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New-York Daily Tribune, November 28, 1909, page 8:
Marvellous Achievements Expected from This Comparatively New Discovery.
The Napoleon of the Future May Look Like a Man Playing Upon an Organ.
By Harrold Chapman.
A transatlantic service is to be the next step in wireless telegraphy, according to Dr. Lee De Forest.
The Metropolitan Life tower station of the Radio Telephone Company in this city is now in operation. It contains the most modern high power wireless equipment, especially constructed to span the thirty-eight hundred miles of land and water lying between New York and Paris.
The antennæ in Paris which will grasp out of the ether the click of the instrument in the 700-foot Metropolitan tower extend high in the air above the 900-foot Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower station is the highest in the world and the Metropolitan is the second. De Forest is soon to go to Paris to install the same powerful equipment in that station which is now doing duty in the Metropolitan station.
Previous attempts had been made by other well known wireless experts to accomplish this feat, but never, it is asserted, under such auspicious circumstances. Never have such high towers or such powerful equipment been used. Fessenden conducted experiments at Brant Rock, Mass., from December, 1905, to October, 1907, in an effort to reach Machrihanish, Scotland, but he was unable to maintain a uniform frequency of oscillations, which is essential in long distance wireless.
The greatest success yet attained in this direction is the service of the Marconi company between Clifden, Ireland, and Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. This distance, however, is much less than that between New York and Paris.
Dr. De Forest in April, 1906, sent a message of eight hundred words to Ireland from Manhattan Beach. In this instance tetrahedral kites were used to support the antennæ.
One reason for Dr. De Forest's assurance that he can accomplish the feat of spanning a space of nearly four thousand miles is the fact that while experimenting at the Eiffel Tower last summer he "picked up" wireless messages from the station at Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.
MAY CALL PARIS BY 'PHONE.
At the time the inventor also established connection by means of his wireless telephone with a vessel of the French navy in the Mediterranean, a distance of six hundred miles. All of the stations of the Radio Telephone Company are provided with this latest aerial marvel, as well as the wireless telegraph. Dr. De Forest believes that the day is not far distant when father in New York may call up mother in Paris by the wireless telephone, decline to give up fifty millions for the honor of calling Count Razza Mazazza son-in-law and demand that she return with Muriel by the next transatlantic aeroplane.
Few persons are aware that the Radio system is already operating wireless telephones in land stations and on vessels of the Great Lakes. The radiophone is simply an outgrowth of the development of the wireless telegraph, and the prediction that it will within a few years cover as great distances as the wireless telegraph now does is not at all far fetched. Indeed, scientists believe the development of this discovery has only fairly begun.
It is asserted that within the near future wireless communication may be established with the most isolated corners of the earth, that the distinguished hunter may take with him into the African jungle an apparatus which will permit him to give to the newspapers prompt accounts of his latest conquest. But this is not yet, although Dr. De Forest has given much evidence of its probability.
The invention promises to be extraordinarily useful in the field of humanitarianism. Already the wireless has been the means of saving hundreds of precious human lives at times of notable disasters at sea. The case of the Florida and the Republic is a striking example, and the untold good it has done in warning vessels at sea and on the Great Lakes of approaching storms may not be measured.
TO BE USED IN AERONAUTICS.
Its greatest work along this line in the years to come will be in the field of aeronautics. The future Mauritania of the air will carry in its equipment the radiophone. In its forty-eight-hour flight across the ocean the giant air craft may at any time signal the Metropolitan or Eiffel Tower, or in the event of accident to machinery, flash C. Q. D. to the nearest vessel of the sea, which would bring assistance and a possible "landing place" for passengers and crew.
