The U.S. Agriculture Department was responsible for collecting and distributing information across a tremendous expanse -- most of the North American continent, plus adjacent land masses and oceans. Information was needed at least daily for market reports, while for weather warnings, such as Atlantic hurricanes, minutes were important. To meet these needs, the Department employed a wide variety of communication tools -- Rural Free Delivery mail, mimeograph machines, telegraphs, telephones, and finally radio -- in its efforts to increase range, timeliness, and depth.

Most of the Agriculture Department's day-to-day work, while important, was routine. (1922: "Because of numerous complaints received from producers in the Southeastern States of unfair discrimination on the part of local slaughterers in the prices paid for soft or oily hogs as compared with prices paid for firm hogs, the division made an investigation to determine the facts.") However, there were also historic advances. In the 1923 report,
Charles F. Marvin, Chief of the Weather Bureau, reviewing the accomplishments of the previous 25 years, particularly in meteorological science and radio, noted proudly: "The annual program and routine of the public service of the Weather Bureau is not a heritage handed down to us from the distant past or even from the last generation. It is conspicuously a creation and development of the leaders and seniors in its present personnel, including the great contributions from a small number of faithful men and brilliant meteorologists who have passed beyond. We are the generation which is passing on to our successors a highly organized and developed service. Our task, our responsibility, is to recruit and train those who are to carry on and perfect this work in the future."

In late 1912, licencing of U.S. radio stations was first set up, under the control of the Department of Commerce. Nine years later, this department for the first time promulgated regulations
establishing a formal broadcast service by private radio stations, effective December 1, 1921. The broadcasting of Market and Weather reports, as developed by the Agriculture Department over the years, was assigned high priority within this new service. The initial Commerce Department regulations set up only two broadcast wavelengths, with use of one -- 485 meters (619 kilohertz) -- limited to "broadcasting crop reports and weather services", and placed under the oversight of the Agriculture Department.

From this point on, twenty-two years after the Agriculture Department first investigated radio transmission, the potential of radio was rapidly developed. And by 1926, radio broadcasting had become established to the point that the Agriculture Department's new Radio Service section was distributing a 10-minute program entitled "Autobiographies of Infamous Bugs and Rodents", providing information "as told by the insects and rodents themselves".

Most of the following extracts refer to radio. However, others are included to give an overview of the issues the Agriculture Department was dealing with, or to review some of the other communications technologies and practices it employed. Reports by the Secretary of Agriculture are directed to the President of the United States, while those of the individual Bureau chiefs are directed to the Secretary of Agriculture.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1898

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, September 19, 1898:
Page 206:

    At one time the Federal Government owned and operated about 5,000 miles of seacoast and frontier telegraph lines. In 1891, 633 miles of these lines, mainly on the seacoast, were turned over to the Weather Bureau as appropriate to a purely meteorological service. These lines traverse thinly settled regions or connect islands with the mainland by submarine cable at points where there is not enough commercial business to warrant the construction of a private line. The total revenue from Weather Bureau lines on account of commercial dispatches during the year, was $4,220.19, which sum was covered into the United States Treasury, as required by law.
    These lines serve a double purpose: First, they enable the bureau to receive early information of changes in the weather at exposed points on our coast, and, second, they permit of the display of storm warnings near several of the great highways of vessels entering or leaving our ports; they also contribute largely to the safety of vessels navigating our shores, as evidenced by the specific cases quoted below.
    (1) The British bark Culdoon, Captain Richter, Cape of Good Hope to Boston, went ashore March 23, 1898, on the south side of Nantucket Island. Wrecking companies were at once notified of the disaster and by speedy action the vessel and cargo, valued at $100,000, were saved.
    (2) The steamer Tuscarora and cargo, valued at $700,000, went ashore on Middle Island, Lake Huron, during a dense fog, October 24, 1897. By means of the Weather Bureau system of cables and telegraph lines connecting Thunder Bay and Middle Island with the observer's office in Alpena, assistance was summoned and the steamer was saved after lightering 800 tons of merchandise.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1900

Report of J. H. Brigham, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture:
Page X:

    WEATHER BUREAU.--The Weather Bureau is experimenting successfully with wireless telegraphy. Messages have been sent over 50 miles of rough country. The prospect for further improvement is very promising.

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, August 28, 1900:
Page 11:

    The number of forecasts distributed daily during last year was greater than for any previous year. The methods of distribution have not been changed in any respect. It has been possible, however, to utilize the rural free-delivery service in furnishing forecasts and warnings to the rural population in districts where such service has been organized.
    The use of the rural free-delivery service began during the closing months of the year. There is no class of people that will appreciate the forecasts more than those in agricultural communities, and I feel safe in saying that in reaching the farmer with this information by means of the rural free delivery we have attained one of the great objects for which the Bureau was established.
    At the close of the year 111 rural free-delivery centers of distribution were in operation, supplying 11,625 families, or an average of over 100 families for each carrier. This work will be further extended during the coming year, and effort made to have as many routes served with the morning forecasts as may be possible.


    In order to meet the increasing demands of commercial and shipping interests for Storm warnings of the highest possible efficiency, it has been necessary to reorganize the equipment and provide tall masts or flagstaffs at a large number of stations at which either flags or lanterns are displayed. An important improvement in this connection has been made during the past year by the adoption of a specially constructed steel tower with a flagpole at the summit. After careful tests and improvements of a sample tower of this character, a standard pattern was devised and full drawings and specifications prepared. These towers are now under construction by contract, and steps have been taken to equip about fifty of the more important display stations.
    Wherever it is possible to do so, electricity is used for the illumination of the lanterns used in the night warnings, and special efforts have been made to increase the efficiency and improve the quality, not only of the red and white lanterns illuminated by electric lights, but also the lanterns supplied to our ordinary stations where electricity is not available and where oil must be used.
    All this work is in an advanced state, and it is expected that fifty or more stations will be fully equipped before the occurrence of the severe storms of the fall and winter seasons.


    The Secretary of Agriculture, recognizing the advantages that would result to commerce and navigation by the establishment of electrical communication between vessels at sea and exposed points on our lake and sea coasts, and also between the islands along said coasts and the mainland, has authorized the Weather Bureau to systematically investigate the various methods of electrical communication without wires. The progress already made in this investigation is eminently satisfactory. The results thus far achieved will be communicated at another time.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1901

Report of James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture, November 23, 1901:
Page XVI:

    It is a wonderful picture of atmospheric conditions that is now presented twice daily to the trained eye of the weather forecaster. In addition to the reports from Europe, the Azores, and Bermuda, the field embraces an area extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the north coast of South America over Mexico, the islands of the West Indies and the Bahamas, northward to the uttermost confines of Canadian habitation. It is a panoramic picture of the exact air conditions over this broad area that is twice daily presented to the study of our experts. Hurricanes, cold waves, hot waves, or rain storms are shown wherever present in this broad area. Their development since last report is noted, and from the knowledge thus gained their future course and intensity is quite successfully forecast. Every twelve hours the kaleidoscope changes, and a new graphic picture of weather conditions is shown. Nowhere else in the world can meteorologists find such an opportunity to study storms and atmospheric changes.

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, July 22, 1901:
Page 5:

    Particular attention has been given to the distribution of forecasts by means of the rural free delivery. There are now in operation 365 centers supplying an aggregate of nearly 42,000 families in the farming districts with the latest weather predictions. This work has become decidedly popular, and we have had the hearty cooperation of the Post-Office Department in making it a success.
    Estimate has been made for additional appropriation with which to extend the distribution of forecasts and warnings by this method. The rural free delivery places the frost and cold-wave warnings in the hands of those who can make the most valuable use of them is expected that the Bureau will reach several hundred thousand farmhouses with the daily forecast before the expiration of the coming year.


    Substantial improvements have been made during the past year in the Weather Bureau system of wireless telegraphy. The line of research has been divided into three classes: First, the perfection of a more powerful transmitter, in which the energy of radiation shall be greatly increased; second, the devising of a more delicate receiver, one that would be positive instead of depending upon an imperfect and variable contact, as do all systems now in use; and, third, the perfection of a system of selective telegraphy whereby messages can be differentiated and only the receiver that it is desired shall receive the message become responsive to the waves of ether.
    The first of these problems may be said to have been successfully solved, and a transmitter devised capable of radiating all the energy generated; the second is believed to be nearing a successful solution; the third is thought to be well demonstrated theoretically, but has not been fully tested in practice.
    While there is much experimental work yet to be done before our system, or any system of which I have knowledge, is reliable for intership communication, or before any two systems can work within the same field without each rendering the other useless, such progress has been made by the Government experimenters that, with no interference by private systems, stations can be successfully operated over at least 150 miles of coast line, and they are now in operation on the North Carolina and Virginia coasts, and soon will be instituted between the Farallone Islands and the mainland, and Tatoosh Island and the mainland, on the Pacific coast.
    If a system of selective telegraphy can not be perfected so that one system does not interfere with and render useless another, and thereby prevent all use to commerce of recent discoveries in wireless telegraphy, it may become necessary, on account of the value of these discoveries to our marine interests, for the Government to take exclusive control of all systems of etheric space telegraphy and to establish stations along our extensive coast lines at such distances and in such relation, the one to the other, that they shall not interfere. Even then there will occasionally be difficulty in communicating with the mainland whenever two ships in close proximity are attempting to transmit or receive messages at the same time.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1902

Report of James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture, November 29, 1902:
Page XVI:

    The experiments in space, or wireless, telegraphy were begun January 1, 1900, under the direction of the Chief of the Weather Bureau, and were continued during the past year. While much valuable information has been secured and a fairly satisfactory experimental system has been devised, I am not able to report such progress in the investigation as would justify the Department in dispensing with its coast telegraph lines or with the cables that connect certain islands with the mainland.

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, October 15, 1902:
Page 15:

    Experiments in space, or wireless, telegraphy were begun January 1, 1900, in accordance with the orders of the Secretary of Agriculture, and carried on under the directions of the chief of the Weather Bureau. Prof. R. A. Fessenden was placed in immediate charge of the work and continued in that capacity until July 30, 1902, when he was succeeded by Mr. A. H. Thiessen.
    While much valuable information has been secured and a fairly satisfactory experimental system has been devised, I am not able to report such progress in the investigation as would justify the Department in dispensing with its coast telegraph lines or the cables that connect certain islands with the mainland.
    The hot-wire receiver, or boloscope, was found to be the most sensitive of any yet used in the experiments. Its action was positive, and during the early spring it gave excellent results; messages were transmitted with a rapidity almost equal to that of the ordinary telegraph. Quite satisfactory tests were made before a board from the Army and one from the Navy. It was thought that the Bureau had finally devised a receiver that would take the place of all others in use; but as the season advanced into summer and unstable atmospheric electrical conditions became more frequent it was found that the minute platinum loops on which the active principle of the boloscope depended would frequently burn out after connection was made with a vertical wire.
    It has so far been found impossible to send messages any appreciable distance over land or fresh water, or to attune the transmitter to the receiver so as to overcome the difficulties of interference should a second transmitter generate electric waves within the same field.
    I am of the opinion that the use of wireless telegraphy in its present state is limited to the transmission of messages between moving ships and between ships and the land, and that wherever permanent communication is required the cable or the land wire is the more reliable means of communication and probably the more economical.
    Our experiments during the past year were conducted over a course between Manteo and Cape Hatteras, a distance of about 50 miles.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1903

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, August 11, 1903:
Page 27:

