e Marconi and the American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company by Mr, Royal, Operator on Board of the Maid of the Mist.
[Written for the SUNDAY GLOBE.]
Mr. Bertrand Royal makes the following statement for The Sunday Globe:
From on or about the 12th day of September, 1901, to the 6th day of October, 1901, I was in the employ of the American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company, of Philadelphia, Pa., and during that period a part of my duties were the making and transmission of bulletins of the international yacht races between Columbia and Shamrock II, over the course set on different days of the races by the New York Yacht Club. While engaged in such transmission of bulletins by wireless telegraph, I was on board the vessel known as the "Maid of the Mist," commanded by Captain Boyer.
On the 3d day of October, at about 2 p. m., I was approached by a United States Revenue cutter, flying the revenue flag bearing the black letters "A. P,". which I was informed signified that the revenue cutter in question was used as a dispatch boat by the Associated Press.
As the boat approached "The Maid of the Mist," I was hailed through a megaphone by a man whom I afterwards learned was a Mr. Stone, and whom I was informed is a manager of the Associated Press in New York City. Mr. Stone asked me if Mr. Bishop was on board. I replied that he was not and would not be allowed on board of that boat, as that was the dispatch boat of the American Wireless Telephone and Telegraph Company. Mr. Stone then said, "I wanted to speak to Mr. Bishop. You are interfering very much with our messages. How often do you operate?" I replied, "We are operating every three minutes when there is any news to send, but have not sent a message for nearly twenty minutes." Mr. Stone then said, "We have an agreement through our Mr. Upperman with Dr. Gehring that you are to operate every alternate five minutes. Will you not commence now and operate in that way to avoid interfering with us?" I replied, "There must be other interference besides us, but we will do as you request from now out." Mr. Stone then said, "Let us compare time." I took out my watch and Mr. Stone shouted, "Now, 2.17." I shouted back, "All right, we will begin at 2.25." The revenue cutter then left.
On the evening of the same day, about 7 o'clock, I was informed at the long distance telephone station, at Atlantic Highlands, N. J., that Mr. Upperman desired me to call him up as he (Upperman) wanted to talk to me.
The same evening at about 10 o'clock I learned that Mr. Upperman was at his residence at Riverside, and I held a conversation with said Upperman over the long distance 'phone, substantially as follows:
"I said, "I understand, Mr. Upperman, you want to talk to me." Mr. Upperman said, "Are you Mr. Pickard?" I replied, "No, I am Mr. Royal, the operator on the "Maid of the Mist," but Mr. Pickard is here in the booth with me." Mr. Upperman then said, "I wanted to find out what you meant by sending messages today. I have an agreement with Dr. Gehring whereby you were only to send four or five messages at the most for each race, at the start, at the stake boats, and at the finish. Mr. Stone talked with you this afternoon and you admitted operating every few minutes. Now, I want to know why you did this?" I replied, "Mr. Upperman, my instructions from Dr. Gehring today were to send him occasional confirmatory dispatches of the yachts--." Mr. Upperman here broke in. "You know very well that we are sending Dr. Gehring our dispatches as soon as we receive them, and you have no business whatever to send dispatches the way you are sending them." I replied, "Mr. Upperman, if Dr. Gehring and his company had relied upon the dispatches you sent last Saturday concerning the start of the race and the finish of the race, and had sent them to the papers whom he is serving with bulletins, he would have been ruined." Mr. Upperman said, "What do you mean?" I replied, "I mean that you sent at the start of the race that Columbia crossed the line first, and at the finish of the race that the Shamrock won. As a matter of fact the Shamrock crossed the line first at the start and the Columbia won the race. Dr. Gehring cannot rely upon your bulletins, and this necessitates my sending confirmatory messages of every change in the position of the yachts, although my rigid instructions are to interfere as little as possible and to send as few bulletins as possible and yet keep Dr. Gehring informed of the race."
Mr. Upperman replied, "If you were fooled, we were fooled as well on Saturday last, and you know very well that you are getting much better news service.
I answered, "Is that so? That is probably the reason you got down to Galilee so quickly the morning of the first race to get DR. GEHRING'S NEWS SERVICE for the Associated Press, is it not?"
"What's that?," said Mr. Upperman.
I replied, "I came to this telephone in response to your request, and do not propose to indulge in any mutual recrimination. We want to do what is right and interfere as little as possible, but we are going to get the correct news through to Dr. Gehring, while it is news."
Mr. Upperman said, "Now the Chicago people want to operate too. We will take the first five minutes, starting on the hour, they the next five minutes, and you the third five minutes."
I replied, "Mr. Upperman, I will not agree to that." Mr. Upperman then said.
"Will you agree to operate every alternate five minutes with us, commencing five minutes past the hour?"
I replied, "I will agree to send the start of the race when the start is made, to send the stake boats when the yachts go round them, and then finish when it occurs. I will try and keep on my five minutes as much as possible, but if anything of vital importance occurs during the race, I must send it, no matter on whose time it occurs."
Mr. Upperman replied, "I will come alongside of your boat in the morning and have a talk with you. Good night."
"Good night," I replied.
Signed: BERTRAND ROYAL.