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History of Communications-Electronics in the United States Navy, Captain Linwood S. Howeth, USN (Retired), 1963, pages 15-23:
Birth of Science of Radio and Development of Usable Components
1. BASIC REQUIREMENTS
Light, heat and electromagnetic waves all travel with the same velocity but differ in wave length. The sun sets up both light and heat waves in the ether which travel earthward and become perceptible to the senses through the eyes, as light, and through the skin, as heat. Electromagnetic waves are not perceptible to any of the human senses, therefore, their use for the telegraphic transmission of intelligence requires manmade apparatus. In simplest form, this consists of: (1) equipment for generating and radiating these waves into the ether; and, (2) a conductor upon which these waves impinge, connected to a suitable receiving circuit. When the transmitted waves reach the conductor and travel down its length they set up a flow of alternating current within it. The voltage induced is directly proportional to the amplitude of the impinging wave at that point. When this conductor is connected to a receiving circuit capable of translating these voltage changes into aural or visual presentations the receiving equipment is complete.1
2. BIRTH OF THE SCIENCE OF RADIO
The beginning, but not the application, of the science of radio must be attributed to the scientific efforts and vision of Michael Faraday and the mathematical genius of James Clerk Maxwell. In devising a primitive dynamo, Faraday demonstrated that an energized conductor transmits lines of force into surrounding space and that these can be harnessed and translated into useable energy. He further envisioned that these lines of force extended to infinity and that they were, in some manner, related to light.2 Maxwell translated Faraday's ideas and visions into mathematical equations. He proved that electromagnetic waves travel through space, with a speed exactly equal to that of light, in a direction transverse to that in which they are propagated.3
3. UNSUCCESSFUL ENDEAVORS TO COMMUNICATE WITHOUT WIRES
The first recorded effort to devise a system of electromagnetic communications without wires came shortly after Maxwell mathematically outlined and predicted the actions of electromagnetic waves. Dr. Mahlon Loomis, a dentist of Washington, D.C., became interested in the possibility of using electric waves for communication between two points. He conducted experiments in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the vicinity of Washington, and, by 1872, had obtained some measure of success. He applied for a United States patent, stating in the specifications which form a part of the Letters Patent:
. . . . What I claim as my invention or discovery, and desire to secure by Letters Patent, is.........................
Loomis was granted U.S. Patent No. 129,971, dated 30 July 1872, for "Improvement in Telegraphing," following which the matter was not pursued. U.S. patents were granted, for ideas similar to those of Loomis, to Professor Amos Dolbear in 1882, and to Phelps and Edison in 1885. In 1886 Dolbear was granted a U.S. patent on an induction system of wireless telegraphy. This patent was later claimed as the basis for establishing one of the first radio companies in the United States.
The utilization of natural electricity from elevated points by connecting the opposite polarity of the celestial and terrestrial bodies of electricity at different points by suitable conductors, and, for telegraphic purposes, relying upon the disturbance produced in the two electro-opposite bodies (of the earth and atmosphere) by an interruption of the continuity of one of the conductors from the electrical body being indicated upon its opposite or corresponding terminus, and thus producing a circuit or communication between the two without an artificial battery or the further use of wires or cables to connect the co-operating stations.4
4. HERTZ'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE SCIENCE OF RADIO
At the time Dolbear, Edison, and Phelps were endeavoring to develop communication systems not connected by wire, Henrich Hertz was experimentally investigating the nature of electromagnetic waves. In conducting his experiments he developed an oscillator for generating high-frequency electromagnetic waves.5 Essentially, this oscillator was the first radio transmitter.
A usable radio telegraph system still required a receiver capable of both detection and translation. Hertz developed a detector by adding metal balls to the ends of a wire about 7 feet long and then bending it into a ring with a short gap between the two balls. By increasing the area of the balls through the addition of small plates soldered to them, he was able to bring the ring into resonance with the oscillator. With the equipment in this "electrical condition" he was able to detect his oscillator transmissions, at distances up to 25 feet, by observing the spark across the gap of the detector.6
By further experimentation, Hertz was able to verify Maxwell's mathematical deductions. Additionally, he proved that electromagnetic waves obeyed the laws previously evolved concerning the action of light waves, and that they could be focused in beams of various widths by reflection from appropriately shaped metal surfaces.