    Inadequate appropriations have prevented any extensions in this important work, and of necessity we have been compelled to confine our efforts to maintaining the service already in operation, with its various ramifications an adopting suggested improvements which might be effected without additional expense to this Bureau.
    While a reduction of 131 is shown in the number of stations receiving forecasts by telegraph or telephone at Government expense, this indicates no impairment in the efficiency of this class, for the points discontinued were unimportant as centers, or the substations were transferred to some equally well located center of distribution, and very few, if any, interests were deprived of the forecasts by this action.
    No change has been made in the system of emergency warnings and the number of authorized stations remains the same as at the date of my last report. This statement also applies to the railway train service, there having been no change, of record, in this work during the past year.
    The dissemination of forecasts over the telegraph lines of a number of the great trunk railroads has been continued, while the service has been discontinued by a few of the smaller roads, owing to increased business over their wires, entailing a loss of about 200 points receiving the daily reports for posting in the railroad stations.
    A marked increase (nearly 20,000) is shown in the number of places receiving forecasts by telephone without expense to the United States, and with the rapid extension of "farmers' telephone lines" (so called) opportunity is afforded for placing weather information directly in the homes of the more progressive agriculturists as well as in the telephone exchanges of rural centers of population, where it is posted for the benefit of the general public. The managers of these local telephone lines seem to be very much interested in this matter, and with very few exceptions have given their hearty support in making the distribution as successful as possible. It is not difficult to secure the cooperation of these officials, as a statement of the fact that forecasts can be had gratis adds to the inducements which they can offer to prospective subscribers. The great advantages of this plan of dissemination are apparent when we consider the very early hour at which the production reaches the subscriber and the slight amount of labor involved in furnishing him with the information.
    The list of places supplied with daily forecasts through the regular mails has been increased by nearly 4,000, showing a healthy growth in this class, although no efforts have been made, owing to lack of funds, toward an extension. The post-offices receiving card forecasts by the logotype system are being charted on post-route maps in this division, and any irregularities that may appear are corrected, and any offices not receiving the forecasts, which can be reached from any distributing center in time to make the information of benefit, are added to the lists of the proper center. This branch of the work is confined, as a rule, to a. m. forecasts, which can be posted in the various offices before 6 o'clock p. m. of the day of issue. Some of the distributors display considerable ingenuity in their devices for saving time and labor in this work, and I wish to invite particular attention to the work done at Marshalltown, Iowa, where the cards and slips are printed in three colors, with the regular logotypes, on a rapid printing press invented by the distributor.
    The decrease of 7,500 in the number of families receiving forecast slips through the rural free-delivery service is due mainly to a change in the hours of departure of carriers from terminal points which precluded their receiving the forecast telegrams in time for distribution, as it has been the policy of the Bureau to allow only the distribution of the a. m. forecasts, except in a limited number of cases where the circumstances justified a departure from this rule. Where carriers leave before 8 a. m. and the distributing station has no "all night" telegraph office, there is no possibility of the messages being delivered in time to allow the forecasts to be duplicated and given to the carriers before their departure. There appears but one remedy for this, and that is to utilize the p. m. forecasts alone for rural free-delivery distribution, and have carriers supplied by mail train with their slips from a regular Weather Bureau station equipped with a rapid printing press like those now in use at the Boston and Columbus stations.
    The agricultural sections are now our principal field of operations, and the rural free-delivery is the means for reaching them; and, as stated in my previous report, it seems particularly unfortunate that, at this time, when the Bureau has opened up to it such a great opportunity for increasing its usefulness to the farming classes, we are debarred from taking the action indicated owing to insufficient appropriations. Numerous requests for forecasts are being received from persons living on rural free-delivery routes which we are compelled to refuse for reasons above stated.
    The following table shows the geographic extent of this work, as well as the changes, as compared with the distribution of the previous year:

Distribution of daily forecasts and special and emergency warnings.
States.At Government expense.Without expense to Government by-
  District of Columbia 0001111001,2640
  Indian Territory10052020001520
  New Hampshire17139000311,2811,205
  New Jersey292212762218901,406255
  New Mexico4200090150
  New York118604074589613051686,98510,454
  North Carolina472121425461161,256453
  North Dakota1312104000029215
  Rhode Island50134470281020
  South Carolina3661253027730231,097456
  South Dakota34261118628400706195
  West Virginia22117452224518261,094232
      July 1, 1903
  July 1,1902

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1904

Report of James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture, November 26, 1904:
Page XVII:

    The Department of Agriculture, through the Weather Bureau, was one of the first of the Executive Departments to take up, systematically, experimentation in problems concerned with the development of wireless telegraphy. By this action research into the physical problems concerned in transmitting messages through the medium of ether waves was greatly stimulated in this country. Probably one of the best, if not the best, instruments anywhere made for the receiving of wireless messages had its inception in the experimental work of the Weather Bureau. Recently a board was appointed by you to consider the whole problem of wireless telegraphy and the relation of the Government thereto. Its recommendations, which you approved, will result in the discontinuance of experiments along this line by the Weather Bureau, their transfer to the Navy Department, and the transfer to the Weather Bureau of all the meteorological work now being done by the Navy Department.

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, October 4, 1904:
Page 18:

    About 200 addresses were dropped from the emergency warning list, which has been revised and now provides for the distribution of special warnings of tropical hurricanes or storms and cold waves of unusual severity to postmasters at 6,152 points, who post the bulletins in their offices for the benefit of the public and in many instances telephone the warnings to adjacent points having special interests to be protected.
    The railway telegraph and train services have continued in operation, supplying in the aggregate over 5,000 railroad stations with the daily forecasts, which are bulletined in the waiting rooms for the benefit of the employees and the traveling public.
    Comparatively little change is shown in the number of card forecasts issued daily. This portion of the work has been so carefully examined into in previous years that nearly every post-office which could be reached in time to make the predictions of value is now being served. As mail schedules are changed the lists are modified, and as a rule the number added about equals that discontinued. Postmasters continue their cooperation in this, as well as in the Rural Free Delivery Service, and in a large number of instances have extensive lists to which the card forecasts are distributed daily. Action was taken to prevent the printing of names of individuals or firms on cards in connection with the forecasts. The Bureau is now free from this annoying advertising feature, and, so far as known, the cards as now issued contain nothing but the official forecasts, with occasionally a date and the name of the center from which the cards are distributed. The stand taken by the Bureau in this matter resulted in the loss of the cooperation of a few of the oldest distributors, who kept up the work on account of its advertising possibilities; but arrangements were quickly effected whereby others took up the work, or the substations were supplied from adjacent centers.
    Through several causes the number of addresses on the rural free delivery lists has been largely decreased as compared with that of the previous year, owing principally to the discontinuance of the afternoon forecast distribution from Columbus, Ohio, and the transfer of a large portion of this work in Iowa from the rural free delivery to the free telephone service. There is now available sufficient data to enable us to extend the rural free delivery distribution, when practicable, to every route on which the carrier leaves the distributing office at an hour sufficiently late to receive the morning forecasts by telegraph from the district center.
    The rural telephone lines are now the best and most economical means of distributing weather information. The forecasts are quickly disseminated, cover a large territory, and at little or no expense to the Government. Through arrangements made between the Weather Bureau officials at Cleveland and Columbus and two of the great trunk telephone lines, the daily morning forecasts are now available for the use of more than 100,000 subscribers in the State of Ohio, and the records at hand indicate that nearly one-half of that number are taking advantage of this opportunity to get the forecasts in their homes within a few minutes after their preparation at the district center. Officials of telephone companies operating lines in other States are rapidly signifying their desire to cooperate in this work, and it may be safely stated that the close of another fiscal year will show a gratuitous distribution of daily forecasts over the greater proportion of all independent telephone lines between the Atlantic seaboard and the western borders of Kansas, and as far south in the Middle West as the northern portion of Texas. The general manager of one of the largest independent lines in the State of Ohio stated in a circular letter to the managers of his exchanges that "intelligent handling of these reports will do much to make your service attractive, and whenever your service is attractive it is popular, and whenever popular it is a revenue producer." As these independent lines are merged with the long-distance companies the necessity for telegraphic forecasts to individual exchanges will cease to exist, making it possible to further extend the distribution over rural free delivery lines into agricultural sections not now supplied with the forecasts.

Page 25:

    The Department of Agriculture, through the Weather Bureau, was one of the first of the Government Departments to take up, systematically, experimentation in problems concerned with the development of wireless telegraphy. By this action research into the physical problems concerned in transmitting messages through the medium of ether waves was greatly stimulated in this country. Probably one of the best, if not the best, instruments anywhere made, for the receiving of wireless messages had its inception in the experimental work of the Weather Bureau.
    Recently a Board, to consider the whole problem of wireless telegraphy and the relation of the Government thereto, was appointed by the President. Its conclusions and recommendations follow:


    The conclusions of the Board are--
    That the science of wireless telegraphy has been advanced by the able and persistent work of the Signal Corps of the Army and the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture, as well as by the experimental work of the Navy Department;
    That wireless telegraphy is of paramount interest to the Government through the Navy Department, and that its use by the Signal Corps of the Army for communication between military posts of the Army and other necessary links will be necessary both in peace and war, and that such use shall be unrestricted. When interference seems probable between stations of the Navy and War Departments, the question involved shall be mutually settled by representatives of the two Departments;
    That coastwise wireless telegraphy is not a necessity for the work of the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture, provided that the necessary meteorological data for that Department can be collected by the stations of the Navy Department from ships at sea and by them sent to the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture;
    That the maintenance of a complete coastwise system of wireless telegraphy by the Navy Department is necessary for the efficient and economical management of the fleets of the United States in time of peace and their efficient maneuvering in time of war;
    That the best results can be obtained from stations under the jurisdiction of one Department of the Government only, and that representatives of more than one Department should not be quartered at any station;
    And finally the Board concludes that the Government must take the necessary steps to regulate establishment of commercial wireless-telegraph stations among the States and between nations.


    In order that the above conclusions may be carried into effect, the Board recommends--
    That the Signal Corps of the Army be authorized under its chief to establish from time to time such wireless stations as he may deem necessary, and that they do not interfere with the coastwise wireless-telegraph system of the Government under control of the Navy Department; and further, that the Chief Signal Officer be requested to inform the Navy Department what stations of its system maybe utilized to transmit messages for the Signal Corps or other bureaus of the War Department, and that representatives of the Signal Corps of the Army and the Bureau of Equipment of the Navy Department be at once requested to draw up such rules as will insure the efficient and harmonious carrying into effect of the above recommendations;
    That the necessary steps be taken to have the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture turn over to the Navy Department all coastwise wireless-telegraph apparatus now under its control, and such material as it may have in its possession which can be utilized by the Bureau of Equipment of the Navy Department, and that proper transfers of funds for this purpose be made;
    That the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture furnish to the Hydrographic Office of the Navy, and to the naval wireless-telegraph stations, or to other portions of the public service, such meteorological data as it or they may desire at no cost to them;
    That the Department of Agriculture shall continue the work of its meteorological vessel-reporting and storm-warning stations, as now constituted and provided for by law, and continue the control of seacoast telegraph systems, except wireless systems;
    That the necessary steps be taken that the Navy Department may equip and install a complete coastwise wireless-telegraph system covering the entire coasts of the United States, its insular possessions, and the Canal Zone in Panama;
    That the Navy Department be directed to receive from the Signal Corps of the Army, at such points as may be requested by the Chief Signal Officer of the Army, all messages for army posts within their radii, and transmit them under such rules as may be agreed upon by the representatives of the Signal Corps and Bureau of Equipment, without cost to the Signal Corps of the Army;
    That all meteorological reports from vessels of war or commerce or other sailing craft, now being forwarded direct to the Hydrographic Office of the Navy, shall be forwarded direct to the Weather Bureau, and the control of ocean meteorology be transferred to the Department of Agriculture, which already has ample law for doing this work;
    That the estimates for the support of the Hydrographic Office of the Navy, or any other office of the Navy, for the next and succeeding fiscal years, do not contain any provision for the making of ocean forecasts, or for the publication of meteorological data, other than such as may be needed by the Hydrographer of the Navy for use on the pilot and other charts, which data shall be furnished by and credited to the Weather Bureau;
    That it is the opinion of this Board that no meteorological work need or should be done by any portion of the Navy for the purpose of publication, or for the making of forecasts or storm warnings; that all such duties, being purely civil, should devolve upon the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture in accordance with the organic act creating that Bureau;
    That the wireless stations of the Navy Department shall, without charge to the Agricultural Department, receive and promptly transmit to the ocean or to islands, or to other places where the information can be made useful, the storm warnings of the Weather Bureau;
    That the Navy Department shall request all vessels having the use of its wireless stations for the receipt of messages, to take daily meteorological observations of the weather when within communicating range and to transmit such observations to the Weather Bureau, through naval wireless stations, at least once daily, and transmit observations oftener when there is a marked change in the barometer; and that there shall be no charge against the Agricultural Department for these observations or for the transmission thereof;
    That representatives of the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Equipment of the Navy Department be directed to prepare the necessary rules for the harmonious and efficient carrying on of the above recommendations.
    We recommend that as fast as the naval wireless-telegraph stations are put in operation the Navy Department be directed to receive and transmit through these stations, free of charge, all wireless messages to or from ships at sea, provided such stations do not come in competition with commercial stations, until such time as Congress may enact the necessary legislation governing this subject.
    In asking for legislation on this point, the Board desires to invite attention to the fact that where wireless stations are needed for the merchant marine, as a rule the Navy will also require them. The Board believes it to be in the interest not only of governmental but public economy and efficiency to permit the naval stations to handle the public service, for in the present state of the art but one station is desirable for the public interests in such places. As the needs of the Navy are paramount on account of the problem of national defence, private stations should not be allowed to locate to the disadvantage of the former. Moreover, there is at present no public need for multiplication of stations at these points.
    It is admitted, however, that there may be special cases where private stations can serve a useful purpose, and the Board believes that the Department of Commerce and Labor should have the duty of issuing licenses in such cases under such regulations as will prevent interference with stations necessary to the national defence. All private stations in the interior of the country should also be under supervision of the Department of Commerce and Labor.
    This method of placing private stations under full Government supervision is desirable in order to regulate them for their mutual and public welfare, as well as from considerations of national defence. Aside from the necessity of providing rules for the practical operation of such stations, it seems desirable that there should be some wholesome supervision of them to prevent the exploitation of speculative schemes based on a public misconception of the art.
    It is believed that invention and private enterprise should be encouraged in every legitimate way, and it is the policy of the Navy Department to do this. It has the means of assisting inventors that no other Department has, and it believes that in order for it to lead the navies of the world in this matter, which is of great importance to the national defence, every reasonable facility should be given inventors, while at the same time it is working out the problems of the application of their inventions to its requirements in times of peace and war.
    To prevent the control of wireless telegraphy by monopolies or trusts, the Board deems it essential that any legislation on this subject should place the supervision of it in the Department of Commerce and Labor.
    Because international questions may arise, due to the fact that the use of wireless telegraph stations in our own possessions may affect the use of similar stations in foreign countries, it is desirable for the Congress to enact legislation which will enable the Government properly to handle such cases; a failure to do so may seriously embarrass the Government at some future time.
    It is thought that the legislation recommended in placing private stations under the supervision of the Department of Commerce and Labor will also cover this case.
    In conclusion, the Board deems it essential that the Executive take such action as in his judgment seems wise to prevent the erection of private wireless-telegraph stations where they may interfere with the naval or military operations of the Government until legislation may be had by Congress on this subject.
    Appended hereto are two extracts from the Revised Statutes, marked "W" and "X" which related to the operation of Government telegraph lines; also a decision of the Supreme Court, marked "Y" and the final protocol of the Preliminary Conference of Wireless Telegraph held in Berlin in August, 1903, marked "Z." a
          Very respectfully,
R. D. EVANS,                         
Rear-Admiral, U. S. Navy,        
Representing the Department of Commerce and Labor.

