As noted in this article, profits for radio companies were scarce in 1904, and it would be more than another decade before any U.S. radio companies actually made money from their regular operations, in contrast to the sums made from fraudulent stock sales. At the time this article appeared, the electrolytic detector was the most sensitive in use in the United States. However, although Reginald Fessenden and his National Electric Signaling Company would prevail in the lawsuits, it would prove an empty victory, as the company would never actually collect any of the damage awards, and within a couple of years the development of crystal detectors made electrolytic detectors and coherers obsolete.
The Electrical Age, November, 1904, pages 372:
Wireless Telegraph Earnings
THE daily newspapers are still printing columns of advertisements relative to wireless telegraph systems, in which statements relative to the prospective earnings and profits of such systems are very alluringly set forth; and some of the later statements imply that the success of certain wireless companies in Europe may be taken as a criterion of the success that will follow here. It is quite possible that the British Marconi Company is on a paying basis, owing to the large number of warships and mercantile vessels, lighthouses, etc., now equipped with that system. On this side of the Atlantic, however, the number of wireless equipments is much more limited, and what business there may be is divided among at least three different companies, with a corresponding division of earnings.
Indeed, it is probably within bounds to assume that few, if any, of the American companies are at present realizing sufficient income from the commercial operation of their systems to meet even the expenses of the legal controversies over alleged infringements of patents which are now proceeding between at least three of those companies. One of these controversies concerns the use of an imperfect contact, such as the filings coherer or its equivalent, in wireless telegraphy. Another is for infringement of the liquid barretter, or electrolytic detector, whichever the device may ultimately be held to be by the courts.
This latter is a pretty enough contest as it stands and, apparently, the result will hinge upon the question as to whether the action of this detector, which consists of an exceedingly fine, short wire in a dilute acid solution, is thermic or electrolytic. If thermic, the device will probably be held to be covered by the claim in one patent; if electrolytic, by the claim in another patent, the respective patents being controlled by different interests.