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A History of Wireless Telegraphy (2nd edition, revised), J. J. Fahie, 1901, pages 56-65:
On March 27, 1862, Mr Haworth patented "An improved method of conveying electric signals without the intervention of any continuous artificial conductor," in reference to which a lecturer of the period said: 35 "I have not met one single gentleman connected with the science of telegraphy who could understand his process, or its probability of success. I applied to him for some information, but he is unwilling to communicate any particulars until experiment has sufficiently demonstrated the practicability of his plans."
In the discussion which followed, Mr Cromwell Varley, electrician of the old Electric and International Telegraph, and the old Atlantic Telegraph, Companies, said: "Being informed that Sir Fitzroy Kelly and the learned chairman (Mr Grove) had seen Haworth's system in operation, and that the latter gentleman was a believer in it, he had tried the experiment upon a very small scale in his own garden, with apparatus constructed according to the instructions of Mr Haworth. His two stations were only 8 yards apart, and, although he used a very sensitive reflecting galvanometer, and twelve cells of Grove's nitric acid battery, he could not get any signals, although the experiments were varied in every conceivable way."
Under these circumstances it will not be surprising if I, too, after a careful study of the specification, and with the light thrown upon it by a further patent of October 30, 1863, have failed to understand the author's method. Indeed, I feel in much the same mental condition towards it as Tristram Shandy's connoisseurs, who, "by long friction, incumbition, and electrical assimilation, have the happiness, at length, to get all be-virtu'd, be-pictured, be-butterflied, and be-fuddled." However, I will do my best to translate the terrible phraseology of the letters patent into plain English; and if after this my readers cannot divine the mode of action I will not blame them--nor must they blame me! My description of the apparatus is based on the complete specification and drawings of the second patent, which were lodged in the Patent Office on April 30, 1864, and which must therefore be supposed to contain the inventor's last word on the subject.
A, Z (fig. 4) are copper and zinc plates respectively, curved as shown, and buried in the earth about 3 feet apart. The superficies varies according to distance and other circumstances thus, for distances up to 75 miles plates 1 foot square suffice; over 75 and up to 440 miles, plates 24 by 16 inches are required. G, F are copper cylinders, 24 by 4 inches, buried in earth, which is always moist. At a point distant about 3 feet from the centres of A and Z a wooden box J is buried, containing a coil of insulated copper wire, No. 16 gauge, wound upon a wooden reel. The ends of the coil are attached to binding screws shown on top of the box. B is a wooden box containing a wooden reel divided into three compartments, x, y, z, (fig. 5). x is filled with fine covered-copper wire, the ends of which are brought together and secured on the outside of the reel. y is filled with thicker covered-copper wire, wound in the same direction as x and the ends are severally connected to binding-screws, shown on the outside. z is half filled with insulated iron wire, wound in the same direction as x and y; the ends are fastened together on the outside of the reel as with coil x. The compartment is then filled with more of the same iron wire, wound double, and in the reverse direction to the coil below it. These double wires are not twisted, nor bound together, nor allowed to cross one another, but are wound evenly in layers side by side; and the ends of each coil are secured together on the outside of the reel as in the case of the lower coil, and adjacent thereto. Usually the wire of coil x is No. 32 gauge; y, No. 16; and z, No. 20; but the sizes and quantities required must vary according to distance and other circumstances.
C is any suitable telegraph instrument of the needle pattern.
D is a condenser of a kind which an electrical Dominie Sampson would call prodigious! A wooden box divided lengthwise into two compartments well coated with shellac. In each compartment is placed a band of stout gold-foil--both well insulated, and connected at their ends to the binding-screws a, g, and b, h, respectively (fig. 6). Each compartment is filled with sixty rectangular plates of gutta-percha, on which insulated copper wire, No. 32 gauge, is wound in one continuous length from the first plate to the last, and the ends are attached to the binding-screws a, g, and b, h, respectively. "I fix binding-screws e, d, e, f, k, and l in the positions shown, and connect them with the wire upon the plates in its passage through the box. I then pass from end to end of each compartment over the plates, and lying on them, but well insulated from them, another band of stout gold-foil, and connect each end of it with the screws a, g, and b, h, respectively."
E is another wooden box, containing a reel similar to B, but divided into only two compartments, each of which is filled with two copper wires, one covered and the other uncovered, wound side by side, and all four of different gauges from No. 18 to 30. The ends of one of the covered coils are brought to the screws p, p, shown on top of the box the ends of the other covered coil are fastened on the outside of the reel; and the ends of the two uncovered coils are likewise fastened on the outside of the reel, "but in such a position that they can never come in contact with any uncovered part of the coated wire. Between each of the layers of wire I place a strip of non-metallic paper to insulate it from the layers above and below, and when in winding I arrive within an inch of the circumference of the reel I employ gutta-percha tissue in addition to the non-metallic paper."
H is a Smee's battery, the size and power of which will depend on circumstances, such as the distance to which it is intended to convey the message; the strength and direction of earth-currents; and even the state of the weather--more power being required in dry than in damp weather. "For a distance of ten miles, from Notting Hill to Croydon, I have found a Smee's battery of two cells at each end, containing plates 3 by 5 inches, to suffice. For about fifty miles, from Notting Hill to Brighton, I have used with success a battery of three cells at each end; and from Notting Hill to Bangor, in Wales, I have required six cells at each end. Generally speaking, I have found that less power is required to convey a message from north to south and from south to north than from east to west, or from west to east."
The connections of the various instruments are shown by lines, and an exactly similar set of instruments is arranged at the place with which it is desired to correspond.
