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A History of Wireless Telegraphy (2nd edition, revised), J. J. Fahie, 1901, pages vii-x:



FROM the fact that two impressions of this work have been sold out in fifteen months and that a second edition is now called for, the author is glad to think that he has met a want, and, judging by the press notices, has met it in a satisfactory manner.
    While acknowledging with thanks the numerous and, with one exception, altogether favourable reviews of his book, the author begs leave to notice two objections which have been advanced by more than one of his critics.
    Firstly, it has been thought that a history of wireless telegraphy now is premature--that the subject is still in a more or less embryonic, or at least infantile, stage, and that the time for writing its history has not yet come. But a beginning has to be made at some time, and as well now as later, and for this reason: While (as stated in the Preface to the first edition) the book is intended to be a popular account of the origin and progress of the subject, the author thought that it would also be useful to students and inventors, as showing them what has been, so far, done or attempted, so that they may not waste their ingenuity on ways and means that have already been exploited.
    Secondly, it has been objected that there is much in the book--especially in the First Period--that might be omitted, or still further condensed. But here again the author had in view the requirements of the inventive reader, for whom the crudities and failures of previous experimenters are in their way as instructive as their successes.
    In this new edition he has made some alterations and additions (chiefly in the pages dealing with the Marconi system), with a view of (1) correcting inaccuracies of expression in some places, and making the meaning more clear in others; (2) bringing out more some points of the theory and practice of Hertzian - wave telegraphy; and (3) bringing up to date the record of Mr Marconi's public demonstrations.
    A new and fuller index is appended, in which every subject is noted both under the authors' names and under the subjects themselves. This should make easy the reader's search for any matter that may specially interest him.
    In the way of practical applications of wireless telegraphy since the first edition was published in October 1899, Sir William Preece's system has found new employment, as mentioned at p. 160. As regards the Hertzian - wave form, we have many new experimenters in the field, whose "inventions," although generally said to be unlike Marconi's, seem to differ from it chiefly in points of constructive detail; many new demonstrations by Marconi and his imitators of the value of their system or systems, which, within limits, nobody contests; many paragraphs in the newspapers as to what each one is going to do; but so far as actual installations under the rough-and-tumble conditions of everyday working, it must be confessed that progress has been slow--disappointingly so to some people, Sir William Preece, for instance, who is "getting tired of wireless telegraphy," and asks "where is there at present a single circuit worked commercially on a practical system of wireless telegraphy?"
    Well, the position is not so bad as Sir William would have us infer. To begin with, there is no longer any question of its value to governments for naval and military purposes, or of its commercial value for outlying islands, lightships, lighthouses, and for shipping generally. To have thus convinced the general public, in the short period of four years, of the soundness of its scientific basis and of its practical utility is no slight achievement, and is all in the way of progress. Then, as a matter of fact, Mr Marconi's system, or some modification of it, has been adopted in the navies of all the great Powers, and on some German and Belgian trading vessels. That it has not yet been employed on British vessels of the same kind is not entirely Mr Marconi's fault, but seems more to be due to official obstacles.
    Then again, in May of last year, the Marconi apparatus was installed at Borkum, Germany, on a semi-commercial basis ('Electrician,' July 20, p. 488), and about the same time it was introduced into Hawaii as a permanent means of intercommunication between the five islands of the group('Electrician,' March 2, p. 680). Quite recently a Marconi station has been established at La Panne (Belgium), between Ostend and Dunkirk, and about 61 miles from Dover. The Princess Clementine, one of the Belgian mail packets running between Ostend and Dover, has also been fitted up, and keeps up communication with La Panne in her daily trips across channel. Not only this, but wireless messages have been exchanged between the ship at Dover and the Marconi station at Dovercourt, near Harwich, a distance of over 80 miles of sea and land (London daily papers, November 5-10). Progress, therefore, there has been--slow perhaps, but solid and, all things considered, satisfactory. And now we seem to be on the eve of further extensions, as to which those interested will find some indication in the addresses of the Marconi Company's chairman reported in the 'Electrician,' March 2, August 3, and December 21 of last year.

    January 1901.
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