"The Aerogram" was a promotional publication issued by the United Wireless Telegraph Company, so, despite the author's assurances, this is far from an unbiased review of the early development of the U.S. radio industry. However, it does provide some interesting details about the predecessor companies to United Wireless, which in 1908 was the dominant radio company in the United States. Abraham White is conspicuous by his absence -- he had been the founder and president of the various earlier DeForest companies, and had formed United Wireless in late 1906, only to be forced out by Christopher Columbus Wilson a few months later. And in spite of the claims in this article, Wilson would prove to be no more honest than White, as United Wireless actually continued to lose huge amounts of money on its day-to-day radio operations, because it was really designed to enrich company insiders, by promoting near-worthless stock offerings at vastly inflated prices.
The Aerogram, November, 1908, pages 125-132:


By  Robert  Matthews

(Copyright  1908  by  Aerogram  Pub.  Co.)
IT is often remarked "there is a time and place for all things." The time is now opportune and there can be no better place for a rehearsal of facts and a statement of actual conditions of present-day wireless operation, than the printing of such facts in a publication which circulates where wireless is in use and among many who are fully informed and know the truth. Under such conditions this article will appear. It is hoped that it may correct some erroneous impressions and aid to bring the Wireless Telegraph honestly before the public.*
    The early development and growth of every really great discovery seems to have been afflicted with as many troubles as the human child experiences up to the time, when with the strength and ability to defend himself, he places a chip on his shoulder and dares his playmates to remove it. wireless stations
    The wireless telegraph, a child of the human brain, can claim no exception to the general rule. While some of the troubles may be distinguished by modern names, they are the same old ailments. It has been fostered and encouraged by some scientists, inventors, engineers, mechanics, governments, investors and publicists. It has been opposed by others ignorant, jealous, skeptical, dishonest, vicious, selfish and grasping. Born to benefit mankind, it must struggle for its very life. Under difficulties it has thrived. To-day it is established and recognized as a commercial success and necessity. The wireless telegraph is here, real, virile, expanding. Now able to fight its own battles, it will grow day by day stronger and richer. Day by day it will reach out its tentacles and grasp ships on the vast oceans, a city or a village here and there, an island in a distant sea, until every ship afloat, every inhabited island of the world and every village on the Continents will be embraced in a vast system of wireless inter-communication. And behold we have a system greater, broader, stronger, richer than any yet conceived. Such may be the future of the wireless telegraph operations.
    The first patent relating to telegraphing without wires, so far as can be ascertained from the American records, was taken out by Mahlon Loomis, of Washington, D. C., on July 30, 1872, being No. 129,971 and witnessed by C. C. Wilson, which seems an odd coincidence when one considers that the man who aided in taking out the first "wireless" patent, bears the same initials and name as does the President of the United Wireless Telegraph Company, who is chiefly responsible for making the United Company the first commercially successful operating wireless telegraph company established in the entire world.
    In October, 1886, Professor A. E. Dolbear, of Tufts College, took out his patent, it being No. 350,299. This was followed by others issued to Adee in 1888; Edison in 1891; Kitsee in 1895; Marconi in 1897; Lodge in 1898; Walter in 1899; Collins in 1900; Johnson and Fortice, Ducretet, Shoemaker, Burry, Davis, and Tesla during 1901; Ehret, Tourmasina, Fessenden, Pickard, Stone, and DeForest and Smythe in 1902. Most of these patents were on details of apparatus and are now practically obsolete. Since 1902 a great number of patents, of a like nature, have been issued and the most essential of them, as well as those of earlier date, are now controlled by the operating companies.
    The first company to be formed in America, with the avowed purpose of making use of wireless as a means of communication in commercial service, was the American Wireless Telegraph and Telephone Company, which was organized during 1900, in Philadelphia, being based on the patents of Collins. About that time the American Marconi and the Canadian Marconi companies were formed, being subsidiary to the English Marconi, and in 1902 the first DeForest Company came into existence.
    The American Wireless Telegraph and Telephone Company organized subsidiary companies as follows: New England Wireless Telegraph and Telephone Company; Federal Wireless Telegraph and Telephone Co.; Atlantic Wireless Telegraph and Telephone Company; and Northwestern Wireless Telegraph and Telephone Company. These companies were all merged into the Consolidated Wireless Telegraph and Telephone Company, which in turn was succeeded by the International Wireless Telegraph and Telephone Co.
