, Taylor became a Western Union director, a position he would hold for the rest of his life.