It may well be that Hertz saw the possibility of his discoveries being developed into a mode of communication, or it may be that he was so deeply engrossed in the scientific aspects of the problem that he overlooked its practical side. His early death, 1894, deprived the world of the benefits of further experiments by him.
5. EARLY U.S. NAVY INTEREST IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS WITHOUT WIRE
During this same period, a young officer of the U.S. Navy, Lieut. Bradley A. Fiske, had become interested in the possibilities offered by communications without wires. He was convinced that the Navy was in need of some form of signaling that could be used during fog and darkness as well as by bright daylight. After studying all available scientific reports on the subject, he turned to the theories of Professor Dolbear. He wrote Dolbear, on 31 August 1888, asking him pertinent questions concerning the details of his system. At this time he was serving in the U.S.S. Atlanta, commanded by Captain Francis M. Bunce, USN, whom he regarded as,
One of the finest men I have ever known.
Helped me as much as he could in getting the Navy Department to let me have a little money now and then with which to get the electrical equipment made.7
His first experiment is best described by his own remarks made in 1899, during a demonstration of Marconi's apparatus;
I used wireless telegraphy before Marconi made his first experiments. I wound a number of turns of insulated cable around U.S.S. Atlanta, lying at New York Navy Yard, and likewise around a Navy Yard tug. I sent interrupted current through the Atlanta's coil and listened on the tug with a telephone receiver in series with a coil system. I could get signals a short distance away, but not far.
Incidentally, although not recognized as such at that time, this was probably the first instance of the application of the principle of "degaussing". Many years elapsed before this practical application of Fiske's idea would be conceived. In his book, "Electrical Engineering," Sylvanus Thompson noted that Fiske had constructed the largest electromagnet in the world--the 3,000-ton ship Atlanta.
In the years preceding World War II, all navies considered it necessary to obtain the best position relative to an enemy force, and at the same time be in the necessary disposition to deliver maximum gunfire in minimum time. This necessitated that many long hours be spent in exact station keeping and in executing complicated maneuvers in all kinds of weather and under all conditions of visibility. Of all the weather conditions, fog was the most dreaded, and many devices were developed to aid navigation under such a weather condition. One of Fiske's experiments, although not connected with the transmission of intelligence without wires, was an attempt to provide a solution of this problem. In his system, the vessels were to take station in column, and each, except the last, was to pay out an insulated wire, supported by a buoy that would be picked up by the ship astern, and connected to a similar permanent wire running the full length of each of the vessels. The fixed installation in the ships was to be a series circuit consisting of a battery and two telephones, one in the captain's cabin, the other, in the charthouse.8 Today few naval officers will consider that this idea possessed merit.
Fiske continued to manifest interest in the possibilities of radio for naval use. While in the U.S.S. Petrel off Chemulpo, Korea, during the summer of 1897, an article in the Scientific American aroused his interest. It occurred to him "That by sending out Hertzian waves of different frequencies, different apparatus at a distance, having vibration periods equal to those of the waves, could be operated." The thought also came to him that if "Only two different instruments at a distance were used, it would be easy to operate one at will without interfering with the other one." Being much interested in the torpedo it seemed that here was a possibility of overcoming one of its principal problems, that of making it maintain a desired course at constant depth. He sketched a simple diagram that day, about which years later he remarked, "It is I believe, at the bottom of all the schemes for using wireless telegraph for directing objects, that have been proposed and used since then." He sent the diagram, with amplifying descriptions to the Western Electric Co., stating that if the company would patent it in his name, he would assign the patent to them under any satisfactory agreement. He felt that while such was probably ahead of the times, it did appear to have considerable potential usefulness. The proposition was rejected on the basis that it was too far beyond practicality to warrant any expenditures upon it at that time. In the following June, however, Fiske received a letter from the New York manager of Western Electric, advising him that on May 2 he had been instructed to take out the patent and to do whatever else Fiske desired be done. He thereupon prepared and forwarded a patent application with the required papers. Upon his arrival in New York in February 1900, he discovered that his application had not been granted since Nikola Tesla had been granted one for practically the same idea. Fiske states:
Correspondence with the Patent Office disclosed a curious fact, which the Patent Office admitted, that they had made a mistake in issuing a patent to Tesla while another application for the same thing was being considered in the office.