    The first DeForest Company was the Wireless Telegraph Company of America, which was quickly succeeded by the DeForest Wireless Telegraph Company, having a capital of $3,500,000; the next was a company with the same name, but with an increased capital, amounting to $5,000,000. The International Company had a capital of $10,500,000, and the two were merged into one company called the American DeForest Wireless Telegraph Company, which had authorized an issue of $15,000,000 of stock and $500,000 of bonds, the date of the incorporation of this company being November, 1902.
    The records show that in every merger the stock of the new company was offered in exchange for the stock of the old company or companies, and many investors who purchased stock in the first company that was organized in America, have transferred their stock, whenever requested, and to-day hold stock in the United Wireless Telegraph Company, representing their original investment. It would appear, from these facts, that of all the various companies which have been instrumental in advancing the art, step by step, a purchaser of wireless stock in any of the companies which had preceded the United Wireless Telegraph Company, a corporation made up of the holders of stock in the American DeForest, could have protected his interest had he been so inclined, without any additional cash payment.
    The result of these numerous promotions and later consolidation was eventually, so far as America is concerned, two prominent companies operating under well-known systems, viz., the Marconi and the DeForest. The former had a number of trans-Atlantic steamships equipped (understood to be controlled by the English Company) and with a great show and promise of coast extensions, inland station and trans-Atlantic "Cable" service, sold the stock of the subsidiary American Company and the Canadian Company, to whomsoever would buy.
    The American DeForest Company organized a subsidiary company to operate on the Atlantic Coast, one for the Great Lakes, and one for the Pacific Coast, but was satisfied to sell the stock and bonds of the parent company, of which there seemed ample to go around. The company did go in to establish stations, and equip boats for commercial operation and conducted an extensive business at some profit, in individual cases, and placed a considerable amount of its apparatus with the governments of this and foreign countries, at a good profit.
    There seemed so much apparently honest purpose behind it all, the reports issued by its chief officer rang so true, many able men of the highest integrity and abundant enthusiasm were attracted, first as investors, then as workers for the company, and through their efforts the public invested and invested again and again. In the meantime, the system was being rapidly extended, wireless masts reared their proud heads skyward above all the surrounding country, litigation over patents went on merrily, winning a point or losing a point now and then, and everybody was happy in the belief of a great future.
    Then they woke up.
    The stock of the American Marconi Company had been traded in by brokers and sold above par. That company's own statement showed no respectable progress and claimed assets valued at not exceeding three per cent. of the entire issued capital. Nothing has been done, or at least no public record can be found where any effort has been made, to rectify this great wrong. The American Company to-day lays claim to only three operating stations.
    The Canadian company's stock was sold at correspondingly high prices and only one operating station is claimed by it. So much for the Marconi companies.
    The American DeForest stock seemed to have taken a different route. The company's own Authorized Representatives, most of them undoubtedly earnest and honest in their belief of the future success of the company, sold the preferred stock for the company, at prices ranging from ten to fifteen dollars per share. At the same time brokers were selling the stock at about one-sixth the company's price.
    November, 1906, the United Wireless Telegraph Co. was formed. With a blare of trumpets it was launched and heralded far and near as a combination of the "Two Big Companies," the Marconi and the DeForest. The same people were behind it, the president of the American DeForest and a firm of brokers who had been prominent in selling the Marconi stock, at the inflated prices. The "United" Company was to be a world-wide monopoly--but no investor in any of the old companies should lose their stock was exchangeable for "United" stock. The American DeForest shareholder who had invested his money with the company's authorized representative and paid, in the latter days, as high as $15.00 per share, could turn in two shares of American DeForest and $2.00 of good money and receive one share of "United" stock, which could be purchased for $8.00 cash.
    The public didn't bite. Holders of DeForest stock had been warned, personally and by mail, by the agents who were honest in advising them to buy, not to accept such exchange. These agents and investors got together.
    February 14, 1907, the United Company was reorganized under new management--a management composed entirely of those who had invested in wireless, and had undoubted honesty, integrity and ability--there was no promotion stock. A new basis of exchange was offered to the DeForest shareholders. To those who had purchased from the company's authorized agents eleven shares of preferred stock was given for every $100 invested. Common stock bought from these same agents was exchangeable, share for share. To those who bought from brokers (at an average price--estimated--of $1.66 per share, or 60 shares for $100) one share of "United" preferred for six shares of DeForest was given. The common stock of the DeForest, purchased from brokers, was exchanged on the same basis of six for one. No cash was required in ANY case. Thus all investors were treated justly, by receiving credit, in proportion to the actual cash they invested; the only exceptions were those who paid more than the "average price," when they purchased through brokers. This offer was held open for nearly twelve months, during which time several letters urging the transfer were mailed to every shareholder of record on the books of the DeForest Company, and the DeForest authorized agents saw most of their customers and advised them to exchange. Nearly 15,000 investors exchanged their stock and received the protection thus offered.