H. N. M
Rear-Admiral, U. S. Navy,        
Representing the Navy Department.

A. W. G
Brigadier-General, U. S. Army,        
Representing the War Department.

ILLIS L. MOORE,               
Chief U. S. Weather Bureau,        
Representing the Department of Agriculture.

OSEPH L. JAYNE,                 
Lieutenant-Commander, U. S. Navy,        
Representing the Navy Department.

    a The papers referred to in this paragraph are omitted in this report

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1905

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, July 28, 1905:
Page 16:

    Pursuant to recommendations in the report of the interdepartmental board on wireless telegraphy, dated July 12, 1904, and approved by the President July 29, 1904, the control of meteorological work on the oceans has been transferred from the Hydrographic Office, Navy Department, to the Department of Agriculture, and all meteorological work heretofore done by the Navy Department for the purpose of publication or for the making of forecasts of storm warnings, has been assigned to the Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture.
    In further compliance with the recommendations of the board, the Navy Department has instructed its Wireless stations to receive and promptly transmit to the ocean, or to islands, or to other places where the information can be made useful, the storm warnings of the Weather Bureau, and has requested vessels having the use of its wireless stations for the receipt of messages to take daily meteorological observations of the weather when within communicating distance, and to transmit such observations to the Weather Bureau through wireless stations at least once daily, and to transmit observations oftener when there is a marked change in the barometer. And the recommendations provide that there shall be no charge against the Department of Agriculture for these observations or for the transmission thereof by wireless telegraphy.
    In the development of the plan of transmitting storm warnings by wireless telegraphy, the cooperation of the Light-House Board of the Department of Commerce and Labor has been secured and instructions have been issued by that Department for the display and dissemination of storm warnings and advices at light-houses and light-ships that are in communication with the Naval wireless stations.
    At the close of the year, the scope of the wireless work provided for the transmission of storm warnings from naval stations to offshore points as follows:

    Portsmouth (N. H.) Navy-Yard to Cape Ann, Thatchers Island, Mass.
    Torpedo Station, Newport, R. I., to Nantucket Shoals, Mass., light-ship.
    Brooklyn Navy-Yard to Highlands of Navesink, N. J.
    Norfolk Navy-Yard to Diamond Shoals light-ship, off Hatteras, N. C.
    Charleston, S. C., Navy-Yard to Charleston light-vessel.
    Mare Island Navy-Yard, Cal., to Yerba Buena, Cal.
    San Juan (P. R.) Naval Station to Culebra, P. R. (In partial operation.)

    Arrangements will be perfected at the earliest possible date for similar wireless service as follows: Portland, Me., to Cape Elizabeth, Me.; Boston Navy-Yard to Highland light, Cape Cod, Mass.; Key West (Fla.) Naval Station to Dry Tortugas, Fla., and from the Pensacola (Fla.) Navy-Yard to vessels within communicating distance.
    Negotiations are also in progress with the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company any for the receipt at the station of the company at Siasconset, Nantucket Island, Mass., of wireless messages containing meteorological observations from vessels that are equipped with Marconi apparatus, and for a transmission of storm warnings to vessels that may be in communication with the station. The inauguration of a system of interchange between shore stations and vessels at sea of messages containing storm advices and meteorological observations promises an enlargement of Weather Bureau work that will be coextensive with the development and scope of wireless telegraphy, and the extension over the ocean of the area of meteorological reports by wireless telegraphy may, in time, permit a service to trans-Atlantic steamers about to leave American and European ports that will advise them regarding the character of the weather they will experience at sea. Furthermore, it is likely that reports that will be available with an extension of wireless telegraphy will result in a communication of storm advices to vessels in mid-ocean, and render possible a storm-warning service for the western coasts of Europe.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1906

Report of James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture, November 24, 1906:

    During the year a plan has been perfected whereby vessels at sea equipped with wireless telegraphic apparatus may receive warning of severe storms if within communicating distance of shore stations, or of other vessels which have received a warning.

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, August 30, 1906:
Page 103:

    Weather forecasts for thirty-six and forty-eight hours in advance have been made daily throughout the year for each State and Territory, and special warnings of gales on the seacoasts, Gulf and Great Lakes, and of cold waves, frost, heavy snows, floods, etc., have been issued when the advices were calculated to benefit commercial and agricultural interests. The North Atlantic and West Indian storm-warning service was continued, and forecasts for the first two days out for steamers bound for European ports were issued daily at 8 a. m. and 8 p. m.
    The material necessary in the forecast and warning service has been gathered twice daily by telegraph and cable from about 160 stations in the United States, 19 in Canada, and about 20 in the islands of the Atlantic and on the western coast of Europe; in all, about 200 reports have been received in the morning and a lesser number in the evening. Eight forecast centers have been maintained, one each in Washington, D. C.; Boston, Mass.; New Orleans, La.; Louisville, Ky.; Chicago, Ill.; Denver, Colo.; Portland, Oreg., and San Francisco, Cal. Although no important change has been made during the year, either in the character of the available material or in the manner of its application to the problem in hand, constant effort has been put forth to improve the forecast service. In another portion of this report reference will be made to the work accomplished in the way of seeking new physical data, both solar and terrestrial, in the hope of successfully applying them to weather forecasting.
    It was the hope of leading meteorologists some twenty years ago that a study of the pressure distribution over the globe, especially the shifting of great air masses in latitude and longitude, would yield valuable results. In more recent years the subject has been further pursued and a fairly close relation has been established between the pressure distribution over the Atlantic and the character of the weather over western Europe. In this country studies of atmospheric pressure distribution in the United States in its relation to long-period fluctuations in temperature and rainfall have been made by Garriott, Fassig, Henry, and McAdie. In general, however, these studies did not attempt to deal with the relation between current weather conditions and pressure distribution over continental and oceanic areas, for the reason that daily barometric readings from oceanic areas were not available. Cable connection with the Azores was effected a year or so since, and, within the year just closed, communication with Honolulu was established. Reports from these stations, including Bermuda and the west coast of Europe, throw considerable light upon the atmospheric movements in the United States, and the study of these movements in the light thus afforded is the distinctive work of the year. The result has been sufficiently encouraging to warrant its further prosecution and a still further enlargement of the field of view by the courtesy of foreign meteorological services.


    Already correspondence has been entered into with the director of the physical observatory, St. Petersburg, Russia, with a view to securing daily reports from Siberia, the seat of the great winter area of high pressure in the Northern Hemisphere.
    The Bureau also has in preparation a plan of organization for a service in Alaska by means of which prompt advices may be received of changes in the Bering Sea area of low pressure, which are intimately associated with the weather of the United States.
    The extension of the field of observation over the adjacent oceans is not yet fully developed. The essential features of this service provide for the collection, by means of wireless telegraphy, of simultaneous meteorological observations from vessels at sea, and the dispatch of weather forecasts and storm warnings to all vessels within the zone of communication that are equipped with wireless apparatus. The details of the plan have been worked out, and arrangements have been made with the Marconi Wireless Telegraph of America and the American De Forrest Wireless Telegraph Company to transmit the observations from the vessels to the Weather Bureau at a stipulated rate; also to transmit weather forecasts and storm warnings from the Weather Bureau to vessels at sea without charge.
    The service was placed in tentative operation aboard the vessels of the American Line December 1, 1905, the first dispatch being received from the steamship New York, Captain Roberts, December 8, the position of the vessel at the time being latitude 40° N., longitude 60° W., or about 600 miles east of Sandy Hook.
    Subsequently the service was extended to the following-named vessels of other lines, all equipped with Marconi apparatus, viz:
    North German Lloyd: Steamships Grosser Kurfurst, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, Kronprinz Wilhelm.
    Hamburg American Line: Steamships Amerika, Bluecher, Deutschland, Kaiserin Augusta Victoria.
    Cunard Line: Steamships Campania, Carmania, Caronia, Carpathia, Etruria, Ivernia, Lucania, Pannonia, Slavonia, Ultonia, Umbria.
    White Star Line: Steamships Baltic, Cedric, Celtic, Majestic, Oceanic.
    All the above named vessels, including the steamships New York, Philadelphia, St. Paul, and St. Louis of the American Line, are now authorized to transmit their daily Greenwich mean noon observations to the Bureau.
    The privilege has also been extended to the following vessels equipped with the De Forrest system:
    Panama Railroad and Steamship Line: Steamships Advance, Alliance, Colon, Finance, Panama.
    Mallory Line (New York to Galveston): Steamships Concho, Denver, San Jacinto.
    The service and code have also been adopted by the U. S. Navy Department, and all vessels of the U. S. Navy are instructed to transmit the daily weather dispatch while at sea. The wireless telegraph stations controlled by the Navy Department are also required to receive weather messages from merchant vessels and to transmit them to the Bureau, likewise to dispatch the weather forecasts and storm warnings issued by the Bureau to vessels at sea demanding them, free of cost.
    The service in connection with the merchant marine is not yet in good working order, owing to its novelty, the inexperience of both observers and operators, and other considerations of a financial character.


    The storm-warning service has now been extended to include all wireless telegraph stations of the Navy Department along the coasts of the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico. These stations receive storm-warning messages from the Weather Bureau and transmit them to light-ships and vessels in the zone of communication that are equipped with wireless apparatus. A similar service has also been inaugurated with the Marconi company by means of which its stations transmit to vessels equipped with the Marconi apparatus messages containing storm advices.
    Ten additional storm-warning display stations have been furnished with steel towers and high-power lanterns for night displays. One hundred and seventy-two display stations on the Lake, Gulf, and sea coasts of the United States are now provided with improved apparatus for the better display of storm warnings. No station of any importance to shipping and commercial interests remains to be equipped, and this important work, which was begun in 1900, is now practically complete.

Page 106:


    First and foremost in the effective distribution of daily weather forecasts and special warnings are the daily newspapers and the various press associations. Closely following these in importance is the telephone, not only in rural districts but also in the great centers of population. During the year just ended over half a million telephones were added to those already receiving forecasts and warnings through the telephone exchanges.
    Aside from the distribution through the press associations, the daily newspapers, and the telephone, it has been found necessary to telegraph forecasts and warnings direct to a number of places in the different States and Territories at the expense of the Bureau, it being impossible to serve the interests involved through the press associations. The number of addresses in the United States to which forecasts and special warnings are sent by telegraph is 2,150. Special warnings only are sent to 767 addresses, and emergency warnings, when issued, to 5,998 addresses. Distribution without expense to the Bureau is made to 76,719 addresses by mail, to 82,466 by mail through the rural free-delivery service, to 1,014,285 by telephone, to 2,145 by railroad telegraph lines, and to 2,514 by railroad train service.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1907

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, November 7, 1907:
Page 169:

    The essential feature of this service is the collection by wireless telegraphy of meteorological observations from vessels at sea, and the dispatch by the same means to vessels at sea of weather forecasts and storm warnings based upon the observations thus collected.
    The following vessels, all equipped with the Marconi apparatus, have been authorized to transmit to the Bureau the record of the daily Greenwich mean noon meteorological observations, and have been supplied with the telegraphic code, forms, etc., required for that purpose:
    American Line: Steamships New York, Philadelphia, St. Paul, St. Louis.
    North German Lloyd: Steamships Grosser Kurfurst, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, Kronprinz Wilhelm.
    Hamburg-American Line: Steamships Amerika, Bluecher, Deutschland, Kaiserin Augusta Victoria.
    Cunard Line: Steamships Campania, Carmania, Caronia, Carpathia, Etruria, Ivernia, Pannonia, Saxonia, Slavonia, Ultonia, Umbria.
    White Star Line: Steamships Arabic, Baltic, Cedric, Celtic, Cymric, Majestic, Oceanic, Teutonic.
    Compagnie Generale Transatlantique: Steamships La Bretagne, La Lorraine, La Provence, La Savoie, La Touraine.
    Allan Line: Steamships Corsican, Victorian, Virginian.
    Canadian Pacific Steamship Line: Steamships Empress of Britain, Empress of Ireland.
    The privilege has also been extended to the following vessels equipped with the De Forrest system:
    Panama Railroad and Steamship Company: Steamships Advance, Alliance, Colon, Finance, Panama.
    Mallory Line: Steamships Concho, Denver, San Jacinto.
    Also to the following equipped with the Massie system:
    Pacific Steamship Company: Steamship President.
    The President is, as far as known, the only vessel on the Pacific carrying wireless apparatus. Other vessels are said to be in course of equipment, and the wireless weather service on that coast, in view of its supreme importance in the matter of local forecasting, will be prosecuted with vigor.
    The wireless telegraphic weather service and code have also been adopted by the United States Navy Department, and all vessels of the United States Navy are instructed to transmit the daily weather dispatch while at sea. The wireless telegraphic stations controlled by the Navy Department are also required to receive weather messages from merchant vessels and to transmit them to the Bureau likewise to dispatch the weather forecasts and storm warnings issued by the Bureau to vessels at sea demanding them, free of cost.
    The total number of wireless weather reports received during the year from vessels at sea was 738. Of this number 679 were from transatlantic liners, distributed along the route between Sandy Hook and longitude 44° west.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1908

