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Wonders of Wireless Telephony?Past and to Come
The Most Astonishing Feat of All, Our Armv Offit
^ ^ Flying in Battl
By J. Olin Howe
?ers Talking Wirelessly With Aviators
TALKING TO EARTH WHILE HE FLIES
Vith a wireless transmitter that is deaf to everything but the aviator's voice
,, a PRETTY PICTURE, that
* /% cf every one with a wire
****? ?*?"?**" less telephone outfit in
office or home and each
individual able at any time to talk with
any other by simply calling through
the air. Jules Verne could doubtless
have done a great deal with such an
idea?in a book?but when it came down
to the practical application of it, that
would be quite another thing. The radio
telephone is essentially not secret ?^-nd
is subject to malicious disturbances. It
is also subject to static disturbances and,
therefore, by no means commercially de?
pendable, and the number of messages
which can be handled in a given area
is very limited.
"Xo, the wireless telephone will hard?
ly take the place of the wire telephone?
at least, until there are changea so rad?
ical as to alter completely the scheme of
radio communication as we know it to?
day. To be sure, it is dangerous to
prophesy what can or cannot he accom?
plished at a time when epoch-making de- I
vclopmcnts are crowding so hard upon j
one another. Yet the -notion of every- j
body having his own small radio tele- j
phone plant and calling at will any one '?
with whom be or she might desire to i
talk is srmrmarily disposed of by exist- j
ing fundamental conditions. We shall
continue to be obliged to depend upon
wires for telephone communication ex?
cept as the radio telephone may supple?
ment the wires under special circum
The speaker was Dr. Frank B. Jewett,
chief engineer of the Western Electric
Company, a scientist of most attractive
personality, whose name means much in
radio and telephone circles and far out?
side. He is just out of the army, where,
as a colonel in the signal corps, he was
responsible for the creation of the radio
telephone. for airplanes and of that by
means of which the navy talks to ships
at sea and directs the movements of its I
submarine chaser flotillas.
We were discussing the establishment
of radio telephonic communication be?
tween Newfoundland and Ireland by the
British Marconi Company. Sitting there
in Dr. Jewetf s sightly ofllces, high up in
the West Street building, overlooking the
varied shipping which passed up and
down the Hudson fairway, even observ?
ing the Nieuw Amsterdam as she backed
wrt into the stream from Hoboken with
Eckhardt, the German Minister to Mex?
ico, and his staff aboard, these matters
uxsned not bo far out of the everyday as
they really are. Think for a mo
? ment what it means to send the tones of
the human voice far out into the atmos?
phere upon a Hertzian wave.
Talking than from Newfoundland to
Ireland actually isn't so remarkable a
thing, however. In this country Arling?
ton lo?**; since talked to the Panama
Canal j-one and the Mare Island naval
fciateon in California by radio wireless.
More, the powerful station opposite the
City of Washington three years and a
talf ago flung the vibrations of the hu
?an voie* m far as th? Hawaiian Islands
L 5**1 ?*?? to tba Eiffel Tower in Paris,
and wire telephone lines at either end
were connected up and used in combina?
tion with the wireless.
Dr. Jewett and his assistants, among
the more prominent of them Edward B.
Craft and E. H. Colpitts, assistant engi?
neers, have done even greater marvels in
radio telephony between ships and be?
tween ship and shore, and, most wonder?
ful of all, between this solid old earth
and the soaring airman high in the
To devise a receiver, and especially a
transmitter, which would exclude from
the radio line, so to call it, all the roar
of the airplane's mighty engine and the
rush and tumult of the winds of the
world and take in only the tones of the
voice?there was an accomplishment
worth celebrating. Only now that the
war is over are we permitted to know
"It is not surprising," Dr. Jewett went
on, "that what is becoming known now
of radio telephone experiments should
arouse keenest public interest in the sub?
ject? People generally want to know
what place radio telephony is likely to
have in the future communication sys?
tems of the world. It is going to have
a place, an important place, but we must
look at it as it is accurately to realize
what that place is to be. Many of tht
recently published results have been tht
direct outgrowth of war conditions, but
some are the outcome of work only re
motely connected with specific war prob
"The whole question of radio tele
phony, both present and future, is, o'
course, very intimately associated witl
conditions which underlie the art o
radio telegraph communication. From ?
physical standpoint it seems quite clea
that whatever limitations are imposei
by nature on wireless telegraph opera
tions are imposed equally on wireles
telephone operations. There are als
many additional limitations which appl
to radio telephony with greater fore
than to radio telegraphy.
"On the other hand, there are certai
limitations, largely of the human chai
acter, which apply with greater fore
to radio telegraphy than to radio teh
phony. Principal among these is tr
necessity for specially trained operators ?
where radio telegraph operation is in- !
"While the idea of. radio telephony as
a means of communication is practically
as old as the art of radio communication,
it is only within the last few years that
any substantial progress has been made.