A forecast of some such use of the device is had in the published papers of A. Leo Stevens, the well known aeronaut, who asserts that a wireless means of communication is essential to the development of the airship. Mr. Steven in a recent plea for governmental regulation of ballooning, said:
"It should be compulsory that radiophone equipment for communicating with the earth or airships be installed. A balloon in trouble would simply telephone its location or general direction, and rescue balloons or automobiles would be sent to the scene. The United States army balloon corps has successfully experimented with an instrument weighing less than one hundred pounds. However, there is a new Radio sparkless telegraph and wireless telephone of very light weight, which any balloonist can safely carry. The Radio sparkless attachment does away with the danger of setting the gas bag on fire."
Dr. De Forest has also provided a device kindred to the radiophone, to prevent collisions of vessels at sea, and which may also serve the airship. This is known as the aerophore, and automatically warns one vessel of the approach of another, and informs the "watch" whether the approaching vessel is straight ahead or to leeward or starboard. With such an equipment aboard, the accident to La Savoic or the Florida-Republic disaster would have been prevented.
Practically the same device may be used to avert accidents to railroad trains. The apparatus placed in the engine cab will automatically warn the engineer of the approach of another locomotive or any obstruction on the track, two miles distant from the danger point. The benefits which will accrue to humanity through the use of these inventions may not be measured by dollars and cents. The annual toll of human lives lost at sea and in railroad disasters will be reduced by many thousands.
There is also in this delving into the mysteries of wireless a tragic side. It is imaginable that a fleet of battleships in the Pacific may in some future day be manoeuvred by a strategist sitting in his office at Washington. This strategist might even aim and fire the guns on the other side of the equator. If he obtained the secret of the enemy's wireless equipment, he could perhaps reverse their propellers, explode their magazines, or drive them altogether to be wrecked. This is simplified by the scientific fact that wireless energy travels upon ether waves, which penetrate the most powerful armor plate as easily as they enter a open window.
The Napoleon of the future, it is prophesied, will seem to be playing an organ while he is directing the carnage of army on a huge battlefield, with every battery and skirmish line in action plainly depicted on screens of white cloth. He will probably not care to hear the reverberations of the cannon, the yells of the living and the groans of the dying, for these would distract his attention.
OPENING OF EUROPEAN SERVICE.
The opening of the new transatlantic service will be attended by great official ceremony--even more elaborate than that which attended the opening of the first Atlantic cable. According to proposed plans, President Taft will touch a gold key in the Washington station; the click will be heard in the Metropolitan Life station, where Dr. De Forest will be stationed at the key. The apparatus will already be attuned with the Eiffel Tower apparatus. The inventor will then start the electric waves across the ocean at the rate of 186,000 miles a second, bearing the greetings of the President of the United States to the President of France, and declaring these two great republics joined together more securely than ever by this marvellous means. Then will come the reply of President Fallières, transmitted by Dr. George Seibt, the German wireless expert, now assisting De Forest.
Wireless messages now travel daily from the Metropolitan radio station a thousand miles overland to the Chicago radio station, on the Majestic Theatre building. All intermediate stations dotting the great lakes are now furnishing a wireless service at a rate of from 20 to 50 per cent below that of the wire lines. It is said that the transatlantic tolls of this system will be approximately 50 per cent below the cable rates now prevailing. This should result in the wireless coming into more general use.
Wires for the transmission of telegraphic and telephonic messages will within the present decade become obsolete. The city of the future will know no such thing as the unsightly overhead cable or the expensive string of wires in underground conduits. It is not more than ten years since Marconi and De Forest announced the wireless telegraph, and to-day every ocean vessel of any size is able at all times to keep in touch with land. Three years ago the latter inventor came forward with the statement that he was prepared to provide the world with a device for the wireless transmission of the human voice. In this short space of time the radiophone has come into use in the navies of the United States, Great Britain, Italy, and France.
It has been demonstrated beyond doubt that wireless telephony is as available over land as over sea. Trains and boats on inland waterways have been equipped and communication has been established for great distances. Conversations have been exchanged between widely separated cities. Automobiles have been equipped as well as airships, and the radiophone has been found practical in either case.