Through the efforts of the Western Electric Co.'s legal staff, an arrangement was finally made with the Patent Office, whereby Fiske was granted a patent, dated 23 October 1900, underlying Tesla's. During its valid span he made no attempt at practical application of his invention. "Not because", he writes:
I did not see my way to applying it to steering one torpedo or vessel, but because I did not see my way clear to applying it to steering several simultaneously.
While there were some who gave him credit for the invention, he tells of seeing scores of notices where others in the United States and Europe claimed it for their own.9
Fiske's ideas were considered radical and fantastic at the time as was evidenced by the behavior of a battleship commander with whom he was discussing this idea during a casual visit. The captain listened politely, but when he finally understood the young officer's scheme he raised both hands above his head and disappeared down his cabin hatch. Shortly after these experiments, he himself discontinued these efforts and a few years later joined the large group of senior officers of the U.S. Navy who decried the use of radio as a means of naval communications.10
6. THEORIES AND DEVELOPMENTS FOLLOWING HERTZ'S DISCLOSURES
Following disclosure of the knowledge gained by the efforts of Hertz, numerous individuals, in this country and abroad, intensified their efforts to develop a system of telegraphic communications without wires. In 1892, Sir William Preece signaled between two points on the Bristol Channel, Loch Ness, Scotland, employing both induction and conduction to affect one circuit by the current flowing in another. In the same year, another Englishman, C. A. Stevenson, suggested, without experimentation, that telegraphic communications could be established between ships by coils of wire, "the larger the diameter the better to get induction at a great distance." In a lecture before The Franklin Institute, in February 1893, Nikola Tesla described a plan for the transmission of power without wires.
Prof. Edouard Branly, of France, developed his famous coherer in 1892. This device consists of a cell containing a granular conductor between two electrodes. When subjected to an electric current the granules cohere and become highly conductive. Unless the cell is jarred these granules continue to adhere to each other. When utilized in a radio receiving circuit the cell responds to the voltage rise, set up by the impinging radio waves, but afterwards continues to be a good conductor, unless, while the transmitting circuit is opened, it is jarred enough to decohere the granules.
The addition of a trembler, activated by local battery, was a simple solution which required no intricate timing system, since it made little difference if the cell was continuously tapped.11
Sir Oliver Lodge is credited as being the first to conceive the idea of using this device for receiving radio signals. His receiver was made up of a spark gap (antenna) across the terminals of the coherer which in turn was also connected in series in a circuit containing a battery and a relay for closing a separate battery-powered local circuit containing the battery, an ink recorder, and the trembler in series. In 1894, he demonstrated this equipment before the British Association for the Advancement of Science.12 Despite the fact that all the necessary components were at hand, Lodge, occupied with his teaching at the University of Liverpool, neglected to commercialize his system immediately.13
The following year, Prof. A. S. Popoff improved Lodge's receiver by the insertion of choke coils on each side of the relay to protect the coherer and by replacing the spark gap with a vertical antenna insulated at its upper end and connected to the ground through the coherer.14 Popoff utilized his equipment to obtain information for a study of atmospheric electricity.15 Like Lodge, he was too engrossed with teaching and science to concern himself over its practical aspects. On 7 May 1895, in a lecture before the Russian Physicist Society of St. Petersburg, he stated he had transmitted and received signals at an intervening distance of 6 hundred yards.
In the same year, Guglielmo Marconi, son of an Italian nobleman and an Irish mother, by using a Hertz oscillator and an antenna and a receiver very similar to Popoff's, successfully transmitted and received signals within the limits of his father's estate at Bologna, Italy.
Marconi can scarcely be called an inventor.16 His contribution was more in the fields of applied research and engineering development. He possessed a very practical business acumen and he was not hampered by the same driving urge to do fundamental research which had caused Lodge and Popoff to procrastinate in the development of a commercial system.
