That the masts and other appliances be established and maintained at the Light Stations without cost to the Treasury Department and erected at such points on the Light Station sites as the Lighthouse Establishment designated.With the envisioned establishment of quite a few stations and the consequent requirement for operators, plans were made for setting up school units at Newport, New York, and San Francisco for the instruction of personnel in operating and maintenance. The Bureau of Navigation was tardy in implementing these plans, and when, in 1903, they detailed 13 students to the school at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the number was far less than the existing requirement. This caused a temporary decline in the rate of progress of the installation program.
That Navy personnel connected with the erection and maintenance of the wireless installation at Light Stations not interfere with employees at the Light Stations and that they be subordinate to and under the supervision of the Principal Lightkeeper at each Light Station.
That the masts and wireless equipment be removed from the Light Stations by the Navy Department whenever requested by the Treasury Department in the interest of the Lighthouse Establishment.
|Slaby-Arco transmitter--Consolidated receiver||30|
|Slaby-Arco De Forest composite|
In considering the results of tests conducted and the action of the instruments during tests, the board is of the opinion that the Slaby-Arco apparatus is the one best adapted to naval use among all the various systems tried, not only on account of its greater range, but also on account of its reliability, freedom from interference, adjustability, and ease of manipulation by unskilled or poorly trained operators, and the Board therefore recommends that sufficient sets of this apparatus be purchased to install on naval vessels and shore stations which it is desired to equip.18
On account of pressure of other business, and the fact that the apparatus constructed for this test would be special and could not be used elsewhere it is not certain that our Company would dare to supply apparatus at its own expense and it would probably be better for the Department to do as it had done in the case of the other companies, i.e., order from us a couple of sets of apparatus wound to meet your requirements. These we would be willing to furnish for the sum of $5,000.00 it being distinctly understood, however, that this price was not to form a precedent but is merely made so that you can arrange to test our apparatus at as little expense to the Department as possible.25In the interim, Fessenden demonstrated his equipment to Hudgins at Fortress Monroe, and, in informal conversations, provided details and outlined its advantages. Fessenden advised the Board that, as of 23 July 1903, there were Fessenden stations in actual operation at Cape Charles City, Old Point Comfort, and Ocean View, Va.; New York City; Philadelphia; and Point Reyes, Calif., and several places in Brazil. The Board asked him to provide them a list of stations he contemplated establishing within the next 6 months, to which he replied:
I would say that we have not yet decided as to the exact points but we do expect to erect some thirty or forty stations during that time.26On 5 September 1903, he wrote the Secretary of the Navy a letter from which the following is quoted:
I should also like to have an interview with you to secure some information as to the best means of taking up the question of royalties on apparatus which are due us from the Navy. As you are aware, the Navy has purchased some twenty or thirty sets of Slaby-Arco apparatus which apparatus infringes a number of our most important patents. In fact, the Slaby-Arco people would not be able to operate more than a few miles if it were not for the fact that they are using the methods invented by us and covered by our U.S. Patents. These patents have been investigated by Messrs. Kenyon & Kenyon, who are perhaps the most eminent patent lawyers in this country, who have declared them valid and sustainable in court.This letter continued with Fessenden inviting attention to the difference in the attitudes of the United States and German Governments relative to radio. In Germany, Professor Slaby had been granted considerable sums of money, and every possible assistance, including a decoration by the Kaiser and the adoption of his system by his Government. This, "in spite of the fact that the forms are largely made up of methods devised and patented by us and by the Marconi Co." In contrast with the actions of the German Government, in the United States, where his firm had spent in excess of $100,000 to date in experimental work, and had devised apparatus which "is vastly more sensitive and very much more reliable, which can be used for sending code messages in all kinds of weather and which is very much more free from outside disturbances," the Government declined to purchase a single set of apparatus. He deplored the fact, that, far from giving him any encouragement at all, it had gone abroad to buy equipment which "is not only very much inferior to ours but which obtains what value it has from the fact that it is an embodiment of the ideas invented and patented by us." He opined that such a state of affairs would cease to exist when brought to the attention of the Secretary of the Navy. He, therefore, requested a personal interview in order to resolve the matter in the shortest possible time.27
We therefore are desirous of taking the proper steps to secure the royalties due us from the Navy for the use of our patented apparatus as used by the Slaby-Arco people. These royalties will amount to somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,000.00 per set and the total will therefore amount to considerable.
That the United States inventor's apparatus was offered to the Navy at less than actual cost of manufacture, i.e. $2,500 and that even in lots of 50, the apparatus gives but a small profit when sold for $4,000 per set. The lowest price offered to other parties has been $5,000 per set, this giving a 40 percent profit or less.Upon receipt of this letter, the Secretary decided that prior to granting his requested interview it would be best to obtain some knowledge of this individual who was continually flooding his office with complaints. Since Fessenden had recently been in the employ of the Department of Agriculture, he requested a written opinion of him from the Secretary of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture's reply was forthcoming within the week. It stated that Mr. Fessenden had been employed in the Weather Bureau from 19 January 1900 to 31 August 1902, but had been suspended for "disobedience of orders and insubordination" and had resigned while under this suspension. It confirmed the fact that Fessenden had patented a number of devices but stated that they were of dubious value. He was said to be "intractable and insubordinate as an employee, unreliable in his statements and extravagant in his claims as to the performance and possibilities of his inventions."29
That if the German manufacturer had to pay the same price for labor as is paid in America or had to pay duty, and if he forwarded the apparatus complete to the same extent as the American inventor, he could not sell it for less than $2,500.
That if the German inventor had to pay the heavy expense of making his own inventions instead of appropriating American inventions, and if he had no more encouragement from his own government than the American inventor had from the United States Government, he could not sell the apparatus for less than $5,000 per set.
That the Slaby-Arco apparatus will not operate to any useful extent without infringing the American inventor's patents.28