This extract is from the full article, which also discussed: "WHY We Talk Too Much and Think Too Hard for the Good of Our Nerves", "WHY Trolleying Over the Ocean and Riding on Electric Cars Upon the Surface of Rivers and Lakes Would Solve All Future Problems of Transportation", and "WHY You Should Have Harmless Snakes for Pets Instead of Cats and Dogs". The Atlantic Constitution, April 30, 1911, page C6.
Wireless Telegraphy May Make Us All Toothless, Hairless and Insane.
THE malignant effects of X-ray, ultra-violet rays and the somewhat similar rays emitted by radium are well known to the world of science. Wasting away of tissue, destruction of hair and sometimes destruction of the minds of those who handled these forces without sufficient protection were common until protective devices were made. A mysterious disease of the teeth, involving their loosening and dropping, without the recognized causes being present, has led scientific men abroad to consider the effects of the little known electric wave sent forth by wireless telegraphy.
Since the transmission of messages by waves in the air has become commonly practicable an enormous number of these waves are transmitted hour after hour, through day and night. This, the scientists argue, disturbs the electrical equilibrium of the atmosphere and lets loose an infinite number of destructive particles, comparable to the same destructive particles in the X-ray or in radium.
These particles, it is believed, are not only responsible for a new disease of the teeth which is becoming prevalent, but in time will also involve the destruction of the hair, the skin and perhaps the minds of the people at large. Dr. Rolfe Hensingmuller, of the University of Gottingen, one of those studying the effects of the wireless waves, here tells why we need some device to neutralize the malignant forces let loose by wireless telegraphy or the need of a protective armor for ourselves.
By Dr. Rolfe Hensingmuller.
WHEN the wireless age arrived--and wireless telephony will soon be added to wireless telegraphy--our air will be so charged with electricity that human beings will feel its influence in a hundred different ways. Already it seems to have attacked our teeth. To-morrow we may find that our hair is dropping out from the same cause, and eventually it may deprive us of our senses and even our lives.
In a general way the condition may be likened to those responsible for the eating away of gas and water mains by stray electrical currents, the process being known as electrolysis. Where electric street railway companies fail to provide proper facilities for the return currents from the car-motors to the power-house, the excess electricity escapes and attacks everything within its range that is susceptible to it.
Thus metal pipes, whether of steel, iron or lead, readily yield to the effect, of this electrical force. They gradually decompose until they give way entirely, when serious explosions and other accidents frequently follow.
But the amount of electricity which escapes in this manner is insignificant compared with the amount set free in wireless telegraphy.
It has been estimated that when the transmitting station and the receiving station are separated by only a mile, but one three-hundred-millionth of the total electrical energy generated for the purpose of a message is actually received on a surface one foot square. The rest escapes.
In the operation of the X-ray machine, extreme care has to be taken to prevent injury to the operator and subject. Such diseases as dermatitis, a species of cancer of the skin, and the falling of the hair are known to be caused by the powerful X-Rays. They affect the nerves of the roots of the hair, causing them to recede, with the result that the hair drops out. As there is no essential difference between the waves of wireless and X-Rays, scientists believe that a new disease of the teeth is a result the effect of ether waves upon the nerves of the teeth. The nerves shrivel up and the gum tissue atrophies, causing the teeth to lose their hold and drop out.
With the perfection of wireless telegraphy and the introduction of wireless telephony the amount of electrical ether waves in the air will be so immeasurably increased that more serious results than these must be appreciated. The effect of electrical waves on the eyes may be to produce blindness.
That these electrical waves are something to be feared is made more apparent from a remarkable photograph shown on this page.
A photograph plate exposed while experiments were in progress at a Marconi station actually reproduced the flashes which are believed to be the electric rays transmitting a message. This amounts practically to a photograph of a wireless message, but the more significant feature about the phenomenon is the fact that it shows in a most graphic manner that a wireless wave is just as dangerous a force in its way as a live wire!
Indeed, it is only by considering every wireless wave as a live wire instead of as a harmless ray that one can begin to realize the possible dangers of wireless telegraphy.
It may be that some ingenious electrician will discover a way of insulating the wireless waves, thus making them as harmless as insulated electric wires. Unless some process of insulation of this character is adopted, however, the only course for us to pursue will be to wear insulated garments to protect us. This garment will take the form of a rubber coat, with a helmet of the same material. The entire face will have to be kept covered, goggles being provided for the purpose of sight, and an air valve for breathing purposes.
The body is made up of untold millions of ions--magnetic particles--and these ions are continually revolving around each other. The effect of the powerful wireless rays upon these ions may be purely mechanical, such as causing a reversal of the direction in which the ions revolve. There can hardly be any doubt that such a phenomenon would bring about radical physiological changes, and the new tooth disease may very probably be the result of just such a cause.
It is to be hoped, however, that long before wireless waves are numerous enough to cause any considerable danger, some way will be found to isolate them and thus protect humanity.