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, September 28, 1908:
Page 205:

    On September 20, 1907, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, and the foreign and American agents of the vessels cooperating with this Bureau by transmitting meteorological observations made at sea, were informed that this service is suspended for the present.
    The official at San Francisco has arranged through this Bureau and the Quartermaster-General of the Army to have the Army transports plying between that port and Manila send wireless messages containing weather reports to that station. This work will be taken up by the transports as rapidly as wireless equipments are installed. It is the purpose to utilize the reports in forecasting the weather conditions for the coast.
    The official at Portland, Oreg., has completed arrangements with Mr. W. J. Smith, manager of the Marine Transportation Company, to receive each morning and evening observations of pressure, temperature, wind, and weather from the following ships plying between Portland, Seattle, Alaskan ports, and San Francisco, viz, Humboldt, President, Governor, Rose City, G. W. Elder, Roanoke, and City of Pueblo.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1909

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, September 10, 1909:
Page 178:

    To meet the demands of vessel captains and others interested meteorological charts of the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and South Atlantic oceans have been published, showing pressure and temperature normals, trade-wind limits, storm tracks, percentage of gales and fogs, prevailing winds and calms, and average conditions of wind and weather over each ocean. The storm-warning signals used by all the countries of the world, symbols showing the wireless telegraph and life-saving stations, and much other information of value to seafaring people also appear on the charts. The first issue of 3,000 North Atlantic, 1,500 North Pacific, and 1,000 South Atlantic charts fell short of the demand from marine stations, American consuls, vessel captains, and others, so the next issue was increased to 5,000 North Atlantic, 2,500 North Pacific, and 2,000 South Atlantic charts.


    Reports of marine observations by wireless telegraph service have been discontinued on the Atlantic. The work has been taken up by the Weather Bureau officials at San Francisco, Cal., and Portland, Oreg., but trouble has been experienced in utilizing these observations on the Pacific coast, on account of the short distance that messages can be sent.
    The Weather Bureau official in charge at San Francisco has made arrangements with the Toyo Kisen Kaisha Company, and also with the United States army transports plying between San Francisco and the Philippines, for regular messages. The messages are handled by the United Wireless Company and the naval wireless land stations and delivered without cost. Wireless reports are also received from the steamers of the Matson Navigation Company. These reports are utilized at San Francisco in connection with the forecast work. The Weather Bureau official at Portland, Oreg., has arranged with the manager of the Marine Transportation Company and with vessels of other companies plying between Portland, Seattle, and Alaska, to have wireless messages sent to his station. These reports are received at Cordova or Katalla, Alaska, and transmitted by cable by the wireless telegraph companies free of charge, thus enabling the Portland official to get the reports when the vessels are farther up the coast. During the last fiscal year 177 reports were made, but only 29 were received in time to be utilized in the forecast work at Portland.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1910

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, October 10, 1910:
Page 167:

    Hurricane of August 27, 1909.--This storm, which caused great loss of property at Mole St. Nicholas, was first observed south of Haiti on the 23rd. On the 26th the steamer Cartago reported the storm by wireless to New Orleans, via Burwood, La., the distance from the ship to the receiving station being about 500 miles. This is the first instance in which a report of an encounter with a storm at sea was transmitted in time to be utilized in current forecast work. The storm struck the coast near the mouth of the Rio Grande on the 27th. Although it was severe no lives were lost during its passage, due to the fact that the Weather Bureau warnings were timely and enabled the people living on the low islands along the Gulf to reach places of safety.
    Extract from the Corpus Christi Herald of August 30, 1909:

    The people who were at Tarpon Beach are loud in their praises of the United States Weather Bureau, and say that had it not been for the warnings sent out by the Bureau every one of them might have been drowned. As it was, they received the warnings in time to seek safety in the quarantine station, where they all remained until the storm was over.

    The cooperation of steamship lines has been requested during the coming year as an aid to the forecaster in predicting the direction of movement and the intensity of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and West Indian waters. It is hoped to have vessels in those waters report by wireless telegraph to the central office at Washington during the hurricane season of 1910 whenever the meteorological conditions are such as to indicate the presence of a hurricane in the immediate region of the reporting vessel. These reports, in connection with those received from special meteorological stations maintained by the Bureau in the West Indies, will give the forecaster information of the greatest value.

Page 182:

    On account of the falling off in the number of vessels leaving San Francisco, very few wireless observations were received there during the year. The service to Portland, Oreg., has been continued throughout the year. From 20 to 75 reports are received each month at that station, but the official in charge states that only about 26 per cent are of benefit in his forecast work, the barometer readings and wind and weather being of most value. More than half of the reports are received too late for use. These messages are sent and received without expense to the Bureau, through the courtesy of the vessel captains, the United Wireless Company, and the naval wireless stations. Many of the reports are received at Katalla or Cordova, Alaska, and forwarded by cable free of cost.


    In addition to their meteorological work the stations at Block Island, Cape Henry, Jupiter, Sand Key, Southeast Farallon, North Head, Point Reyes, Port Crescent, and Tatoosh Island are required to report all passing vessels, wrecks, and marine disasters and casualties, and to transmit all communications between masters, owners, underwriters, and others interested. The stations at Cape Henry, Jupiter, Sand Key, Southeast Farallon, Point Reyes, North Head, and Tatoosh Island are equipped for signaling by the international code, and are prepared to transmit messages by telegraph. Sand Key can also send and receive messages by flash light (Morse code). Each station, immediately upon sighting a vessel, sends a message to the owners and the maritime exchanges. All the stations cooperate with the Life-Saving Service in rendering assistance to wrecks and vessels in distress.
    Cape Henry has 89 correspondents on its list, the telephone being used in reporting to Norfolk and Newport News. That office also cooperates with the Maryland Pilot Association, and such vessels as do not burn night signals are reported each morning by the pilot boats. All naval vessels are reported to Norfolk, and in some cases to the Navy Department at Washington. A daily list of vessels that pass is sent to the press in Norfolk. The office is kept open day and night. A flag is dropped at noon each day, giving the noon hour to the pilot boats and other vessels in the offing. A new code for communicating with tugboats of the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce that may be in the offing went into use in October, 1909. For night signaling purposes an acetylene plant will shortly be installed at Cape Henry.
    During the year Block Island reported 15 passing vessels, Jupiter 542, North Head 1,643, Point Reyes 1,131, Port Crescent 334, Sand Key 1,552, Southeast Farallon 199, Tatoosh Island 2,368, and Cape Henry 19,755, making a total of 27,539 vessels. Often each message is sent to from three to six different interested parties, thus making the work enormous. In addition to this Cape Henry reported 12 wrecks, and 725 vessel orders were received and delivered.
    Only two complaints were made of poor service, and upon investigation they were found to be due to the fault of the vessel captains.
    As an instance of the efficiency of the service, the observer at Point Reyes Light noticed that a vessel, the Charles Wilson, off the point, was rapidly drifting shoreward and was likely to be dashed against the rocks. He at once signaled the vessel, notified the San Francisco office of the Weather Bureau, and hoisted the distress signal and the signal "want tugboat." The steamboat Dispatch recognized the signals and went to the assistance of the helpless vessel.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1911

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, October 1, 1911:
Page 163:

    WEST INDIAN HURRICANE OF OCTOBER, 1910.--Attempts made in former years to get reports by wireless from vessels plying in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea met with small success, owing to the small range of the transmitting vessels. This past year, however, a concerted effort was again made to secure these reports, this time with gratifying results. A number of valuable reports were received from vessels in the region of tropical storms, that from the United Fruit Co.'s steamship Abangarez, latitude 14° 20' N., and longitude 81° 51' W., received on the evening of October 12, being particularly helpful in locating the most notable hurricane of the season, which struck Key West, Fla., on the afternoon of the 17th. Although the pressure had been below normal for several days previously, this wireless report was the first definite information the Weather Bureau had of the severe storm in the Caribbean. In conjunction with the reports from the land stations, it enabled the forecaster to locate the center of the disturbance with a degree of accuracy which could not have been done through the use of observations made at land stations alone. By the morning of the 13th the hurricane center was about 200 miles south-southwest of Havana, Cuba, apparently moving northwestward. The storm passed to the westward of Havana on the afternoon of the 14th and over Key West on the afternoon of the 17th. It then moved in a northerly direction to southern Georgia, where it took a course more to the east, and passed off the Atlantic coast near Cape Hatteras on the 20th. During, the progress of this storm timely advices regarding its location, intensity, and probable direction of movement were disseminated by every available means, including wireless, to interests liable to be affected by winds and tides. The following are among the testimonials received as to the value of the service rendered by the bureau in its advance notices of this storm.
    From C. W. Jungen, manager of the Atlantic Steamship Lines of the Southern Pacific Co.:

    I beg to express to you the appreciation of the management of this company for the valuable service rendered by the Weather Bureau during the tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean on or about the 13th to 19th instant, which overtook several of the company 's ships in that vicinity. These bulletins were of great assistance to the masters of our ships in preserving the company's property and preventing the loss of life at sea.

Page 172:

    The appropriation for this branch of the service was inadequate to meet the many demands for daily forecasts and special warnings during the past year. While the decrease in the number of places receiving the warnings at Government expense was 60, there was an increase of more than 500,000 in the number of telephone subscribers to whom the forecast was delivered by free telephone distribution, owing to the very favorable arrangements entered into between the bureau and the various telephone and telegraph companies. By an arrangement between the Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Co. and the Weather Bureau which goes into effect on July 1, 1911, this distribution by free telephone will be materially increased during the next fiscal year.
    At the close of the year the number of places receiving forecasts at Government expense was 2,120, while by free telephone distribution the forecasts were available to 4,251,347 addresses.

Page 178:

    San Francisco received 206 and Portland, Oreg., 244 wireless reports of observations during the year. These messages are sent and received without expense to the bureau through the courtesy of the vessel captains, the United Wireless Telegraph Co., and the naval wireless stations. Many of these reports are received at Katalla or Cordova, Alaska, and forwarded by the Signal Corps cable free of cost.
    It is expected that the number of observations reported by wireless telegraph will be increased during the coming year as a result of the regulations, effective July 1, 1911, requiring all vessels of a certain class to be equipped with sufficient apparatus for radio-communication.


    When the wireless telegraph regulations become effective, an effort will be made to have the captains and operators on all approaching steamers report the fact by wireless telegraph to the Navy wireless station at Tatoosh Island, and, in case of fog, to use this means to report their passage to and from the strait.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1912

Report of James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture, November 27, 1912
Page 40:

    On April 1, 1912, the Weather Bureau inaugurated on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts a vessel weather service on 30 vessels sailing between New York and New Orleans and points in the West Indies. These vessels are equipped with barometers, and take observations twice daily when 70 miles or more from the port of departure or port of entry. These observations are radiographed to the nearest wireless station on the coast and sent thence over the land lines to Washington, where they are utilized in the preparation of weather forecasts and warnings. A vessel weather service has also been started on the Pacific coast. Arrangements have also been made for the broadcast dissemination of forecast messages and storm warnings over the ocean, to the extent that the present service will permit, through cooperation with the Naval Wireless, the United Wireless, the Marconi, and the United Fruit Telegraph services on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts.

Report of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau, August 31, 1912:
Page 268:

    The forecasting of the weather and temperature conditions for the various States for 36 to 48 hours in advance, the dissemination of special warnings of heavy snows, cold waves, frosts, and other unusual atmospheric conditions for the continent, the display of warnings of the coming of destructive storms over the Great Lakes, along the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts, and over West Indian waters for the benefit of shipping, the issue of daily forecasts of wind and weather conditions likely to be encountered by trans-Atlantic steamers in passing from the north Atlantic ports to the region of the Grand Banks, have been successfully carried on by the bureau as in former years.
    In the forecast room at the central office is prepared each morning a synoptic chart of pressure and weather conditions over the Northern Hemisphere. This chart is based on reports received from foreign meteorological services and from Weather Bureau stations in the United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and the West Indies. The world-wide survey of atmospheric conditions presented by these charts is not only indispensable to the forecaster in his daily forecast work, but has also made possible accurate predictions of the general weather and temperature conditions over the United States for a week in advance. All pronounced changes from the prevailing types of weather conditions, whether from dry to wet, or wet to dry, and all reversals in temperature conditions have been successfully announced to the public through these weekly forecasts, which are given widespread publicity by means of the various press associations.
    During the year the field of observations over the Northern Hemisphere was materially extended. Reports are now being received from Dutch Harbor, in the Aleutian group of islands, by wireless, and daily reports from Nemuro in Japan and Shanghai in China come over the Manila cable. Additional daily observations by cable are also being received through the Russian meteorological service from Vardo, Astrakan, Tashkend, Nertchinsk, and Yakutsk.