    The foregoing is the story of the Wireless Telegraph, from its inception, up to about a year ago, which is the date of the beginning of the real, substantial commercial development and expansion of the wireless telegraph in America. It is a true, if not a pretty story.
    Of "United" Wireless, during the past twelve months, every move has been one of accomplishment and solid expansion. Out of chaos has emerged an orderly, commercially profitable, well managed business enterprise of great promise. The capability of the management is proved by results. Fifteen thousand living, breathing witnesses bear evidence of the character of its Officers and Directors, and the fact is incontrovertible that they have proved themselves "stickers" and possessors of a moral backbone, with meat in it. Wireless must go forward and it seems logical that the United Company, which has become so great, under such adverse circumstances, shall maintain its present supremacy.
    The past is gone; what have we to-day?
    There is in America forty-seven commercial land stations, which keep vessels along its coast in constant communication with the balance of the world. There are also as many U. S. Government coast stations, located principally at its navy yards, forts, lighthouses, lightships, etc., and in Alaska. There are thirty-two lines or companies that have ships equipped with the wireless telegraph and the majority of the ships of the U. S. Navy have wireless apparatus installed. In addition, the Marconi system is on about fifteen lines with ships equipped in Europe, which make American ports.
    Of the several systems, or apparatus, or parts of apparatus, announced by various experimenters and inventors, the Marconi Company have the Marconi inventions; the United Wireless Telegraph Company own or control the inventions, of Shoemaker, DeForest, Marshall, Babcock, Marriott, Athearn, Butcher and others. The National Electric Signalling Co. have the inventions of Fessenden; then there is the "Clark," the "Pacific" and the "Massie" Companies, of which none has any well-defined system or claims. The "Clark" and the "Pacific" Companies have erected stations and equipped one or two boats where they are selling stock. The Massie Company has one land station, leased to the Fall River Line, and three or four boats equipped under contract to work with that station. In addition to these the Slaby-Arco and the Telefunken System (foreign) have placed a small amount of apparatus in this country.
    Practically all of the commercial wireless business of America is done with the "United" System. During the past three years the Marconi Company has contracted with no new steamship companies that have vessels coming to America, and its apparatus is on the ships of only about fifteen companies, making American ports. The United Company has contracts with thirty-one lines or companies, and the Massie Company has the Fall River Line boats. This comprises commercial operation and does not take account of stations or ships equipped for experiment or stock-selling.
    Of the following list of commercial land stations, which includes those in operation in America to-day, the Marconi stations work only with trans-Atlantic steamships traversing the routes from New York "eastward." The Massie station at Willets' Point, Conn., serves only Long Island Sound boats. The "United" stations extend from Boston, Mass., to Galveston, Texas, on the Atlantic and Gulf, including Havana, Cuba, and from Lower California to Alaska on the Pacific Coast. The Atlantic and Gulf stations of the United Company serve vessels on trans-Atlantic routes, coastwise shipping from Portland, Me., to Galveston, Texas; Cuba, Panama, Porto Rico and South America. On the Pacific Coast the "United" stations serve vessels from San Francisco to Honolulu and the far East, Coast-wise shipping and three Alaskan lines:
    Stations at Sea Gate, L. I.
Sagaponack, L. I.
Siasconset, Mass.
    Station at Camperdown, N. S.
    South Wellfleet, Mass.
    Station at Willets' Point, Conn.
Boston, Mass.    Norfolk, Va.
Bridgeport, Conn.    Cape Hatteras, N. C.
New York City:    Elizabeth City, N. C.
    Broadway.    Charleston, S. C.
    Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.    Savannah, Ga.
    Plaza Hotel.    Key West, Fla.
    Manhattan Beach.    Havana, Cuba.
Albany, N. Y.    Mobile, Ala.
Galilee, N. J.    Fort Morgan, Ala.
Atlantic City, N. J.    New Orleans, La.
Philadelphia, Pa.    Port Arthur, Tex.
Baltimore, Md.    Galveston, Tex.
Tampa, Fla.    Port Bolivar, Tex.
San Diego, Cal.    Aberdeen, Wash.
