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The process of design and construction, in 1954, of the first superconducting magnet is described. That magnet had Nb windings on an Fe core. It produced .71T in a small gap at 4.2K. Other Nb magnets, both with and without Fe, were built at several laboratories. Some of them are described, along with the applications to which a few were put. Empirically, it was clear in the 1950s that the performance of Nb as magnet wire was spectacularly improved by cold work.