    The Chief of the Weather Bureau visited England and took part, from June 4 to July 6, 1912, in the International Radiotelegraphic Conference. As a result of his intercessions, which were indorsed by all of the delegates of the United States, the conference agreed to an international regulation which shall give weather observations the right of way over all messages except distress calls. This is an important regulation and will make it possible in time to organize complete ocean weather services. With the cooperation of the various maritime nations, it is proposed to inaugurate in the near future a weather service for the north Atlantic Ocean: The ocean will be divided into two zones by longitude west of Greenwich. Observations taken over the western zone will be forwarded to Washington either directly or by relaying from one vessel to another, and observations taken within the eastern zone will be forwarded in like manner to Europe. Charts based on these reports will then be constructed and the dangerous storms located. While many of the observations will be repeated from ship to ship and thence to land stations on account of the comparatively limited radius of the transmitting stations on vessels, it is expected that information regarding the location and movement of dangerous storms will be transmitted to all vessels within the western zone at the same instant from some one of the high-power stations on our Atlantic seaboard. The value of such a service to life and property on the ocean can be faintly realized when it is considered that warnings to the shipping of the entire Atlantic, especially to tramp and other vessels that can not so well stand severe weather, will enable them by a slight change in their course to avoid the dangerous quadrants of the more severe storms.
    An interesting and valuable extension already inaugurated in the weather service is the receipt daily, morning and evening, by aerial telegraphy of reports from vessels at sea off the middle and south Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean waters. With the further perfection of the wireless telegraph service, these reports will become of increased importance.
    The following extracts from reports received during the year furnish instances of special service rendered by these stations to vessels in distress:
    Tatoosh Island, Wash., June 22, 1912.--At 4.30 a. m. while taking a. m. observation, sighted the American brigantine William G. Irwin, bound from Roche Harbor, Wash., to San Francisco, Cal., with lumber and lime. She was lying just off Mukkaw Bay, about 5 miles south of station, an unusual position for a sailing vessel. A very light wind, almost calm, prevailed, and the incoming tide was carrying her slowly into the bay. A close watch was kept on her, and about 9 a. m. she ran up her ensign, evidently for assistance. I immediately requested the wireless station to get into communication with the revenue cutter Snohomish at Neah Bay and notify her of the Irwin's position, which they did. Snohomish proceeded at once to Mukkaw Bay and towed the Irwin to a safe offing. No damage. Commander of Snohomish reports that Irwin was fast setting in toward rocks when he arrived.

Page 284:

    On April 1, 1912, the bureau inaugurated on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts a vessel weather service on 30 vessels sailing between New York and New Orleans and points in the West Indies and South American ports. This special service on 23 of the vessels was placed under the supervision of the official at New York and on 7 under that of the official at New Orleans. The vessels were equipped with aneroid barometers, and the observer on each takes two observations daily, one at 7 a. m. and the other at 7 p. m., seventy-fifth meridian time, when the vessel is 75 miles from the port of departure or port of entry, and radiographs them to the nearest wireless station on the coast, from which point they are sent over the land lines to Washington. For this service the observers are paid 50 cents for each observation. The transmission of the messages from the vessels and their transfer to the land line stations is done without cost to the bureau, through cooperation by the naval wireless, Marconi, the United Wireless, and the United Fruit radiotelegraph service, to which companies thanks are extended for the many courtesies shown. The steamers cooperating in this work are operated by the United Fruit Steamship Co., the New York & Cuba Mail Steamship Co., the Mallory Steamship Co., and the Panama. Railroad Steamship Line.
    Vessel weather service has also been started on the Pacific coast on vessels of the Nippon Yusen Kabushika Kaisha, plying between the Orient and points on the Pacific coast. The Japanese Government offered to take up the work free of cost, except for land tolls, and has issued instructions to all its vessels to make reports to our officials at San Francisco and Portland.
    At San Francisco the daily forecasts are distributed by the United Wireless at stated times each day to vessels at sea.
    At San Francisco 321 vessel reports were received during the year, but the official states that most of the reports were of little value in connection with his forecast work. Reports from coastwise steamers were of interest to the public and were published in the papers. The maximum distance from which reports were received was 1,440 miles.
    At Portland, Oreg., reports were received from 534 vessels, of which 176 were of benefit to the forecaster in connection with his work and 358 of only slight value. Forecasts made at Portland are sent over the Port Crescent Lines to Tatoosh Island, where they are delivered to the Naval Wireless station for distribution to vessels at sea and to points along the coast.


    The bureau is in close cooperation with the Naval Wireless, the United Wireless, the Marconi, and the United Fruit Telegraph services on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. Instructions have been issued to the stations of these services to forward immediately to Washington all weather information received, and special hours have been set aside for the broadcast dissemination of forecast messages and storm warnings over the ocean. Even when information relating to a disturbed condition of the weather at sea is contained in a private message, the operator at the radio station has been instructed to request the master of the vessel to make a weather report. The proposed extension of wireless weather service to cover the entire north Atlantic Ocean, through international regulation and cooperation, has already been referred to.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1913

Report of C. F. Marvin, Chief of the Weather Bureau, August 29, 1913:
Page 64:

    The nature of this service is such that but a small part of it can be regarded as essentially new work. The issue of the weekly forecasts, as well as of the daily forecasts, was continued during the year. The weekly forecast is prepared each Sunday morning and immediately distributed through the channels of the press associations and by mail. It is revised Monday and published in the National Weekly Weather Bulletin, issued each Tuesday during the crop-growing season.
    Through cooperation with the naval radio service of the Navy Department, arrangements have been completed for a daily broadcast distribution of wind forecasts and warnings from two points--Radio, Va., and Key West, Fla. -- beginning July 15, 1913. By this means it is hoped to place valuable information in the hands of each shipmaster approaching or navigating the coastal waters of the eastern United States and the West Indies.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1914

Report of D. F. Houston, Secretary of Agriculture, November 14, 1914:
Page XVI:

    The nation is spending through the department large sums in acquiring agricultural information. It would be little short of criminal to spend millions of dollars to acquire information and not to use every possible efficient agency available for placing it at the disposal of the people as promptly as possible, for it is certain that if the average farmer could be induced to apply what the experts now know or what the best farmers practice, a revolution could be brought about in the agriculture of the nation. It has seemed a matter of great urgency that through every proper channel at the earliest possible moment there be brought home to the 6,000,000 farm families of the Union the knowledge which the department has acquired and is increasingly acquiring. It is the purpose of the department, with as little delay as possible, through every proper medium to give the knowledge which the department possesses as the result of investigations and field work to all the people who desire it or should have it.
    Up to a comparatively short time ago the printed matter conveying information was in the form of bulletins and circulars limited to issues of from 2,000 to 40,000 copies. Not infrequently much time was required for the final preparation of the bulletin, for its printing, and for its distribution. In the nature of things, the bulletins could not reach a great mass of the farmers. Many farmers did not even know of the existence of the department and knew nothing of the service it could render. They did not know of the existence of bulletins which would be helpful to them or how to secure them; and in many cases they could secure them only with considerable inconvenience and some expense. Furthermore, the bulletins were not infrequently difficult to interpret, to understand, and to apply. Emergencies frequently arise in which information, to be of value, must be placed within a few hours in the hands of farmers. The delay in issuing official printed bulletins and mailing them often defeated the possibility of service. In case of distant States the mailing time to and from Washington caused from 12 to 14 days to elapse before the desired information could be delivered. In many cases, where the department's supply of printed publications was exhausted, it has been necessary to inform the farmer that he must send 5 or 10 cents to the Superintendent of Documents to obtain the desired publications. This involves on the farmer's part the writing of a second letter to the Superintendent of Documents and another delay of 12 or 14 days. In cases actually worked out, where the publication desired was not available from the department, farmers in Pacific Coast States have been unable to obtain the information in less than 30 days.
    As the result of long observation, as well as of careful survey, the department reached the conclusion that, aside from the conveying of information by competent persons directly to farmers on their farms, the most efficient medium for reaching the farmers was the agricultural press, and that, next to this, the most efficient mediums were the daily and weekly newspapers which devoted space to agricultural matters. It was ascertained that these journals would gladly use material if it were furnished to them in such form as to be readily available. It seemed desirable to have an office which could do this, because through it the matter could be more accurately and adequately presented. It was also discovered that correspondents of representative journals would telegraph to their home offices items giving important and timely agricultural information bearing upon pressing problems.
    This whole matter was made the subject of a conference with the chiefs of bureaus, other officers of the department, and experienced writers and journalists. As a result of this conference the Office of Information was established.
    Not only has the establishment of this Office of Information resulted in a fuller knowledge on the part of the farmers of the fact that they can get assistance and that bulletins are available, but it has led to a much larger call for bulletins and supplied a vast amount of information to the press.
    During the fiscal years 1913 and 1914 the staff of the office prepared and issued in mimeographed form to the agricultural press and newspapers 512 summaries or condensed statements of fact and 30 special items to the press associations covering quarantine notices and supplementary statements regarding crop estimates. In addition, each week from 10 to 20 pages of typewritten material have been prepared specially and supplied to rural weekly papers. In every case the summary was circulated only to editors in the geographic or agricultural territory to which the information was directly applicable. The office also cooperates with many editors or their representatives, and others who write, or telephone, or call in person for special information needed by them in the preparation of agricultural articles. It answers daily many letters requesting information not covered directly by existing publications or not falling within the province of any one of the department's bureaus or offices.
    While no effort been made to keep a complete account of the use of material by publications, a computation of the circulation shows that the information issued through the office is appearing monthly in over 250,000,000 printed pages. This computation does not include the total circulation of this information. It does not include the department's material which appears in the pages of nearly every agricultural journal and much special material on practical farming carried by weekly country papers. As a result of this service many daily papers which heretofore had given no attention to agriculture are now devoting considerable space to publishing the department's brief, simple statements of direct local value as to improved methods of farming or as to control of crop pests. These reach the farmers promptly through the Rural Free Delivery Service. This service is not now being used and never has been used for private interests, either directly or indirectly. It limits itself to the dissemination of established facts and of officially approved information. It has refrained from discussing individuals, from entering into controversies, and from commenting on legislation. It has the simple aim of attempting to convey to the farmers, through the press, as effectively and quickly as possible, the latest discoveries in agricultural science and the best practices.

Report of C. F. Marvin, Chief of the Weather Bureau, September 21, 1914:
Page 51:

    Through cooperation with the naval radio station of the Navy Department, a daily distribution of wind forecasts and storm warnings is now regularly made from two points--Radio, Va., and Key West, Fla.--for the Gulf of Mexico and the western portion of the Atlantic Ocean. During the year arrangements were completed to have a similar service for the Great Lakes. By this means valuable information is placed in the hands of vessel masters while at sea.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1915

Report of C. F. Marvin, Chief of the Weather Bureau, September 22, 1915:
Page 57:
Forecasts, storm frost, flood, and other warnings and weather bulletins to be of real value must be immediately disseminated. The Weather Bureau is well organized to accomplish this result, and its work and efforts are impaired on some occasions only by the failure or complete interruption of the customary means of communication--that is, principally, the telegraph and telephone service.
    Almost the first effect of great floods and destructive storms is to cut off communication by the customary wire service. Wireless methods of communication are subject to but little, if any, interruption by destructive weather conditions, and on such occasions are often the only means of communication that remain. A powerful argument is found in these considerations for the establishment of wireless stations in many regions of the country, especially those that have repeatedly suffered from disastrous floods and storms and the serious loss of communication with the outside world.

Page 63:

    CAPE HENRY-HATTERAS SECTION.--Communication was interrupted on this line for a total of 43 days. During these interruptions weather reports from Hatteras were missed but a few times, as they were handled with slight delay by telephone and wireless through the cooperation of the Coast Guard Service and the commercial and Navy wireless stations.