Catalina Island, Cal.    Tacoma, Wash.
Los Angeles, Cal.    Seattle, Wash.
San Francisco, Cal.    Friday Harbor, Wash.
Eureka, Cal.    Victoria, B. C.
Portland, Ore.    Vancouver, B. C.
Westport, Ore.    Cordova, Alaska.
Astoria, Ore.    Katella, Alaska.
    Of the companies using the "Marconi" system, the vessels are equipped with apparatus of foreign manufacture; those equipped by the "United Company" are equipped in America with apparatus manufactured entirely in the United States.
    Of the companies running regular passenger ships to European ports, the following use the Marconi System:
North German Lloyd.    Atlantic Transport.
White Star Line.    Dominion Line.
Red Star Line.    Anchor Line.
American Line.    Hamburg-American.
Cunard Line.    Holland-American.
Italian Line.    French Line.
Lloyd Sebaudo Line.
Harry Shoemaker     The following companies use the United Wireless System in trans-Atlantic service:
    Russian East Asiatic Line.
    Scandinavian Line.
    Royal Mail Steam Packet Co.
    Standard Oil Co.
    The following companies having ships engaged in Atlantic and Gulf coast trade and to Cuba, Bermuda, Porto Rica, the West Indies, Panama, Central America and South America, use the United System:
    Mallory Line.
    Royal Mail Steam Packet Co.
    New York & Porto Rican S. S. Co.
    Red "D" Line.
    Ocean Steamship Co.
    Consolidated Coal Co.
    Maine Steamship Co.
    Old Dominion Steamship Co.
    Metropolitan S. S. Co.
    C. D. Clark Towing Co.
    Vacarro Bros. Independent S. S. Co.
    Quebec Steamship Co.
    Standard Oil Co.
    Hamburg-American Line (Atlas Service).
    New York & Cuban Mail S. S. Co.
    Southern Pacific S. S. Co.
    Panama Steamship Co.
    United Fruit Co.
    Clyde Steamship Co.
    J. M. Guffey Petroleum Co.
    Hudson River Day Line.
    People's Line.
    The following companies have ships on the Pacific, equipped with the United Wireless Telegraph Company's apparatus:
    Alaska Pacific Co.
    Matson Navigation Co.
    Associated Oil Co.
    Alaska Steamship Co.
    Chlopeck Fish Co.
    Standard Oil Co.
    Alaska Coast Co.
    Inland Navigation Co.
    The United States Government has also been active in extending the use of the wireless telegraph, and besides having numerous coast stations and ships equipped, has expended over $100,000, during this year, on its Alaskan system, which covers many inland places, as well as coast points. The following is a list of its stations and boats equipped with wireless:
Annapolis, Md.    Nantucket Shoal, light-ship No. 66.
Cape Henry, Va.    Nantucket Shoal, light-ship No. 78.
Pensacola, Fla.    Newport, R. I.
San Juan, Porto Rico.    Fire Island, N. Y.
Guantanamo, Cuba.    Navy Yard, N. Y.
North Head, Wash.    Cape Henlopen, Del.
Yerba Buena Island, Cal.    Washington, D. C.
Norfolk, Va.    Navy Yard, Puget Sound, Wash.
Key West, Fla.    Tatoosh Island, Wash.
Culebra, West Indies.    Cape Cod, Mass.
Colon, Canal Zone.    Cape Blanco, Ore.
Mare Island, Cal.    Table Bluff, Cal.
Point Loma, Cal.    Taralton Islands, Cal.
Cavite, P. I.    Point Argrello, Cal.
Diamond Shoal, light-ship No. 71.    Island of Oahu, Hawaii.
Diamond Shoal, light-ship No. 72.    Island of Guam.
Beaufort, N. C.    Sitka, Alaska.
Charleston, S. C.    Nome, Alaska.
Charleston, light-ship No. 34.    St. Michaels, Alaska.
St. Augustine, Fla.    Fairbanks, Alaska.
Jupiter Inlet, Fla.    Circle City, Alaska.
New Orleans, La.    Fort Gibbon, Alaska.
Cape Elizabeth, Me.    Eagle City, Alaska.
Portsmouth, N. H.    Egbert, Alaska.
Boston, Mass.    Cordova, Alaska.
U.S.S. Boston.    U.S.S. Kearsarge.
U.S.S. Colorado.    U.S.S. Kentucky.
U.S.S. Mayflower.    U.S.S. Lebanon.