And now as to the modus operandi: when the handle of the needle instrument, C is worked in the act of signalling, what happens? Here the trouble comes in. The author, I regret to say, is silent as to what happens, and I won't be so rash as to make a guess; but I would suggest the question as a safe prize-puzzle for the Questions and Answers column of some technical journal! Seriously, it seems to me that the results, if any, must be a perfect chaos of battery currents, earth-battery currents, earth-currents, induction currents, and currents of polarisation--all fighting in a feeble way for the mastery; and yet some men, besides the author, believed these effects to be intelligible signals!
The remarks of Mr Varley, quoted above, drew that gentleman into an angry correspondence in the pages of the old 'Electrician' journal, from which I need only extract Mr Yarley's letter and Mr Haworth's reply. In the number for February 27, 1863, Mr Yarley writes:--
"I make it a rule never to pay any attention to anonymous correspondents. As Mr Haworth, however, has commented upon the remarks I made a short time since at the Society of Arts, allow me to draw attention to the fact that, the discussion having been prolonged beyond the time allotted for that purpose, the detail of the experiments could not then be fully entered into.
"Mr Haworth paid me 'one' visit a short time ago, when I asked him if he had any objection to his invention being tested by actual experiment: he said he had not, and pointed out to me how to arrange the various parts of the apparatus. I have preserved the pencil sketch made at the time, as indicated and approved by him. This was strictly followed in the experiments.
"The apparatus used was constructed especially for this purpose. The primary coils were thoroughly insulated with gutta-percha, the secondary coils by means of a resinous compound and india-rubber. The plates of copper and zinc at each station were but an inch and a half from each other; they were each 6 inches square. The two stations were only 8 yards apart.
"The apparatus at each station consisted of a plate of copper and a plate of zinc, connected to a flat secondary coil containing nearly a mile of No. 35 copper wire. The secondary coil was placed immediately behind the plates, and behind this was placed a flat primary coil.
"At the sending station the primary coil was connected with six cells of Grove's battery, and contact intermitted. At the receiving station the primary coil was connected with one of Thomson's reflecting galvanometers, of small resistance, no more than that of an ordinary telegraph instrument.
"With this disposition of apparatus no current could be obtained.
"Crossing a river without wires is an old experiment. In March 1847 I tried experiments in my own garden, and also across the Regent's Canal, with a single cell of Grove's battery. Feeble but evident currents were sent across the canal 50 feet wide. The current received was but a minute fraction of that leaving the battery. In this case the distance across the canal was but one quarter of that separating the plates on each bank. When, however, these plates were brought near together, as in Haworth's specification, no visible signal could be obtained.
"This experiment has been repeated by numbers in various parts of the world, and with the same well-known results. When tried by me in 1847, I was unaware that the idea had occurred to Professor Morse, or any one else.
"To account for Mr Haworth's assertions that he has worked from Ireland to London, and between other distant places, I can only suppose that he has mistaken some irregularity in the currents generated by his copper and zinc plates for signals. 36
"If he can telegraph without wires, why does he not connect England with America, when he can earn £1000 per diem forthwith, and confer upon the world a great blessing?
"Before speaking at the Society of Arts, I called at Mr Haworth's house several times, and found him out on all occasions. I wrote him more than once, giving him the negative results of my experiments, &c. He however, paid no attention to any of my communications.
"I have not been able to meet with a single individual who has seen a message transmitted by Mr Haworth; and every one of those who are reported to have seen it, and with whom I have come in contact, positively deny it when questioned.
"I have no hesitation in stating--1st, That Mr Haworth's specification is unintelligible: it is a jumble of induction plates, induction coils, and coils of wire connected together in a way that can have no meaning.
"2ndly, That he cannot send electric signals without wires to any useful distance.
"3rdly, From my acquaintance with the laws of electricity, I cannot believe it possible that he has ever communicated between distant stations as stated in his specification, No. 843, 1862.
"4thly, Supposing for a moment that he could work, as stated, any person constructing a similar apparatus in the neighbourhood would be able to read the communications, and they no longer would be private."
In the following number (March 6, 1863) Mr Haworth says:--
"Will you kindly allow me space for a line in reply to Mr Yarley? I never received his letter of the 27th of January, and am truly sorry for any apparent discourtesy on my part. I fear other letters have shared the same fate.
"From Mr Varley's account of his experiments I find several particulars in which there has been considerable misapprehension on his part; but I cannot spare the time--nor can I ask you for the space--to give further explanations. It certainly is a new feature in electricity, if the earth's currents alone can register words and sentences on the dial-plate. I hope shortly to be able to convince the most sceptical by ocular demonstration. For the present I am content to wait, being anxious rather to perfect my discovery than to push it."
After this we hear nothing more of Mr Haworth, though no doubt the publication and discussion of his views kept the subject alive for a time. 37
35 T. A. Masey, Society of Arts, January 28, 1863.
36 I have seen Mr Haworth's apparatus at work repeatedly, and have myself read off from the indicator the messages which have arrived; and these 'irregular currents mistaken for signals' have consisted of words and sentences transmitted as correctly as by the electric telegraph. My house has been one station, and Brighton, or Kingstown in Ireland, the other."--J. M. Holt, 'Electrician,' March 6, 1863.
37 See, for example, 'The Electrician,' January 23, 1863. Also Béron's 'Météorologie Simplifiée,' Paris, 1863, pp. 936, 937, where there is a hazy description of a wireless telegraph, apparently on the same lines as Haworth's.
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