Forseeing little success in commercializing a radio system in Italy, he immediately set out for England17 where he applied for a British patent on his system, issued, in 1896 as No. 12,039.18
Through the efforts of Sir William Preece, and with the asset of a British patent guaranteeing his future rights, he succeeded in obtaining the financial support of wealthy Englishmen. On 20 July 1897, the Wireless Telegraphy and Signal Co., Ltd., was incorporated in England with a capitalization of £100,000. This company paid Marconi £15,000 in cash and £60,000 in stock for his patent in all countries, except Italy and her dependencies, which rights Marconi reserved for himself.19 The original purpose of the company was to provide radio telegraphy for lightships and lighthouses around the coast of England. In 1900, its name was changed to Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co., Ltd.; its purpose, to establish a worldwide monopoly in radio telegraphy.
In the effort to popularize the concept of monopoly control of wireless telegraphy and to further encourage other British people to invest, wide publicity was given the progress made in increasing the range of the equipment. Paralleling this, much effort was expended in educating people to consider Marconi as "the father of wireless telegraphy." These actions prompted an English writer to publish an article advising that, outside of England and a few of its colonies, other important commercial systems of wireless telegraphy were in more general use.20 Nevertheless, the founders of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph considered that only the Marconi interests had legal rights in this field and that their patent invalidated the use of radio by others, regardless of the circuitry used. In future years, this claim would be challenged21 many times and become the subject of considerable litigation.22 This concept did much to slow the development of radio.
7. IMPROVEMENT OF MARCONI EQUIPMENT
Immediately after his arrival in England, Marconi began increasing the power of his equipment. By the time the Wireless Telegraphy and Signal Company was formed, he had increased its range to eight miles. With financial support assured, he continued, step-by-step, building more and more powerful apparatus, until, in 1899, he succeeded in transmitting across the English Channel and still later, in 1902, in making the historic transmission across the Atlantic from England to Glace Bay.
On June 1898, Lord Kelvin visited Marconi's Alum Bay station, on the Isle of Wight, and sent from there the first paid radiograms. He had insisted that he be permitted to pay for their transmission, at the rate of a shilling per message, in order to show his appreciation of the system and to illustrate its immediate availability for commercial use. Messages were sent from him to Dr. McLean at Glasgow, Sir George Stokes at Cambridge, and to Lord Rayleigh and Sir William Preece in London. The first mentioned one read:
To McLean, Physical Laboratory, University, Glasgow.
On the following day, the Italian Ambassador, not to be outdone, forwarded a long telegram from the same station to the first aide-de-camp of the Italian King.23
Tell Blyth this is transmitted commercially through ether from Alum Bay to Bournemouth and by postal telegraph thence to Glasgow-Kelvin.
8. FIRST RADIO NEWS REPORTING
Radio has been a primary medium for the distribution of news for many years. The Wireless Telegraph and Signal Co. did not underestimate the possibilities promised by this field. The Dublin, Ireland, Daily Express, impressed with the Marconi claims, saw a possible opportunity to "scoop" their competitors. Its owners invited Marconi to radio reports of the Kingston Regatta of July 1898 from the steamer Flying Huntress, the first ship fitted with radio equipment for commercial purposes. Marconi stated that his reporting of the races was entirely satisfactory in every respect and that over 700 messages were sent and received during the regatta. Mr. M. V. Snyder, representative of the New York Herald, reported to Mr. James Gordon Bennett, its owner, the success of the Daily Express' use of radio bulletins. He was later instrumental in bringing Marconi to America for a like purpose.24
9. FIRST USES OF RADIO AS AN AID TO SAFETY OF LIFE AT SEA
Early in 1899 two dramatic incidents focused worldwide attention upon the value of radio for maritime safety. In January of that year, the East Goodwin Sands Lightship, battered by heavy seas and with part of its bulwarks carried away, sent a radio message which quickly brought assistance. Only a few months later, the same lightship had a very narrow escape from sinking when, in a dense fog at 4 o'clock in the morning, March 1899, it was rammed by the steamer R. F. Mathews outward bound from London. The East Goodwin Lightship was one of four light vessels marking the Goodwin Sands, and fortunately it happened to be the one with a radio installation. It immediately flashed "We have just been run into by the steamer R. F. Mathews, of London. Steamship is standing by us. Our bows badly damaged." Received by the South Foreland Lighthouse, the message was relayed to Trinity House authorities at Ramsgate. Tugs were dispatched, the lightship was towed out of danger and the entire crew saved. It was later proven in Admiralty Court that property to the value of £52,588, had been salvaged by the action resulting from the one short radio report of the accident.25
