Tagliaferro Preston Shaffner, American telegraph promoter, c 1870.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by D J Pound, after a photograph by John Mayall, c 1870. Colonel Shaffner (1818-1881) was known as the 'Projector of the North Atlantic Telegraph'. After Samuel Morse succesfully demonstrated the electric telegraph in 1844, telegraphy spread rapidly as a form of communication, and companies and individuals clamoured to be the first to construct telegraph networks. In 1851, Shaffner erected and managed a telegraph line through Misouri, United States. In 1857 he attempted to run a telegraph cable acros the Atlantic from America to Europe, but the project was unsuccesful due largely to poor financing. Shaffner was editor of the American Telegraphic Magazine, and also wrote 'The Telegraph Manual' (1859). By the early 1900s, the telegraph network linked every landmas except Antarctica.