Nothing like this proposed luncheon ever took place -- the technology described, including portable wireless telephones and personal transatlantic conversations, would actually take many decades to be perfected.
The original scan for this page is located at: https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088235/1909-05-19/ed-1/seq-7/
Bend (Oregon) Bulletin, May 19, 1909, page 7.
Uniting France and America by Wireless Phone.
"Hello, Paris! This is New York."
To start a conversation like this across the universe seems like an achievement beyond the dream of a Jules Verne or the imaginative picture of a Bellamy Storer, yet in the busiest city of the world, New York, such an experiment will take place shortly, with every assurance of success. On this occasion, when science announces its triumph to the world, society of the nations will offer its congratulations in a unique and unrivaled manner, and will feature on its social calendar a luncheon at which Frederick Townsend Martin will preside, that for interest and charm will make all past society events seem commonplace, when the first wireless luncheon will take place in the salon of the Hotel Plaza.
While this luncheon in being served a voice will speak uniting two of the greatest nations of history. It will be the voice of America's most prominent society man reading a message of President Taft to President Fallieres of France. It will be transmitted to Mrs. Nora Blatch DeForest in the Metropolitan tower, the talented pioneer of her sex in this field and foremost woman civil engineer in the world, who will receive this message from the Plaza and send it over a radio wireless telephone at the rate of 186,000 miles a second, to a fair daughter of France in the Eiffel tower.
The salon will be decorated to resemble a forest. Trees will be in full bloom and birds singing from their branches. Presiding at this table will be Mr. Frederick Townsend Martin who will be the guest of the American Wireless association of which Dr. DeForest is president. The guests will be leading society people and scientific men of note. Mons. Etienne Lianel, consul general of France, representing the French government and one of its guests of honor, has said that if wireless telephony is brought to a state of perfection it will become a political and diplomatic time saver.
The table will represent the Atlantic ocean. At one end will be the Metropolitan tower, architecturally raised in candy; at the other end will be the Eiffel tower. On this miniature ocean will be small ships of various nations sailing back and forth. The shore landings of both France and America will be appropriately represented.
The menus will be small telephone directories, and the dishes will be listed as telephone numbers. The place cards will be wireless messages sent from the Ritz Carleton in France to the guests assembled at the Plaza in America. These messages will be received through wireless table phones permitting the guests at both tables to converse with each other, although separated by half a world.
The waiters will be summoned by wireless telephone and at the end carriages will be called by this means. The favors will be small radio sparkless wireless telephone outfits of very light weight and will be utilized by the guests in the ceremonies attending the luncheon and carried away to commemorate the latest gigantic feat of modern science.
It will take just one fortieth of a second for the message to travel across the Atlantic and about one seventh of a second to go around the world. Following this, mutual toast will be given by the guests of this wireless luncheon who will be separated by an ocean, yet able to converse as if face to face.
The value of this marvelous scientific and mechanical feat, can hardly be estimated, and will stand among the first half dozen scientific wonders of all time. Its effect upon the transmission of commercial business will be revolutionary, and will mean that we can communicate with Europe at the cost now prevailing for a domestic telegram.
The great station in the Metropolitan tower is now being rushed to stage of completion. This will be the finest wireless station in the world. Its cost is not comparable to that of other equipments, as the station comprises all sorts of experimenting apparatus. It is thought that $300,000 would not cover the outlay if a structure as high as the Metropolitan tower had to be erected especially for the work. As long as the tower has already been constructed, the cost, outside of the apparatus, will be negligible.
The workings of the radio wireless phone are wonderfully simple when the complex problems involved and overcome in its creation are considered.
In telephoning, the operator talks into the mouthpiece exactly as with the wire telephone and listens for a reply through a head phone instead of receiver. In order to get into communication with a wireless telephone station, it becomes necessary to get the instrument to the known tune of the other station and then press the buzzer key which calls the person to the phone at the other end. The conversation is then carried on as if the two operators were face to face.
The mechanical principles upon which the radio wireless telephone depend are simple enough, although there is a great difference of opinion upon the actual explanation of the phenomenon of wireless telephony. Speech is the forming of very rapid and every-varying series of vibrations in the air, and their measurement by the nerves of the ear. Owing to the resistance of the atmosphere, these vibrations grow weaker and at last disappear as we get farther from the source of disturbance. Telephony is the art of translating those vibrations into vibrations of ether whose lesser resistance enables them to be carried to great distances for the translation into air vibrations again, as only the air vibrations can be measured by the ear. In the wireless telephone the air waves are translated into the vibrations of an electrical discharge which oscillates the ether.
The ether waves, sent out by transmitting station, having been there modified by the human voice, are changed back at the receiving station into such form as to effect the receiver and cause the exact air vibrations which were made to modulate the transmitting current, and therefore, the words of the speaker are heard exactly as spoken.
Dr. DeForest bases his claims for success on his past with the wireless telephone at the suggestion of Admiral Evans, who conducted the experiments on board his flagship, the Connecticut, and another vessel. Every battleship, cruiser or torpedo boat of the great Pacific fleet was equipped with radio wireless telephones before setting out on the memorable cruise. These instruments were given a thorough trial in inter-ship communication and in conversation with several wireless stations en the Pacific coast.
In the meantime, the young inventor has not been content to rest on the laurels obtained from his successful work in the navy and has carried on many experiments both at home and abroad. In May, 1908, from the Eiffel tower, wireless messages were sent by the radio telephone to every wireless station in France. A warship off Marseilles, nearly 600 miles away, heard the transmitted messages just as distinctly as did the stations near Paris. While doing this, Dr. DeForest had equipped several of the vessels of the Italian navy and the instruments met with such decided success that an arrangement has been practically concluded for the equipment of the entire navy.
Mrs. DeForest is as interesting as her inventor husband. She graduated from Cornell university in the science of civil engineering. She was the first and only woman to graduate from an Eastern college in this profession. After her graduation honors were heaped upon her until she stood before the world as its foremost woman hydraulic engineer, and a remarkable example of woman's intellectual equality with man.
She was the first woman ever elected to membership in the American Society of Civil Engineers. She helped to build the greatest water works system in the world's history, being on the engineering staff charged with the building of the $161,000,000 Catskill system. In June, 1907, she was elected fellow of Cornell university, an rarely conferred upon women. While at Cornell she proved herself to be the peer of any of the male athletes. She is a leader in the equal rights movement and various movements designed to improve the social condition of all women. And now she further distinguishes herself by being the first woman to engage in wireless telephony.