Page 66:

    Amateur wireless operators at Illiopolis, in Illinois, were permitted to aid in the distribution of weather forecasts by a scheme put in operation in June, 1915, as follows:
    The sending station receives the forecasts usually by mail or by telephone, and broadcasts them between 12.45 and 1 p. m., in a message sent out at a slow rate--about 10 or 12 words a minute--to accommodate inexperienced operators. The receiving operator copies the message on an approved card and posts it for the benefit of his neighbors. Three places in Illinois--Illiopolis, Rock Island, and Springfield--send the forecasts in this manner, and 16 places in the State receive them. The total number of cards posted daily, except Sunday, is 38.
    The distribution of forecasts by wireless was also begun in January, 1914, at University, N. Dak., from which source nine places in the State are supplied.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1916

Report of C. F. Marvin, Chief of the Weather Bureau, October 14, 1916:
Page 55:

    The distribution of weather forecasts has been continued along the same lines as in former years and by the same methods, i. e., by telegraph, by telephone, by mail, and by wireless. The daily forecasts are available by telephone to more than 5,000,000 subscribers, and by mail to more than 100,000 addresses. Distribution by wireless has been somewhat extended during the year. By this means the forecasts for nine States are distributed from four points. Those for North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota are broadcasted from University (Grand Forks, N. Dak.); for Illinois, from Springfield, Ill.; for Ohio, from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin, from the United States Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Ill. These forecast messages are received at about 270 amateur radio stations. A further extension of the distribution may be expected through the issue of forecast cards by the wireless operators. This feature of the matter has been given consideration, but the results are not yet determined.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1917

Report of C. F. Marvin, Chief of the Weather Bureau, September 27, 1917:
Page 46:

    Weather reports (in cipher) are transmitted to and from about 200 Weather Bureau stations twice daily--at 8 a. m. and 8 p. m.--and approximately 800 forecast telegrams are sent daily from this office. In addition, there are audited at the Weather Bureau all telegraph, telephone, and radio accounts, amounting to nearly $300,000 annually, dealing with about 60 companies, also all Weather Bureau telegraph and telephone lines and other line tolls for commercial business. Repairing and rebuilding of Weather Bureau lines is also supervised by the central office of the bureau.
Page 49:

    There was a considerable increase during the year in the number of cooperating rural telephone lines, and a corresponding extension of distribution to the farming communities. The forecasts by this means reach the farmers in nearly all instances by noon of the day of issue, and reports show that the service is very highly valued. Distribution by wireless, which was expected to be extended, was abridged or suspended through the control of all wireless communications exercised by the Government as a military necessity. The distribution of the weekly forecasts was materially extended by telegraphing them to the central offices of about 250 rural telephone lines in the 13 central grain-growing States, by which they were made available to all the subscribers on these lines by the day of issue.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1918

[NOTE: No radio information appeared in this issue. The United States was involved in fighting World War One, and the military had taken over or closed all radio transmitters and receivers.]

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1919

Report of C. F. Marvin, Chief of the Weather Bureau, October 11, 1919:
Page 59:

    For the prompt handling of meteorological reports and weather information over the greater part of the Northern Hemisphere the Weather Bureau has necessarily maintained for many years past formal annual contracts, arranged under special authority of law, with all of the more important telegraph, telephone, and cable companies, including also wireless commercial companies, through cooperation with the Naval Communications Service. By order of the Postmaster General, dated June 7, 1919, Weather Bureau contracts for next fiscal year and during Federal control were made exempt from increase of rates, but this affects only contracts entered into by the central office at Washington. An opinion was also obtained that increased rates were not applicable for wire and battery service leased for maintenance of local recording river gages and similar self-registering equipment used by the Weather Bureau.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1920

Report of C. F. Marvin, Chief of the Weather Bureau, October 8, 1920:
Page 74:

    No material changes occurred during the year in the operation of the "circuit" system whereby reception by telegraph of about a 175 coded weather observations are reported to the central office twice daily. By the same means 140 stations connected directly with these circuits, 21 in number, receive a specified number adequate to their needs. In addition to these circuit reports, daily observations are received from approximately 40 other points by special message and cablegram and about 50 from ships at sea by wireless.
    Close cooperation of the Western Union Telegraph Co. has existed since the foundation of the circuit system many years ago and is vitally necessary for the effective maintenance of the work. Steadily increasing use by this company of the "multiplex" machine system, mentioned in report of last year, has continued to militate somewhat against accurate and prompt transmission of reports and general miscellaneous business by special message.
    Reception of reports from cable stations has not been as prompt as heretofore except in isolated cases. Several important cables were broken or interrupted at various places during the autumn of 1919. In consequence, the wireless systems of the Navy Department became greatly congested in an effort to carry the business which included numerous daily weather reports from cable stations and also from ships at sea. Embarrassing delays naturally ensued. This condition continued throughout June, the beginning of the hurricane season, and still obtains at this writing. Vigorous efforts have been made to effect improvement without sensible results.
    Refusal of one telephone and telegraph company to renew a contract at former favorable rates necessitated, in the interest of economy transference of a large part of the service performed by that company to the telegraph companies. This amounted to about $5,000 annually. Because of late opening of many of these offices, noted in the last report as having resulted from abridgment of the hours of labor of operators, prompt dispatch of the cotton and corn and wheat messages involved could not be accomplished. This latter condition applies equally to many small offices throughout the Middle and far Western States at which observational reports are prepared for transmission to circuit centers at early hours. At some of these points railroad offices are available, from which the telegrams may be transmitted, but frequent delays are inevitable where so filed, due to the pressure of other business, especially at train times. Prompt transmission at early hours could be accomplished by the telegraph companies by assignment of special operators for this purpose, cost of which is prohibitive,
    The great disparity between the wages paid commercial telegraphers and the salaries possible for the Weather Bureau to pay its operators leads to repeated resignations and vacancies for long periods before places can be filled. The work has suffered severely on this account and serious delays occur in clerical positions, leading to great dissatisfaction and inefficiency.

1920 Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture (corrected to March 10, 1921), p. 127:


By W. A. WHEELER, Specialist in Market Information, and FRANK GEORGE, Assistant in Market Information.

The "Marketgram" Service.

    To be of greatest value market information must be received by the producer as soon as possible after the close of the markets. With that end in view the Bureau of Markets maintains a special telegraphic market-reporting service to producers direct, the producers paying only the telegraph tolls. Then there are the "C. N. D." [Commercial News Department] services of the commercial telegraph companies, whereby a producer may receive Bureau of Markets live-stock reports at stated intervals during the day upon payment of a telegraph fee to the telegraph companies. The bureau's mimeographed reports sent by telegraph to its branch offices and thence by mail to producers are usually received upon the morning following the day's business. Washington Telegraphers
    A recent departure in the field of market reporting is the publication of weekly summaries of market conditions at the important producing and consuming centers. In a single report, only 1,000 words in length, are summarized national market conditions and prices on fruits and vegetables, live stock and meats, grain, hay, feed, and seed, dairy products, and cotton. These reports, known as "Marketgrams," are compiled from telegrams received at the Washington office of the Bureau of Markets from hundreds of regular and voluntary reporters, and treat of trend of conditions and prices, briefly and concisely presenting to the reader, almost at a glance, a picture of the entire marketing situation. No statistical data are given in these reports beyond important changes in the week's range of prices.
    "Marketgrams" are issued on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of each week and cover the markets for the preceding seven days. At 5 o'clock on the days of issue the reports are dispatched over the leased telegraph wires of the Bureau of Markets to its branch offices and thence released immediately to farm papers and other publications which have requested them. More than 5,000 such publications, with a combined circulation of at least 10,000,000 readers, receive and publish the reports, several foreign-language newspapers being among the subscribers. Any newspaper or farm journal that is not now publishing the "Marketgrams" would probably be glad to arrange to do so if its readers requested the service.

The Wireless Service.

    Although there are thousands of subscribers to these services, they represent but a small proportion of all the agricultural producers in the United States. The aspiration of the Bureau of Markets is promptly to place daily national market information in the hands of all producers, and it is now experimenting with the wireless to determine the practicability of utilizing that medium of dispatch.
    Through the cooperation of the United States Bureau of Standards the Bureau of Markets recently made arrangements for sending "Daily Radio Marketgrams" from the Washington radio station of the Bureau of Standards. These reports are 600 words in length and give daily market conditions and prices with regard to live stock and meats, grains, hay, feed and seed, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products. The Chicago live-stock and fresh-meat markets are reported as well as three eastern fresh-meat markets. Of grain, prices and conditions at the Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Winnipeg markets are given. The fruit and vegetable information is obtained in a manner similar to that employed in the case of the "Marketgrams." Of hay, feed, and seeds, conditions and prices at the principal eastern markets are reported, and of dairy products the New York butter market and the Wisconsin primary markets are quoted.
    The "Daily Radio Marketgrams" are wirelessed at 5 p. m. each business day, and are received by hundreds of amateur wireless operators within a 200-mile radius of Washington. These operators relay the information to farmers, farmers' organizations, shippers' organizations, newspapers, and others concerned with the marketing of farm products. Certain newspapers have installed wireless equipment to receive the reports direct and other newspapers are making similar arrangements. A number of producers and newspapers have made arrangements with wireless operators for the receipt of the information, and several public institutions such as State bureaus of markets and high schools are regularly receiving the reports with their own equipment. In conducting the experiment the Bureau of Markets has the benefit of the experience and advice of some of the Nation's foremost wireless experts, and marketing agencies everywhere are watching the work with great interest.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1921

[NOTE: There were no references to radio in the Secretary's report.]

Report of the Chief of the Weather Bureau: 1920-1921
C. F. Marvin, October 15, 1921:
Pages 11-12:

    Although the war crippled the vessel weather service to a considerable extent it was gradually restored and this year it has been placed on a higher plane of efficiency than ever before. There are now nearly 100 vessels that radiograph weather conditions at least once daily when they are in certain ocean areas from which observations are desired. With the exception of reports radiographed during the entire year from ships in the Pacific, observations are now confined to vessels plying the South Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season, June to November, inclusive. These reports are invaluable in the forecasting of storms and hurricanes.
    During the year cooperative arrangements were perfected with the Shipping Board whereby all ships of that fleet when within prescribed ocean zones radiograph daily weather observations to designated forecast centers. This service was begun June 1, 1921.
    Cooperative arrangements were also made with the Texas Co., the Standard Oil Co., and the Gulf Refining Co. for ships in those fleets to take and radiograph reports to Washington. This cooperation is highly appreciated, as these vessels navigate largely in the Gulf of Mexico, from which regions observations are especially valuable in connection with hurricane work.


    Radio telegraphy and telephony has reached a stage where it must be recognized as a potential medium for the dissemination of weather forecasts, warnings, and information. For some years this has been utilized to some extent, especially in the dissemination of forecasts and storm warnings to ships at sea. A marked extension of the work was made during this year. Since 1914 abbreviated bulletins have been broadcast from the naval radio stations. On November 1, 1920, comprehensive bulletins began to be issued each night at certain scheduled hours from Arlington, Va., Great Lakes, Ill., Key West, Fla., Point Isabel, Tex., and San Juan, P. R. The bulletins are divided into two parts. The first part consists of reports of barometric pressure, wind direction and velocity, and state of weather, taken at 8 p. m. at a number of stations. The second part consists of wind and weather forecasts, storm and hurricane warnings, and advices to shipping.
    On June 1, 1921, an extensive morning bulletin began to be broadcast from Arlington containing surface observations (8 a. m.) taken at 42 regular Weather Bureau stations and 9 aerological stations maintained by the Navy, Army, and Weather Bureau, a summary of weather conditions over the United States, forecasts and storm and hurricane warnings. This bulletin is for the benefit of marine and aviation interests, but is designed especially to meet the needs of the latter. It is the first wireless weather bulletin for the benefit of aviators ever issued in the United States. A special feature is separate flying weather forecasts for six zones covering the entire country east of the Mississippi River. The bulletin is broadcast on high-power wave length and has a range of about 1,000 miles.
    Another bulletin was begun on June 10, 1921, having for its purpose a systematic broadcasting of local weather observations, wind and weather forecasts, storm and hurricane warnings, and advices relating thereto from 26 naval radio stations on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, in the Caribbean Sea, and on the Great Lakes. This distribution is in the nature of a localized service and supplemental to the general bulletins heretofore referred to.
    All of the foregoing bulletins are broadcast from naval radio stations in cooperation with the Office of Communications of the Navy Department.
    The use of radio telegraphy for the benefit of marine interests is well systematized and quite complete, but such is not the case so far as land interests are concerned. However, plans are under way to systematize radio distribution of forecasts and warnings for the special benefit of agricultural and commercial interests and to extend it to every State and section. Forecasts and warnings are now broadcast from a number of colleges and private organizations and from radio stations at Washington, D. C., Bellefonte, Pa., Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Mo., Omaha and North Platte, Nebr., Cheyenne, Wyo., and Reno, Nev., which are operated by the Post Office Department in connection with its transcontinental air mail service.
    The ultimate plan in mind will provide for the distribution on fixed schedules of weather forecasts and warnings from at least one radio station in each State. Existing Government radio stations will be utilized as far as practicable, but cooperative arrangements with commercial companies licensed to engage in radio communicative service will also be made in States where Government agencies are not available.

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1922

Report of Henry C. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture, November 15, 1922:
Page 19:

    Some extensions of the market news service have been made through cooperative agreements with the States, whereby the latter pay the expenses involved. Insistent demands have come for a considerable extension of this service, but have been denied because of lack of funds. It has been possible, however, to disseminate market information much more widely than heretofore through the use of the radio stations of the Post Office and Navy Departments. At designated hours each day market reports are furnished to radio stations at Washington, Omaha, North Platte, Nebr.; Rock Springs, Wyo.; Elko and Reno, Nev.; Arlington, Va.; and Great Lakes Ill., and also to 53 stations operated by State agricultural colleges and other broadcasting agencies. As a means of getting market information to the country the radio is growing to be quite popular. This sort of service is still in an experimental stage, but gives promise of great future development and usefulness.

