Tufts College Graduate, Spring 1916, pages 204-210:
WIRELESS FACTS AND PURPOSES
There is only one place where a Tufts man can know all he wants to know about "our" Power and his Wireless Plant; that's right at the Plant. Even there one may have his difficulties; for the nature of the work is such that even the "most favored nation" principle is now null and void, and privacy prevails, except within the precincts of the Tufts Wireless Club's room. However, we can give some pictures and report talks. Following is the substance of Power's informal address to the New York Alumni on February 4:
I am very pleased to know of your keen interest in the doings on the Hill, and I wish to thank you for this opportunity of telling you of our activities in the radio field.
The Boston Globe of March 27 had a neatly spiced story about the furnishing of a concert, via the atmosphere, to J. P. Morgan while he was approaching the American coast on his return from Europe. It is a fact that music has been sent out from the Tufts Station, and that the sending of it has attracted attention. But the sending of music is merely incidental to the important improvements which have been made and are being developed toward commercial efficiency. After a good bit of diaphanous paragraphing, the Globe says:
As you know, the Tufts Wireless Society was organized in the fall of 1910. It had a rather unique beginning. As usual we freshmen had to write an English theme entitled "A College Suggestion." Joseph A. Prentiss and myself, unbeknown to each other, suggested the organization of a Wireless Society at the College. At first the idea of another Society at the College was discouraged. Nevertheless I outlined the procedure as follows. What I wished to see at Tufts was a good course in Radio Engineering offered by the College. To attain this end I suggested the formation of a Wireless Society, through whose efforts a course could be gotten together and in that way free the College from the development expense of offering a new course.
The Society was formed, and numbered about seven charter members. As we had no apparatus, the work of the Club for the first year took the form of a series of lectures on the theory of radio-telegraphy participated in by all the members.
The following year we succeeded in obtaining quarters in Robinson Hall through the interest of Professor Harry G. Chase. Here we installed a small but complete outfit for the sending and receiving of messages, each member donating some piece of apparatus from his station at home.
The range of this station was fifty miles. With this set we aided the Athletic Association by getting the reports of the Harvard-Yale game by wireless and posting them on a bulletin board erected at the Oval, and so kept the crowd at our own game informed regarding the other.
The following year a room was granted the Society in Paige Hall. About the same time I succeeded in getting a high powered transmitting set which I installed in Paige Hall, and there our real work began. During this period of time the Society was growing stronger in numbers and ability. Here we succeeded in hearing messages from as far distant as Key West, and combined theory and practical experimenting.
After graduation I spent a year experimenting, but did not forget my freshman ambition of having a course in radio- telegraphy at the Hill.
Having devised some inventions to improve the working of radio plants, and not having the necessary equipment to perfect these ideas, I decided to interest some capital in my plans. I also saw the need of systematic research work in the radio science. Securing the necessary capital, a company was organized last June, the American Radio and Research Corporation, to undertake the solution of the serious problems hampering the success of wireless.
Next came the question of where I should locate my new laboratory, and this isg when the idea struck me of trying to lease a tract of the College land. By so doing I could aid the College materially, see the fulfilment of my freshman ambition, and at the same time aid my new company. For by locating the plant at Tufts I should make no mistake as to the efficient working location of the new station.
I went to President Bumpus, told my story, and he was with me from the start. I wish to take this opportunity of telling you men that we are fortunate in having secured such a broad-minded and active man as President Bumpus for the head of our Alma Mater. I owe a lot to his hearty cooperation that we now have located at Tufts one of the best radio experimental stations in the world.
Of course there were many objections from the directors of my Company when I suggested to them that we locate at the College. However, by good arguing I brought them around to see the advantages of such an arrangement.
One of my main reasons for locating at the Hill was on account of the lack of publicity our Alma Mater has had in the past. My expectations in this line have been far surpassed already. The falling of the new tower, for instance, was a most fortunate accident; for a featured account of it was published everywhere in the United States. In fact, we even got into the movies, which were shown all over the country. Of course, if anyone had been injured or killed, it would have been quite another story.
The accident was due to insufficient strength of the temporary guy-ropes. As we had not accepted the tower, we have as yet realized no financial loss. The new tower has been completed for the past three months and has withstood gales as high as ninety miles per hour.
Under the terms of the agreement, the College gives my Company the use of the tract of land on the northwest side of the Campus for a period of eight years. In return we have erected a model building which has been presented as a gift to the College, but which we have the right to occupy for eight years. Then the College will have the building for its sole use. One room, with an outside entrance, is already being used by the College Wireless Society, and the use of the 300-foot tower and the antennae is enjoyed at times by Tufts students. Hence the College receives immediate benefit from our location here.
The building is constructed of stucco with a very heavy foundation. It is absolutely vibration proof, and so enables us to perform extremely accurate measurement work. From the roadway one might think the laboratory only one story high, but it is really a two-story building, for it is built on the side of the Hill.
In the basement is as fine a machine shop as one could wish for. We have a very flexible equipment. The machinery comprises a lathe, two spindle upright precision drills, circular saw, wood saw, large drill, power hack-saw, jewelers' lathe, emery and buffing wheels, and a universal milling machine. These machines, together with all kinds of hand tools, give us means whereby anything, from a watch to an automobile, can be made on the spot. The purpose of this shop is to enable us to have any kind of scientific apparatus made to order in our own building, and constructed exactly as our experimentation dictates.
Mr. Power has revolutionized wireless transmission by s single device which he has already invented. This is a simple apparatus that effectually prevents atmospheric or static electricity from interfering with wireless messages. In the warm months the interference is much greater than in Winter and at times the interruptions are so serious and continuous as entirely to break up the transmission of messages.
"The real problem" may be stated in another way. It is the problem of "modulating" the transmission current in such a way as to render it available for use in telephonic work. The recently performed feat of transmitting vocal utterance from Arlington, Virginia, to points in Europe and in the Pacific Ocean is acknowledged to have been under purely experimental, non-commercial conditions. Mr. Power is not without hope that he will be able to make definite progress toward the goal of practical wireless telephony. His friends certainly hope he will; and there are indications that some "outsiders" are a bit afraid that he will.
The elimination of this source of interruption is one of the very great achievements in the development of the wireless in recent years. Mr. Power has patents on his device, which as yet is guarded as a secret. He does not intend to bring it out until the end of the European war. He has, however demonstrated it to wireless men. Last Summer he spent some time at the Station at Sayville, which works with Germany, demonstrating his device. The operators there were amazed at its powers. In bad weather--that is, when the air was electrically charged--they could work only two hours a day. By means of the Power device they found no limit to their hours of work, so far as static interference went.
This device, installed at the Sayville Tuckerton stations on this side of the water and at the Berlin station, would enable Germany to get on very nicely without cable communication, the loss of which, at the hands of England, her Ambassador at Washington from time to time has bitterly deplored.
Mr. Power's apparatus is said to differ from that now commonly in use in that it discards the spark system of transmitting, substituting therefor a series of bulbs, like electric light bulbs, in which the marvel of silent transmission is accomplished. It is said that this type of transmitter is used in his device for sending music.
To the non-technical mind, Mr. Power's transmission of music appears to blend the powers of wireless telephony with those of the wireless telegraph. The problem has been to introduce music or the voice into the transmitted waves. The real problem of such transmission is said to lie in combining clear articulation with low range. Although it is not claimed that Mr. Power's invention is fully perfected, his results, as evidenced by the reports from various stations, are considered highly satisfactory.