Wireless telegraphy, which has been considered only in its larger and commercial aspects, promises, as its use is made steadily easier, to result in complications domestic. The petition of a company for permission to set in the streets of Paris poles for wireless telegraph service, with the idea that "the man in the street" can use it and that its waves can be brought into any household, is a suggestion of illimitable possibilities. From the technical reports, if a layman can presume to interpret them, it appears that wireless telegraphy depends in large part on what are called "Hertzian waves." Whence the name is derived can only be guessed, but a certain wireless telegraphy that is dependent on Hertzian waves is as familiar as love and as old as the Garden of Eden. We all have been operators in our time, receivers and senders of messages; and as to crossing the Atlantic, the "Mayflower" Pilgrims had not been on shore an hour before Hertzian waves from Europe broke on the rock-bound coast and went speeding back over the water. One is tempted to fancy, then, that the scientists are laughing in their sleeves--and Marconi is young, and therefore romantic. The older and commoner term for this spark of wireless telegraphy was simply "sparking"--a term that is well understood.
If there really is a new method of intercourse between persons invisible to each other and without apparent means of communication--if it isn't all a joke--then, obviously, the difficulties of chaperonage are going to be tremendously increased. The sky-scrapers furnish admirable towers. The young man on the twentieth floor of a Broadway building will be subjected, not only to the charms of the stenographer at his elbow, but to those of the stenographers in the upper stories of all the high buildings round about, and in other cities. It is not chaperonage alone that will be difficult, but the getting of any work out of the office force. How are you going to tell when the distracting Hertzian waves are passing in and out, and how are you going to stop them if you know? The cleverness that devises a medium of communication which it is not clever enough to make discoverable until the communication has passed is just a bit too clever. The old-fashioned spark telegraphy could be disrupted by the non-conductor of an unsympathetic chaperon; but this new use of Hertzian waves--if it be new--presents difficulties.