Report of C. F. Marvin, Chief of the Weather Bureau, September 12, 1922:
Page 68:

    The only hurricane that actually touched continental United States passed over the Florida Peninsula on October 25, 1921, and caused large property damage, mostly from high tides. This storm demonstrated the inestimable value of wireless communication in the hurricane-warning work of the Weather Bureau. It was first detected by a radio report from a ship in the western Caribbean Sea during the afternoon of October 21. Warnings were immediately broadcast to ships in that region. For five days this storm traveled entirely over water areas. Its center, direction of movement, intensity, and rate of progress were determined principally by vessel reports and warnings and advices were radioed four times daily to vessels in the south Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. The hurricane was approaching the usual course of vessels bound to and from United States and Mexican ports on the Gulf coasts. The observations received from vessels during the progress of the storm clearly indicated that the warnings had been received and heeded. All ships whose courses were in its direction turned back or changed their routes to avoid the hurricane. Only one ship was lost and property amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, which could be moved or protected was saved as a result of the timeliness and accuracy of the warnings.

Page 73:

    In the annual report for last year it was stated that radio telegraphy had reached a stage where it must be recognized as a potential medium for the dissemination of weather forecasts, warnings, and information to agricultural interests. It became a realization during the past year. Although wireless telegraphy has been an invaluable factor for many years in the collection of observations from ships and in the distribution of storm and hurricane warnings and weather information to vessels at sea, it was used only to a limited extent for interior service because all messages were necessarily transmitted in the telegraphic code of dots and dashes. With the introduction of radiotelephony, which makes it possible for anyone to receive messages in spoken words, the broadcasting of information over the interior has increased enormously. A year ago the daily State forecasts were being broadcast from 12 radio stations, representing only 7 States, and principally by radiotelegraphy. On July 1, 1922, 98 stations in 35 States were daily broadcasting weather forecasts and warnings. Weekly reports on the effect of weather on crops and highways, and other information issued by the Weather Bureau for the public benefit, also are disseminated by many of them. Radiotelephony is now utilized almost exclusively in this work.
    The Weather Bureau does not own or operate any wireless equipment. The radio distribution work is accomplished through plants operated by other Government agencies, by corporations and by private individuals, and without expense to the Weather Bureau. An exclusive wave length of 485 meters has been assigned by the Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce, for the broadcasting of weather forecasts and market reports. No station can use this wave length unless specifically licensed to do so. In order that unnecessary crowding of the air and interference with schedules may be avoided licenses are granted to only two stations in any city or community. This necessarily eliminates a considerable number of broadcasting stations that otherwise would gladly cooperate in the work. On July 1, 1922, there were about 400 licensed broadcasting stations in the United States. Therefore, about 25 per cent of all the licensed broadcasting stations in the country are already engaged in rendering valuable distribution service to the public. A considerable portion of the remainder would cooperate if sufficient funds were available to provide them with the forecasts and warnings.
    The entire project has involved the Weather Bureau in very little cost. For the most part the broadcasting stations are located in or near cities where first-order meteorological stations are maintained. The information to be broadcast is supplied to them by telephone without additional expense. Offers of cooperation by many broadcasting stations have been reluctantly declined because of the expense involved in the telegraphing or telephoning the forecasts and warnings to them. The service could be placed on a much higher basis of efficiency and materially extended if funds were available for the telegraphing of the forecasts, warnings and information to radio stations not now included in the system and for additional employees which would be required in the work.
    The great value of radiotelephony as a means for disseminating weather forecasts and warnings to the people already has been demonstrated. Its future usefulness can not be estimated. The Weather Bureau was organized by Congress for the benefit of "agriculture, commerce, and navigation." Heretofore, a large portion of the farmers of the country were so located that they could not be supplied by means of newspapers, telegraph, etc., with the daily forecasts and warnings in time to be of service to them. The extension of telephone lines into rural communities overcame only a part of this difficulty. Radiotelegraphy was of slight help and necessitated learning the telegraphic code. The marvelous advance in radiotelephony has entirely changed this situation. It requires only a limited equipment to receive radiotelephone messages. Thousands of farmers installed such receiving apparatus during the past year and are now obtaining the weather forecasts and warnings, which are so important to their operations, as promptly and effectively as the business interests in urban communities. A great future increase is inevitable.
    Another important accomplishment in radio work during the year was the inauguration of a program of broadcasting daily, Sundays and holidays included, of the regular twice-daily forecasts, cold wave, frost, and other warnings and information issued for the States comprised in the Washington and Chicago forecast districts. On Wednesday during April to November, inclusive, a summary of weather conditions as they affected crops during the preceding week also is included. These disseminations are, made from the naval radio stations at Arlington, Va., and Great Lakes, Ill., respectively. This service began June 20, 1922, for the Chicago district and on June 26, 1922, for the Washington district. Radiotelegraphy and high wave-lengths are utilized for these disseminations as telegraphy is more reliable than telephony for long-range transmissions. All the States included in the two districts are within the range of the naval radio stations at Arlington and Great Lakes. Radio receiving stations that are equipped for high wavelength receptions receive direct service thereby. Local radiophone broadcasting stations, most of which are in charge of operators having the required proficiency in radiotelegraph, also are enabled to secure the forecasts, warnings, etc., for localized radiophone broadcasting.
    The primary broadcasting of the State forecasts and summaries from the district forecast centers at Washington and Chicago is an immediate adaptation by the Weather Bureau of plans approved by the interdepartmental radio committee, which contemplates the use of a few high-powered Government radio stations for broadcasting official information by radiotelegraphy for the entire country. Plans are now in formation for beginning the broadcasting about September 1, 1922 of the State forecasts, summaries, etc., for the States in the San Francisco forecast district. It is hoped that similar plans for the remaining districts--New Orleans and Denver--will be effected within a few months, thus bringing all the States into the system.
    Material extensions were also made during the year in the radio bulletin service for the special benefit of marine and aviation interests. On March 15, 1922, broadcasting of a major bulletin from Goat Island (near San Francisco) was begun, and localized bulletins from Tatoosh Island, Wash.; North Head, Wash.; Eureka, Calif.; San Pedro, Calif.; and Dutch Harbor, Alaska. On April 15, 1922, service of the same character was inaugurated for the Great Lakes regions, the major bulletins being disseminated from Great Lakes, Ill.; and the local bulletins from Alpena, Mich.; Buffalo, N. Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Cleveland, Ohio; and Duluth, Minn., replacing a limited broadcasting service previously conducted at those points. The radio broadcasting, work on the Great Lakes and the Pacific coast is on the same basis as on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The character of the major and the local bulletins were described in the report for 1921. In all of this work the Weather Bureau is indebted to the Director of the Office of Communications of the Navy Department and the officials in charge of the various naval radio stations for cordial and efficient cooperation.
    Exchange of weather reports.--Arrangements also were made during the year for supplying to the French meteorological service of a daily radiogram containing observations taken at about 40 stations in the United States and a similar message soon will be sent to the meteorological service of the Philippines and Japan. The reports sent to France are broadcast by radio from the Eiffel Tower for the benefit of the European meteorological services within its range. The United States Weather Bureau receives in exchange a daily message by radio, containing reports from European countries. These exchanges are made possible without cost by the cooperation of the Office of Communication of the Navy Department.
    The Amundsen polar expedition, started from Seattle on June 1, 1922. The exploring ship Maud is equipped with radio apparatus and has a scientific officer on board. It is the plan of this expedition to pass through the Bering Straits, reach the farthest point north that is possible, become frozen in the ice, drift therewith for an estimated period of about three years and come into the open sea to the northeastward of Greenland. The ship expects to maintain radio communications with the United States Signal Corps station at Nome, Alaska, for nearly two years. Arrangements were made with the expedition to take, twice-daily weather observations and transmit them to the Weather Bureau. A number of observations already have been received. This arrangement will provide valuable observations from the most northern points at which observations have ever been taken and transmitted as a daily program. The ship is also equipped with pilot balloons and it is expected that these observations also will be radiographed daily.

Report of Henry C. Taylor, Chief of the Bureau of Markets and Crop Estimates, October 5, 1922:
Page 511:


    The division leader was assisted in this work by W. C. Davis, C. E. Gibbons, E. W. Baker, and J. A. Burgess.
    The market-reporting service on live stock and meats has been developed to the point where it is practically standardized. The service covers approximately the same territory as that served during the previous year, as there can be no material expansion made unless a larger appropriation is made for this purpose.
    It is gratifying to report, however, that due to the increasing public interest in this service and the growing demand for market information, the various news disseminating agencies, such as press associations, commercial telegraph companies, trade journals, newspapers, and commercial radio broadcasting stations, all desire to include the bureau's market reports in the trade information which they furnish to the public. By cooperating with these agencies the division has not only been able to obtain wider dissemination of its market information than ever before, but at less cost and with greater efficiency and speed. Utilizing outside agencies for the dissemination of this information also opens possibilities for a reduction in the number of mimeographed reports distributed, there by permitting a considerable reduction in the cost of the service.


    The development of the radio, particularly the radio telephone, probably has been the greatest stimulus to interest in the market-reporting service during the year. The division has made the fullest use of radio broadcasting facilities as far as they have become available.
    The following program, which is broadcasted daily from the Arlington and Post Office stations at Washington, indicates the kind of live-stock-market information prepared in this division for dissemination by radio:

    8.30 a. m., estimated receipts at seven markets.
    11 a. m., opening hog markets, Chicago and East St. Louis.
    11.30 a. m., estimated receipts at nine markets and opening hog markets, Chicago and East St. Louis.
    2 p. m., Chicago and East St. Louis market conditions and prices.
    2.45 p. m., Chicago closing market conditions and live-stock prices.
    3 p. m., weekly and daily marketgram.
    3.30 p. m., closing live-stock markets, Chicago and East St. Louis.

    In addition to the above program special reports pertaining to particular markets are broadcasted by various commercial broadcasting stations in territory contiguous to those markets. (See Division of Information.)

Page 534:


    Rapid progress has been made in developing the Radio Market News Service, and the reception of "up-to-the-minute" agricultural reports either by radio telegraph or radio telephone practically everywhere in the eastern two-thirds of the United States has been made possible. At designated hours each day the bureau furnishes current market news to radio stations at the Post Office Department at Washington; Omaha and North Platte, Nebr.; Rock Springs, Wyo.; Elko and Reno, Nev., for broadcasting; the Arlington and Great Lakes wireless stations of the Navy Department, and to 53 stations operated by State agricultural colleges and bureaus of markets, newspapers, and other broadcasting agencies. Another important development of the work has been the broadcasting from these stations of estimates of crop conditions, acreages, and yields as issued by the crop reporting board.
    This entire work has been conducted at comparatively slight expense to the department, inasmuch as it has involved merely a fuller utilization of existing agencies for collecting and disseminating market news. The reports are made up from the market news on live stock and meats; fruits and vegetables; grain, hay, feed, and seeds; dairy products; and cotton, already passing over the leased telegraph-wire system, and is distributed by radio without expense to the department by various Government and private broadcasting stations.

Radio Broadcast, December, 1922, p. 186:
Markets presentation

Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1923

Report of Henry C. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture, November 15, 1923:
Page 30:

    Radio broadcasting as a means of disseminating market information has been given a thorough trial during the past year and has fully demonstrated its value. Through the cooperation of the Navy Department the high-powered radio stations at Arlington, Va., Great Lakes, Ill., and San Francisco, Calif., have been used in transmitting market information which has reached a large portion of the country.
    The secondary broadcasting by radio telephone has been further developed, and now any farmer who has an adequate receiving set may get full market reports from the air in practically every part of the United States. An inquiry among county agents showed that the number of receiving sets on farms is rapidly approaching a quarter of a million and that through the distribution of these reports by local schools, farmers' organizations, business houses, etc., the market information is becoming available to a large proportion of our farmers.

Report of C. F. Marvin, Chief of the Weather Bureau, September 12, 1923:
Page 104:
What does the historian who studies the press and weather bulletins of the present day find with respect to this work? Meteorology and radio communication have literally transformed the navigation of the sea from a great peril to a state of relative safety, especially in coastal waters and on the high seas in reach of the daily broadcast of weather reports from coastal stations. Cargo and even passenger ships now shape their movements on weather reports. During the hurricane season of the southern seas we may safely say a captain would not leave port without the latest weather advices, if conditions were menacing, any more than he would leave without his compass or some other essential of navigation. On the Great Lakes vessels are often compelled to make shelter or tie up at dock during stormy conditions. It has been stated that any delay of this character entails an economic loss of from $50 to $100 per hour per vessel. Ignorance of the status and progress of such storms on the part of the navigators leads to an embarrassing dilemma. To leave shelter too soon is to incur hazard of storm damage. To delay unnecessarily is to suffer excess of per hour loss. The local official of the Weather Bureau steps in at this point and with his command of the weather situation he is able to broadcast advices to shipping which literally save many hours of ships' time with practically no losses in safety and security. Here, again, only those actually profiting by this useful service of the bureau are aware of its great economic benefits.

