Talking Across the Sea

It is only five years since we first heard of a wonderful Italian boy who was erecting poles on his father's estates in Italy with a view to establishing electric communication between them without wires. Of course the experiments excited considerable curiosity, but nothing particular was thought of them. The next we heard of him the young Italian was in England trying some experiments on Salisbury plain for the amusement of the troops and spectators. All the while little was thought of it until he began some more ambitious experiments along the shores of the English Channel by way of sending dots and dashes on board ships anchored off shore. Then it began to dawn upon the scientific world that there was a valuable idea in the experiments. Wireless telegraphy had been born.

But even then it was believed that the limitations were such as to make the invention only partially valuable. Since then Marconi has already succeeded in transmitting the tiny sound made by an electric spark a distance of thirty miles. During the recent British naval manceuvres messages were sent between ships eighty miles apart. It was here that it was found that mountains, high buildings, steel masts, etc., do not stop communication. Marconi while in Bantry Bay was able to talk with a ship lying many miles away and separated from the place of the trial by a chain of hills hundreds of feet high. The curvature of the earth has also been discounted.

How Dewey Allowed for Contingencies
October 19, 1899

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