Some day, it is predicted, we shall see in the pilot house of every ship that floats wireless apparatus for talking by word of mouth with friends across oceans. A business man will be able to sit in a railway train rushing along at sixty miles an hour and talk to a clerk in his office hundreds of miles away. Every day, from house to house, from land to land, friend may call to friend, not in a noisy, confusing babble, but in scientifically adjusted accents, each call audible to him for whom it is intended, silent to him for whom it is not.
If so much can be accomplished, why is it not possible to provide a device for transmitting the image of the speaker, bringing him into the very presence of another thousands of miles away? If I can talk to my friend for a limited distance with the present wireless telephone, why should it not be possible for me to see him as well? Perhaps the inventor of the future will devise a way of bringing my friend into my very presence by showing his image at the moment.
SENT WIRELESS PORTRAITS
A forecast of some such device is embodied in the apparatus with which Hans Knudson, a Danish inventor resident in England, startled London a few months ago. He succeeded in transmitting portraits to a distance with astonishing rapidity and without wires. By utilizing the particular properties of the metal selenium, a metal which varies in electrical conductivity with the amount of light by which it is illuminated at the moment, it ought to be possible to exhibit one to another not in the form of a photograph but as a living though impalpable presence. In other words, the inventor of the future will magically transport one's body to another--an intangible body, perhaps, but still something that can be seen to move, gesture, smile and nod, even though one may in New York and the other in San Francisco.
Without going into the technical intricacies of the radiophone, some points of popular interest may be singled out. Down from the roof where the receiving wire--technically termed the antenna--is strung comes a relay wire, connecting eventually with the box, from which a receiver and a transmitter, the former fitting to both ears and the latter similar to the ordinary article in everyday use. The transmitter is large, however, and it is warm, even hot, as if it had been long in the midsummer sunshine. That is the effect of the high power induction used.
Before the wire reaches the transmitter box its current is sent through a small glass bulb, in appearance like an ordinary incandescent light, which is filled with vapor from the flame of denatured alcohol, the office of which is to heighten the frequency of the electric current employed. Nothing else is open to view.
A man sits before the apparatus, adjusts the receiver to his ears and waits. No sound comes to him from the thin wire groping against the sky. He hears only the throbbing of the blood in his head.
Nevertheless, the ether is turbulent with sound waves.
There is a little pointer that a thumbscrew can move over a dial. The man turns the pointer past the 1,000 mark, past the 1,100 mark, past the 1,200 mark, and then stops.
A voice bursts upon his ears, calling out of the emptiness:
The instrument is "in tune" with some other instrument, perhaps far below the horizon, and the waves of ether, surging across the charged wire that reaches toward the sky, are of the frequency to which the listener's instrument has been "tuned" by turning the pointer across the dial. The two instruments, many miles distant from each other, are vibrating in unison, and now the conversation can go on.
The days of the "wigwag" in the navy are numbered, as the admiral of to-day issues orders to his captains by word of mouth from the bridge of his battleship and confers as to the disposition of the enemy, real or imaginary, in the same manner. He does not send a jackie out to cut strips out of the atmosphere or run up signal flags to the masthead. Instead, he, for example, puts his mouth to the transmitter beside him on his desk and calls, "Hello, Smith, where are you now?" and out of the receiver at his ear come Smith's voice and the words, "Five miles astern, sir." And the admiral says, "Would like you to come and have a bite with me at noon," or "Report on board the flagship with the least possible delay." And over the surging waters, on the wings of the wind, comes the answer, in either case, "All right, sir."
"Fighting Bob" had the honor of being the first naval commander in the world to speak in this way with his captains, whether they were two cable lengths away or five or twenty miles, and to the American navy belongs the honor of having been the first in the world to be equipped with a system of wireless telephony.
To America will belong also the honor of opening the first transatlantic wireless service, and to an American will go the honor of having originated the system which makes such a marvellous achievement possible.