New York Times, February 14, 1909, page 1.
DE FOREST TELLS OF A NEW WIRELESS
Does Away with the Spark, He Says, and Transmits 40,000 Words an Hour.
AIDS THE TELEPHONE, TOO
New Mechanism to be Installed In New Atlantic Coast Service, He Tells Financiers at Dinner.
Dr. Lee De Forest, whose radio-telephone has been adopted by the navies of the United States, Great Britain, and Italy, announced last night at a dinner given at Fraunces's Tavern to the representatives of the Ellsworth Company, which has recently finished the successful financing of the Great Lakes Radio-Telephone Company, that he has practically perfected a system of wireless transmission which he says will revolutionise the present methods of communication.
The inventor says his apparatus does away with the spark, as used now, and minimises the chance of interruption of messages. It will permit, he declares, a speed of 40,000 words an hour, as compared to the transmission of forty words a minute, which is about the limit of a first-class Morse operator. The new apparatus, he said, is to be used in connection with the installation of the wireless telephone along the Atlantic Coast.
Mr. De Forest, in discussing the advantage of the wireless telephone over the telegraph, said that the telephone is so simple in operation that any ship's officer could understand it. He pointed out that if Binns, the wireless operator, had been killed in the Republic's collision with the Florida in which the wireless house was wrecked there would have been no one else on the ship to send out the calls for help.
"Such is not the case on ships that carry the radio-telephone apparatus," he says, "for a dozen men can be ready to step into the breach."
Dr. De Forest was introduced by the toastmaster, E. E. Burlingame, Treasurer of the Ellsworth Company.
"Never until this year have I had the proper backing," Mr. De Forest said. "And up to this year I can say also that the developments in the wireless art have been almost rudimentary. What the future of it will be, neither I nor any one else can foretell. At present I am working on the telephone, the telegraph, and ship-warning devices. The possibilities of the telephone in this latter department are almost limitless, and I confidently predict that within the next five years every ship of a certain size that goes to sea will be equipped with the wireless telephone.
"I have succeeded in combining the wireless telegraph and telephone in one instrument. The radio-telephone also has a useful field on land, principally in toll-line work, in connecting small towns and distant cities, as they are connected today by trunk wires.
"I look forward to the day when by this means the opera may be brought into every home. Some day the news and even advertising will be sent out to the public over the wireless telephone.
"I want to tell you also of my new telegraph system. I became convinced that further progress along the present lines was a hopeless dream. The possibility of interference with messages was too great. In my new system the tuning possibilities are almost limitless. Furthermore, it is noiseless, and it can be operated at a much lower voltage than the present system. The speed by which a spark transmitter can be operated cannot exceed forty words a minute.
"I expect to attain a speed of 40,000 words an hour. There is no question but that the public can easily be induced to communicate by wire instead of by mail. It must be done, however, at greatly reduced cost, and this is not possible by the wire systems. Some day, also, you will see a wireless system installed on trains by which one locomotive will be warned of the approach of another. This will prevent all accidents which happen to-day when the block system fails to work.
"A few years after Dr. Roentgen discovered the X-rays, surgical operations were possible that were unthought before his discovery. Who can say that some such discovery will not be made in radio-telegraphy end telephony at any time?"
James Dunlop Smith, President of the Radio Company, also spoke. Over a hundred representatives of the company from all parts of the country were present at the dinner, which was held in the room where Washington bade farewell to his officers in 1783.