10. THE FIRST MARCONI COMPANY CONTRACT
Lloyds, the marine underwriter's association, maintained over a thousand agents and subagents, who in addition to other duties as representatives of that corporation, were especially charged to transmit, immediately, all the latest maritime intelligence from their respective districts. As the most extensive single system in the world for the collection, transmission, and dissemination of marine information, Lloyds was naturally interested in any means which would facilitate communication with remote areas. In May 1898, it negotiated with the Marconi Co. for the installation of radio apparatus at some of its signal stations. With his usual business perspicacity, Marconi incorporated the Marconi International Marine Communication Co. on April 1900, a subsidiary of Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. Ltd. On 26 September 1901, this new company entered into an agreement with Lloyds. Because of the repercussions which followed, the revelation of the monopolistic ideas of the Marconi interests, and the effect their contract policy was to have in later dealings with the U.S. Navy, a brief outline of the Lloyds agreement is of interest. Among other things, it provided for the erection of a series of radio stations on the English coast, the right of Lloyds to have Marconi, and only Marconi, apparatus installed at all their stations but not the right to utilize it to communicate with ships using radio equipment of other manufacture. Another stipulation required that Marconi apparatus would be used exclusively in equipping ships insured by Lloyds and, except along the coasts of the United States and Chile, these ship stations could not be used to communicate with ship or shore stations not using Marconi apparatus.26 The contract was to be in force for 14 years, which period covered the life of the Marconi patents then in force. Lloyds found itself unable to establish radio stations at the British colonies of Jamaica, Ceylon, Barbados, St. Helen, Perim, the Straits Settlements and Maritius, because the colonial governments made it a condition of their licenses that intercommunication would be permitted if required by an International Convention.27
In its grasping endeavor to establish a monopoly, the Marconi firm was soon faced with a suit over the interpretation of the Lloyds' contract. Lloyds contended, among other things, that the Marconi Co. had refused to equip its shore stations when these were located near Marconi stations. Losing the decision, the Marconi interests entered into a new contract with Lloyds in 1905. Differences were resolved and both organizations agreed to exert their "best efforts" to induce the British and foreign governments to grant no radio licenses to companies other than Marconi and Lloyds.28
Credit is due Lloyds for its early faith in and adoption of radio, because until this time communications between passing ships and between vessels and the Lloyds' signal stations had been carried out by flag hoists. To accomplish this, vessels were often required to approach dangerously close to treacherous areas or to make considerable detours from their most direct route.
11. RADIO TESTS IN THE ROYAL NAVY
The publicity given the Marconi interests and their accomplishments came to the attention of the Royal Navy. In 1899, equipments were placed aboard three ships for tests during summer maneuvers. During July these ships exchanged messages over a distance of 74 nautical miles.29
1 After science of electronics was applied to radio, a simpler means of accomplishing transmission of both telephonic and telegraphic intelligence was developed. This consists of generations of continuous waves of constant amplitude (carrier). Prior to transmission, the waveform of the carrier is modulated by imposing upon it a second waveform of perceptible frequency and varying amplitude. Reception of intelligence is accomplished by reversing the above process. The carrier wave is eliminated by demodulation, leaving only the lower frequency.
2 James Gerald Crowther, "British Scientists of the Nineteenth Century," (K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, London, 1935), pp. 106-122.
3 Ellison Hawks, "Pioneers of Wireless" (Methuen and Co., London, 1927.), p. 177.
4 E. H. Loftin, "Marconi-Father of Radio?", Radio-Craft, Jan. 1939, (Radcraft Publications Inc., Springfield, Mass.), p. 426.