U.S.S. West Virginia.    U.S.S. Louisiana.
U.S.S. Cleveland.    U.S.S. Maine.
U.S.S. Iowa.    U.S.S. Marietta.
U.S.S. Missouri.    U.S.S. Maryland.
Revenue Cutter Algonquin.    U.S.S. Milwaukee.
Revenue Cutter Seminole.    U.S.S. Minnesota.
U.S.S. Alabama.    U.S.S. Mississippi.
U.S.S. Albany.    U.S.S. Montana.
U.S.S. Baltimore.    U.S.S. Nebraska.
U.S.S. Birmingham.    U.S.S. New Hampshire.
U.S.S. Buffalo.    U.S.S. Newark.
U.S.S. California.    U.S.S. New Jersey.
U.S.S. Charleston.    U.S.S. New Orleans.
U.S.S. Chattanooga.    U.S.S. North Carolina.
U.S.S. Chester.    U.S.S. Ohio.
U.S.S. Chicago.    U.S.S. Olympia.
U.S.S. Cincinnati.    U.S.S. Paducah.
U.S.S. Columbia.    U.S.S. Pennsylvania.
U.S.S. Concord.    U.S.S. Prairie.
U.S.S. Connecticut.    U.S.S. Rainbow.
U.S.S. Denver.    U.S.S. Raleigh.
U.S.S. Des Moines.    U.S.S. Rhode Island.
U.S.S. Dixie.    U.S.S. Salem.
U.S.S. Dolphin.    U.S.S. South Dakota.
U.S.S. Don Juan de Austria.    U.S.S. St. Louis.
U.S.S. Dubuque.    U.S.S. Supply.
U.S.S. Elcano.    U.S.S. Tacoma.
U.S.S. Galveston.    U.S.S. Tennessee.
U.S.S. Georgia.    U.S.S. Vermont.
U.S.S. Glacier.    U.S.S. Virginia.
U.S.S. Helena.    U.S.S. Washington.
U.S.S. Idaho.    U.S.S. Whipple.
U.S.S. Illinois.    U.S.S. Yankee.
U.S.S. Indiana.    U.S.S. Yankton.
U.S.S. Kansas.

    Of the facilities for the manufacture of wireless apparatus, when it says "United Company" one says it all--almost. There is no complete factory for the manufacture of wireless telegraph apparatus in America, except the factories owned or controlled by the United Wireless Telegraph Company. The use of the wireless telegraph cannot be extended faster than the apparatus for such service is completed. Therefore, the extension of manufacturing facilities is almost an infallible guide to follow.
    A year ago, the United Company had only one factory, which was comparatively very small. To-day, their equipment for manufacturing wireless instruments comprises three good-sized plants; two located in Jersey City, N. J. and the other in Seattle, Wash. These factories have a combined output of about $1,000,000 worth of apparatus per year. They are being continually enlarged, are working overtime and are far behind with their orders.
    The various governments of the world are rather cautious about giving out what they are doing in extending the use of wireless for governmental purposes, therefore, it behooves the companies who supply the apparatus to be as reticent in discussing government affairs. For this reason it is not possible to draw an accurate comparison between the American and foreign systems in government use. The United Company have orders, or have requests, for estimates from practically every prominent government of the world, and the fact that among them is the Ottoman Government, bears striking testimony to the widespread knowledge of the supremacy of the American system. The United Company is also placing a number of stations in service for several South American governments, among which is included several stations on the Amazon River, which have a guaranteed range of 500 miles over the land--and that mostly over jungle growth, which offers a greater resistance to the passage of the Hertzian waves, than does the highest mountain range.
    This is a history of the wireless telegraph in America. The writer has honestly and conscientiously tried to place credit only where credit is due. He has not overlooked intentionally one inventor or company who deserves a place in this article by reason of having accomplished something of commercial value. Perhaps he may appear to be over-enthusiastic and although the facts as portrayed may not coincide with the general impression in the public mind, he feels that anyone after digging down into the facts and extracting a condition so ever ready to prove its merit, as wireless is to-day, will sustain his conclusions and enthusiasm. He believes wireless communication in a few years will become one of the greatest industries of the world, and that it will not be long before the great financiers of this country will more fully appreciate and acknowledge its utility and value.

* Many newspaper writers seem to be misinformed about the Wireless Telegraph and in their articles have often stated that which could retard honest effort toward its development, or have materially aided stock operators to sell practically-worthless wireless securities to the public. The truth of the statements in this article is provable and warrants consideration as such.