Hiram Sibley

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Hiram Sibley (February 6, 1807 – July 12, 1888), was an American industrialist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who was a pioneer of the telegraph in the United States.


Sibley was born in North Adams, Massachusetts, and later resided in Rochester, New York. He became interested in the work of Samuel Morse involving the telegraph.


In 1840, Sibley joined with Morse and Ezra Cornell to create a Washington to Baltimore telegraph service. In 1851, Sibley and others organized the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company in Rochester. Sibley later served as first president of Western Union Telegraph Company.

In 1861, Jeptha Wade, founder of Western Union, joined forces with Benjamin Franklin Ficklin and Hiram Sibley to form the Pacific Telegraph Company. With it, the final link between the east and west coast of the United States was made by telegraph. In conjunction with Perry Collins, Sibley later hoped to build a telegraph line from Alaska to Russia through the Bering Strait, the so-called Russian American Telegraph. However, this dream collapsed with the establishment of a cross-Atlantic line to Europe.

Sibley funded the Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanic Arts, as well as the building which housed it, Sibley Hall, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Today, the program is known as the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and is located in parts of Upson, Grumman, and Rhodes Halls. Sibley Hall is now a part of the College of Art, Architecture, and Planning.


Sibley died in 1888 and was interred at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester.

Sibley's home near Rochester, the Hiram Sibley Homestead, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. His Rochester home is included in the East Avenue Historic District.[1]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 

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