5 W. Rupert Maclaurin, "Invention and Innovation in the Radio Industry," (the Macmillan Company, New York, 1949.), p. 16.
6 W. H. Eccles, "Wireless" (Oxford University Press, Home University Library. No. 160, London, 1933.), pp. 28-29.
7 Bradley A. Fiske, "From Midshipman to Rear Admiral," (the Century Co., 1919), pp. 98-99.
8 Bradley A. Fiske, "Fleet Telephony", United States Naval Institute Proceedings, March 1907, p. 240.
9 Bradley A. Fiske, "From Midshipman to Rear Admiral," (the Century Co., New York, 1919), pp. 230-231.
10 Infra, 6sec5.
11 E. H. Loftin, "Marconi-Father of Radio?" Radio-Craft, Jan. 1937, (Radcraft Publishing Company, Springfield, Mass.), p. 393, Claims A. S. Popoff devised the "tapping circuit."
12 Maclaurin, op. cit., pp. 18-19.
13 Oliver Lodge, "Past Years, An Autobiography," (Scribner's, New York, 1932.), p. 113.
14 Eccles, op. cit., pp. 53-54.
15 Hawks, op. cit., p. 202.
16 Sir William Preece: in a lecture before the Royal Institution, London, on 4 June 1897, stated: "Marconi had not discovered any new rays; Columbus did not invent the egg, but he showed how to make it stand on its end; and Marconi has produced from known means a new electric eye, a new system of telegraphy that will be a great and valuable acquisition." Loftin, op. cit., p. 427, states that Marconi, in the 20 years following 1895, obtained only 2 patents.
17 Orrin Elmer Dunlop, Jr., "Marconi-The Man and His Wireless" (Macmillan Co., New York, 1937.), p. 48, attributes the following statement to Marconi. "I first offered wireless to Italy, but it was suggested, since wireless was allied to the sea, it might be best that I go to England, where there was greater shipping activity, and, of course, that was a logical place from which to attempt trans-Atlantic signaling. Also my mother's relatives in England were helpful to me. I carried a letter of introduction to Sir William Preece. Mind you, Italy did not say the invention was worthless, but wireless in those days seemed to hold promise for the sea, so off to London I went."
18 The equivalent U.S. Patent, No. 586,193 was granted him on 13 July 1897.
19 Marconi testimony, Marconi Wireless Telegraph of America v. De Forest Radio Telephone and Telegraph Co., U.S.D.C., S.D.N.Y., in Equity 8211.
20 Loftin, op. cit., p. 426.
21 Commander F. M. Barber, USN (retired) who was keeping the U.S. Navy informed of radio developments in Europe stated in a letter addressed to Chief of the Bureau of Equipment, dated 6 Dec. 1901: "The Germans are wild over the Marconi monopoly. Such a monopoly will be worse than the English submarine cable monopoly which all Europe is groaning under and I hope the Navy Department of the United States will not get caught in its meshes." On November 4, 1935, the Court of Claims rendered decision against the Marconi Co., which claimed U.S. Government infringement of patents of $6,000,000. Page 52 of this 80-page decision, contains the following statement: "Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian scientist is sometimes called the father of wireless telegraphy but he was not the first to discover that electrical communications could be made without the use of connecting wire." Paradoxical as it may appear to the unanimous decision of the august Court of Claims of the United States and indicative of how firmly intrenched an incorrect appellation may become, Congress saw fit in Public Resolution No. 86, 75th Congress, to grant permission to the Marconi Memorial Foundation, Inc., to erect a memorial in Washington to Marconi as the inventor of radio telegraphy, which resolution was approved by the President on April 13, 1938. H. E. Hancock, "Wireless at Sea-The First Fifty Years," (Marconi International Marine Communication Co., Ltd., Chelmsford, England, 1950.). p. 2., quotes a letter of Mr. Kosilev, the Russian Ambassador to Italy, who in reply to an invitation to participate in the celebration in honor of Marconi in 1947, wrote: "We have to inform you that the fiftieth anniversary of the invention of wireless by the Russian inventor Popoff was celebrated in the Soviet Union in 1945 and was followed by a series of official functions and lectures at the Academy of Sciences in the U.S.S.R. For this reason it is not becoming that the US.S.R. should be represented at the Marconi celebrations.