Page 109:


    The distribution of forecasts, warnings, and weather information by radio was covered in some detail in the previous annual report. This work continued during the past year along the same lines, but more effective and widespread distribution was accomplished. Beginning September 1, 1922, arrangements were made with the United Fruit Co. for broadcasting and disseminating twice daily special weather bulletins from its radio station on Swan Island for the benefit of shipping in the Caribbean Sea. These bulletins consist of wind and weather forecasts for western Gulf of Mexico (west of longitude 90°), eastern Gulf of Mexico (east of longitude 90°), and for the Windward Passage. Whenever conditions warrant, the forecasts are preceded by advices and warnings regarding any storm or hurricane that may be in progress and of "northers" during the winter months. During the hurricane seasons these are added to the morning bulletins of weather observations taken at 8 a. m. seventy-fifth meridian time, at 10 stations located in Cuba, the West Indies, and on the eastern coast of Central America.
    An added feature of the service from Swan Island is that signals consisting of a red pennant by day and a red light by night are displayed from the radio tower to indicate that information concerning a hurricane, a storm, or a "norther" is in possession of the radio operator, which can be obtained by boat call ashore. This service is for the special benefit of ships not equipped with wireless, although any ship so equipped may obtain the information by radio call.
    Although the number of commercial and private broadcasting stations that cooperate with the Weather Bureau in disseminating forecasts, warnings, weather and crop information, etc., remain about the same, there has been a material increase in the effectiveness of the service. Cooperation with a number of small stations with limited range was discontinued and several large and more powerful stations added. To meet popular demands the information sent out by radiophone from several stations has been amplified, and now includes river forecasts and stages, conditions of high ways as affected by the weather, effect of weather on crops, weather reports from the principal crop areas, special forecasts for the guidance of farmers in harvesting, etc. In many cases forecasts for several States are now broadcast from a single station. The gradual discontinuance of the smaller and less powerful stations has left the bureau with a chain of well-distributed and reliable stations, from which hearty and continued cooperation may be expected. They are so located that practically all sections of the country are assured of opportunity to obtain the forecasts satisfactorily and directly. It is impossible to approximately estimate the number of people being served in this way. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of receiving-set owners who receive the forecasts by radiophone, large numbers of whom can obtain them in no other way, many repeat them to their neighbors by telephone. This latter form of service has become so potential that arrangements are in hand for a definite form of organization which will replace the telegraphing of forecast messages now sent to centers for distribution. It is expected that more effective service will be accomplished thereby and that considerable economy will result.
    Broadcasting by radiophone from the Arlington naval radio station (NAA) of weather forecasts and warnings for each of the States comprised in the Washington forecast district was inaugurated February 15, 1923. Broadcasts are made three times daily--at 10.05 a. m., 3.45 p. m., and 10.05 p. m., respectively, on a wave length of 435 meters [frequency of 690 kilohertz]. A general forecast covering the entire district and such storm and flood warnings as are issued for any portion thereof are included. On Saturdays there is included in the 3.45 p. m., broadcast the weather outlook for the ensuing week, Monday to Saturday, inclusive, for the North and Middle Atlantic States, the South Atlantic and East Gulf States, the Ohio Valley and Tennessee, and the region of Great Lakes. On Wednesdays, March 15 to November 30, inclusive, a summary giving the effect of the weather on crops during the preceding seven days ending at 8 a. m., Tuesday is given in the 10.05 a. m., and 7.45 p. m., broadcasts. A feature of the service from Arlington, which provides for dissemination of the weather forecasts immediately after they are issued, is that the announcements are made directly from the Weather Bureau office in Washington, which is connected by telephone with the radiophone transmitting apparatus at Arlington, Va.

Annual Report of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1924

Report of Howard M. Gore, Acting Secretary of Agriculture, November 15, 1924:
Page 53:

    Progress in the use of radio for the dissemination and reception of agricultural information during the past four years has kept pace with the general development of this new American industry. It is conservatively estimated that there are now about 375,000 radiophone receiving sets on farms in the United States, which is an increase of over 165 per cent in one year. In a short time agricultural communities, however remote they may be from ordinary communication facilities, probably will be on equal terms with populous centers in obtaining market reports, weather reports, and other information essential to their welfare.
    Following an experiment which was conducted in 1920, the department entered upon a program for the distribution of reports by the use of the radio-telegraph which, if there had been no radiophone broadcasting, would have placed within the reach of the farmers over the country a radio-telegraphic service as extensive, perhaps, as that now enjoyed by those who have access to the telegraph facilities of the country.
    The advent of radio-telephone broadcasting in 1921 placed in the hands of the department a means of giving to the farmers of the United States, directly by the voice, a variety of information essential to agriculture. The value of this means of distribution, and the fact that it works as rapidly as the passage of light or electricity, compelled us to confine our broadcasting material to reports and statements which required such a rapid style of transmission.
    Market reports were first broadcast by radio-telephone from the University of Minnesota in February of 1921. The first regular schedule of reports was begun by station KDKA at East Pittsburgh, Pa., in June of that year. At the beginning of 1922, nine broadcasting stations were duly authorized to disseminate market reports from branch offices. During 1922 more than 100 stations requested the privilege of conducting the market news service by radio for the benefit of farmers. Regular schedules were organized and set in operation in more than 80 stations in different parts of the country.
    During the two years that have followed new stations have been added, and some of those which originally took up the work have discontinued service. Although there are not now many more stations than there were at the close of 1922, the service which the 85 stations now in operation are rendering is much improved and is of real benefit to the people of the country.
    Perhaps the most outstanding development in the broadcasting of market information in the last couple of years has been the appreciation on the part of those charged with the work of the need of suiting the type of material to the radio audience listening in. It has been found that much more general distribution and a wider reception of agricultural information can be developed by changing the style of broadcasting from that of detailed market quotations to a more generalized treatment of the information. Reports regarding the supply, demand, and prices of agricultural products can be made of interest to a larger number of people when the facts are presented in an interesting way. This, however, does not discount the value of detailed quotations for those who have crops or livestock ready to ship or on the market.
    The potential value of meteorological service to agriculture has long been recognized. For many years it was difficult to reach farmers with weather forecasts and warnings in time to be helpful to them. For this reason the benefits to commerce and navigation far exceeded those to agriculture. The rural mail service has been of great assistance, but during recent years the most direct and successful means of furnishing timely weather information to farmers has been through rural telephone systems. Weather forecasts and warnings issued about 9.30 a. m. daily are now made promptly available to over 7,000,000 rural telephone subscribers in the United States.
    Radio, however, has reached a stage of development in which it bids fair to outstrip all other means of communicating weather information to farmers. Since January, 1921, when the first regular radiophone broadcasts were begun from the station operated by the University of Wisconsin at Madison, every opportunity to use the radio for broadcasting weather news has been utilized. The department now cooperates with 120 broadcasting stations in sending out weather reports and practically all parts of the United States are within their range. The daily weather forecasts are radiocast from each of these stations on announced schedules at least once daily, and several times a day in many cases. Warnings of cold waves, frosts, floods, heavy snows, and other unusual weather conditions are included whenever they are issued. The stations now broadcasting have been selected with a view to rendering countrywide service.
    In addition, the department is cooperating with a large number of stations in supplying digested agricultural news, special talks, and the preparation of material upon their direct request.

Annual Report of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1925

Report of W. M. Jardine, Secretary of Agriculture, November 14, 1925:
Page 47:

    The department made its first experiment with radio in 1920. Since then there has been a great development in the use by farmers of this new means of communication. A survey made by county agricultural agents in 1923 indicated there were about 145,000 radio sets on farms throughout the country. In 1924 the estimated number had jumped to 365,000 and in 1925 to 553,000. The average number of radio sets on farms per county has increased from 51 in 1923 to 204 in 1925. This increase of 300 per cent is evidence that the farmer appreciates the broadcasting service provided for him.
    There has also been rapid growth in the number of radio-receiving sets on farms in States at great distances from good broadcasting service. In Florida, for example, the increase in 1925 over the estimated number on farms in that State in the preceding year was 1,955 per cent. Idaho increased the number of its farm receiving sets 850 per cent in the year, Alabama reported an increase of 850 per cent, Arizona of 460 per cent, and Louisiana of 600 per cent. In Pennsylvania, on the other hand, the gain in 1925 over 1924 was only 5 per cent.
    Farmers generally have bought very good radio sets. A questionnaire answered by 2,500 farmers in 1923 indicated the average price of their manufactured sets was $175. This sum will buy a better set to-day than it would two years ago. Yet farmers are not on that account reducing their investments in radio. Dealers in several parts of the country say that radio sets worth from $125 to $400 sell much more readily to farmers than those costing under $100. Farmers have discovered that they need good long-distance sets to get the weather and market reports and entertainment they demand. Twenty-four agricultural colleges maintain radio broadcasting stations. The colleges are becoming enthusiastic users of radio. They cooperate with the Department of Agriculture in broadcasting its weather, crop, and market reports. Several hundred broadcasting stations regularly obtain information for broadcasting from the department. Many farmers have more than saved the price of their radio sets by profit gained by the use of market information issued by the department for broadcasting.

Annual Report of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1926

Report of W. M. Jardine, Secretary of Agriculture, November 1, 1926:
Page 56:

    Early in 1926 the number of rural radio sets in the United States reached nearly 1,000,000. To furnish the users of these sets with timely agricultural information, the department has inaugurated a comprehensive radio program covering the full range of its activities. A new section in the Office of Information, known as the radio service, has been established, to originate programs; to make contracts with commercial stations as an outlet for these programs; and to adapt timely subject matter for radio presentation. Ninety broadcasting stations, representing every section of the country, lend their facilities regularly to the department for an average of half an hour daily. The department's farm programs are brief digests of the most timely, pertinent facts woven into story form, and covering a wide range of topics.
    The fall and winter broadcasting schedule of the radio service includes 20 special program features each week. The United States Radio Farm School, which has already brought requests for a half million enrollment cards, is conducted from 25 stations. Lessons take the form of experience talks and imaginary inspection tours. Radio "schoolmasters" at the different stations conduct the classes. All lesson material is dramatized so as to catch and hold the interest of the listeners. Printed lessons are mailed to all enrolled students.
    Another outstanding service, released from 50 stations, is called "Noonday Flashes." This program enables a million farmers to listen in daily on a conversation between a county agent and a farmer who discuss current problems. "Aunt Sammy," a new radio friend and neighbor for the 5,000,000 farm women of the Nation who have an opportunity to tune in, is heard from 40 stations. The service known as the "Housekeepers' Chat" is a 15-minute period devoted five days a week exclusively to up-to-date information on subjects of interest to women.

New Farm Features

    Special farm features scheduled for the 1926-27 season from 50 stations include "A Weekly Letter to Dad," which a son at college writes home telling about his studies in agriculture; "Autobiographies of Infamous Bugs and Rodents," a 10-minute specialty about "Pests that Are Bothering Now," as told by the insects and rodents themselves; "Chats by the Weather Man ;" "Primer for Town Farmers;" "An Interview with the Agricultural Economist "; and a weekly "Farm News Digest."
    Services through the various offices of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics to radio broadcasting stations have been maintained and expanded. The outstanding development of the radio market news service during the year is the extension of a leased wire to station KFKX at Hastings, Nebr. This powerful station will carry marketing information to the Great Plains States, into many sections not heretofore reached by the Government service. Congress provided for extensions of leased-wire service through the agricultural college at Ames, where reports are broadcast by the college station. A "drop" has been opened at Oklahoma City where, through cooperation with the State board of agriculture, reports are broadcast for the Southwest. With the development of more college and university radio stations additional contacts have been made for the use of market material. Marketing information is now being used by stations at Ohio State University, Columbus; Purdue University at Lafayette, Ind.; and the South Dakota station at Brookings.

Annual Report of the Department of Agriculture for the year ended June 30, 1927

Report of W. M. Jardine, Secretary of Agriculture, November 3, 1927:
Page 84:
The  Radio  Service

    One of the projects carried out by the department's radio service in its first full year of broadcasting a comprehensive technical information service, was an inquiry into the use of this service, and of radios in general, by farmers. During the 1926-27 season, the radio service sent 10,000 questionnaires to individual farmers, county agricultural agents, and managers of broadcasting stations. The replies are incorporated in a report, The Number and Uses of Radio Sets on Farms in the United States, April 1, 1927. On April 1927, there were 1,251,186 radios on farms in the United States, an increase of 128 per cent over the number on farms July, 1925.
    The report was used as a guide in planning the radio programs This season's programs include three of last year's favorites: Aunt Sammy's daily housekeepers' chat, the noontime farm flashes, and the United States radio farm school, as well as eight special features. The special features for 1927-28 are: The poultry chats, a new program worked out in answer to numerous requests for a special poultry program; the young folks' program; insect and wild-animal allies and enemies; primer for town farmers; the farm news digest, and chats by the weather man. Two new special monthly programs are scheduled: The agricultural situation review; and special monthly farm playlets dramatizing agricultural problems.
    The services are well received by broadcasting stations. More than 100 commercial stations were broadcasting the department's programs in October. Hundreds of letters received from farmers cite instances of how these programs are put to use. Farmers report increased profits through improved marketing practices learned in farm radio lessons. More cotton on fewer acres, better food in the home, and better crops at lower cultivation costs, are listed among the benefits received. Thousands of individual requests have been received for literature mentioned in the services. Fifty thousand free copies of Aunt Sammy's Radio Recipes and 165,219 free Farm School pamphlets have been issued.
For more information on the history of the United States Weather Bureau, see the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration History Page.