22 W. Rupert Maclaurin, op. cit., p. 276, lists eight litigations instituted by American Marconi Co. in their effort to sustain a monopoly.
23 H. E. Hancock, "Wireless at Sea," (Marconi International Marine Communication Co, Ltd., Chelmsford, England, 1950.), p. 13.
24 Richard Norman Vyvyan, "Wireless Over Thirty Years" (G. Routledge and Sons, Ltd., 1933.), p. 18.
25 Navy Times, 24 Mar. 1956, (Army Times Publishing Co., Washington, D.C.), p. 27.
26 Memorandum on the International Wireless Telegraph Convention concluded at Berlin, Nov. 3, 1906, to Committee on Foreign Relations, Records of Bureau of Equipment, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
27 Report of Select Committee on Radio Telegraphic Convention, with Proceedings of the Committee, dated 8 July 1907 Records of Bureau of Equipment. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
28 Maclaurin, op. cit., pp. 37-38.
29 On 4 July 1900 the British Admiralty entered into a contract with Marconi Co. for installation of their apparatus on 26 ships and 6 coast stations, and for maintenance for a period of 14 years, the life of British patents. Complete apparatus for each ship and station was to be supplied by the company at a cost of £3,200, plus an annual royalty of the same amount during life of the contract. The contract stipulated that each set be tested and operate satisfactorily between Portland and Portsmouth, a distance of 65 miles. Additionally, it required Marconi Co. to train naval signalmen in use of the apparatus at that company's expense. A clause provided for renegotiation of annual royalty in event additional equipments were installed. This lease was the subject of considerable misunderstanding between the Royal Navy and Marconi Co. Under British law, Marconi stood in a somewhat precarious position in attempting to introduce his system into the United Kingdom. By act of Parliament, enacted in 1863, and amended in 1869, the government was given a monopoly over any telegraph apparatus for transmitting messages or other communication by means of electric signals. Several attempts were made from time to time to test validity of the government's position, but in every instance it was upheld. In 1899 Marconi Co. applied to the postmaster general for a license to use the system on land in England, but the government refused to grant it. If postal authorities, exercising the monopoly, had been so disposed, they could have compelled Marconi to close all his experimental stations, since he had not received official sanction for them. The Marconi firm, being protected by the Patents Act, the government was placed in the same position as a private individual. Although the government possessed the monopoly, it was unable to adopt the Marconi system without awarding compensation, either by purchasing the system outright, or by payment of royalty. In a later agreement, dated 24 July 1903, the Admiralty solved the problem by awarding Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. satisfactory compensation for naval installations. This agreement stipulated, among other things, "That they will pay to the Company on the execution of these presents the sum of £20,000 in consideration for the rights and privileges hereby granted and conferred and will also pay the Company within three months from the 31st day of March 1903 on production by the Company of the Certificates stipulated for in the Agreement of the 20th February 1901 the further sum of £1,600, being the amount of the royalty payable to them in respect of the 32 existing installations calculated up to that date. That if the Company shall duly perform its obligations under the Indenture they will pay to the Company on or before the 30th day of April in every year during the said period of 11 years the sum £5,000, the first of such payments to be made in April 1903 and to cover the period until 1904." (Agreement between Admiralty and Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co., Ltd., 24 July 1903, London, files Bureau of Equipment, National Archives, Washington, D.C.). The indenture, from which above excerpts were taken, covers seven pages, which, in brief, spanned a period of 11 years, (expiring in 1914) and granted the Admiralty right to full use of Marconi patents then existing and future, and to exclusive use of a long-distance station for 20 minutes every day, to priority over all other messages, to supply of all apparatus at current prices, and to information concerning any improvement in apparatus or in methods of signaling. (British "Report from the Select Committee on Radio Telegraphic Convention, with proceedings of the Committee", dated 8 July 1907, London, files, Bureau of Equipment, National Archives, Washington, D.C.).
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