The early developments in radio com?
munication involved electrical systems
which were inherently unsatisfactory
for any kind of radio telephony and no
progress at all could be made until the
art had developed to such a point that
satisfactory continuous wave methods of
transmission were available. Following
this fundamental development, it was
further necessary to devise the mechan?
ism required at the transmitting sta?
tions to permit of voice control of the
energy transmitted through the ether in
the form of a continuous wave train and
the further mechanism required at the
receiving station to detect and repro?
duce as intelligible speech in an ordinary
telephone receiver the energy received
from the distant transmitting station.
"Since all radio systems for use over
any considerable distance involve an
amount of energy at- the transmitting
station many hundred or thousand times
greater than the energy normally em?
ployed in ordinary wire telephony and
since, on the other hand, the amount of
energy available at the receiving station
is but a small fraction of that required
for the proper operation of a telephone
receiver under conditions of commercial
operation, the problems up for solution
were extremely difficult, even after the
fundamental requirements were quite
"In the seven or eight years imme?
diately prior to 1914 numerous experi?
ments in radio telephony were made,
largely by American inventors and en?
gineers, and results of considerable
promise were obtained. None of these
experiments, which were principally con?
fined to relatively short distances, re?
sulted, however, in the production of a
commercial radio telephone system. In
1914 and 1915, following the work which
resulted in *the establishment of trans?
continental wire telephony between the
Atlantic and Pacific coasts, the engineers
of the Bell system produced the appa?
ratus which in the summer and fall of
1915, resulted in those demonstrations of
long distance radio telephony which were
given such prominence in the public press
at the time.
"As will be remembered, these demon?
strations, which were made with the co?
operation of the United States Navy, re?
sulted in the establishment of successful
radio telephone communication from the
navy towers at Arlington, Va., with the
naval stations at Panama, Mare Island;
in vSln Francisco Bay; San Diegc
and Honolulu, and in the early fall o?
1915, through the courtesy of the Frene?
government, to the military station ir
the Eiffel Tower at Paris. As a part
of these experiments, all of the mechan
ism and methods required to intercom
nect wire and wireless telephone links ir
a continuous communication train wen
worked out and demonstrated.
Thing to War
"Almost immediately following thes.
experiments the energies of the Bell sys
tern engineers, and particularly those of
the Western Electric Company, were
directed to the solution of radio tele?
phone problems of military importance.
These problems were initially those of
the navy, the officers of which early
appreciated the possibilities of this
new form of communication. At a later
date the problems of the army received
a large amount of attention. In partic?
ular, those problems which related to
radio telephone communication to, from
and between airplanes became matters
of the greatest moment.
'"Because of the knowledge of the
work previously done the chief signal
officer of the army early in 1917 as?
signed to the engineers of the Western
Electric Company the difficult problem
of developing radio telephone communi?
cation for airplanes and this work was
successfully completed before the end of
that year, with the result that large
quantities of commercial radio telephone
apparatus were constructed for both the
army and the navy.
"In order to have a proper basis for
deciding as to the probable future of
radio telephony, there are certain funda?
mental facts which should be clearly
"Principal among these are the physical
processes involved in it, the limitations
imposed by nature on all radio communi?
cation, the extent to which secrecy and
freedom from interference are essential
to commercial communication and the
extent to which the field of radio com?
munication must be reserved for those
classes of communication which in the
present state of the art can be conducted
in no other way or which must be re?
served for military purposes in connec?
tion with the national defence.
"All radio communication consists in
Rending out from the transmitting sta?
tion a large amount of energy in the
? form of electro-magnetic waves and re?
ceiving a very small amount* of this
energy on the wires of the receiving
station. That the amount of energy
available at the receiving station is but
a minute fraction of the energy which
starts from the transmitting station can
be appreciated when it is realized that
the electro-magnetic waves radiate from
the transmitting station in all directions
and that only that part of the initial
energy which can be picked up by the
wires of the receiving station is avail?
"The minuteness of this received en?
ergy renders all radio communication
vc% susceptible to interference from
natural electrical disturbances and from
other radio stations.
"In radio telephony the problem is
still further complicated by the/act thai
the continuous wave train which would
serve as the basis for a radio telegrapr
channel is required to perform the ad?
ditional burden of acting as the carriel
for the voice waves. Since all radie
communication employ:, the same commor
conductor and since freedom from inter?
ference between messages is dependent
solely upon the ability to use a different
range of frequencies for each mes
sage, this added condition greatlj
broadens the band of frequencies re
quired for a radio telephone message a:
distinguished from a radio telegrapl
message and very greatly limits the num
her of non-interfering conversation:
which can be sent or received from ?
The scientist so recently an army of
ficer stopped a moment. "Do you realiz
what that means?" he asked. "Wireles
offers no panacea for our telephon
troubles. Why, so limited is the numbe
of non-interfering radio telephone mes
sages possible from a given area in th
present state of the art that this alon
would render it impossible to handl
more than a very small fraction of th
normal telephone business of the City o
New York. Even employing the lates
I By Pearl Spaulding
TN AN unguarded moment a Phono
1 graph - Record Expert, who had
spent several years in catering to
the musical taste of record buyers,
once remarked that they were divided
into two distinct classes ? those who
liked "The Rosary" and those who did
| Later he became even more confiden
? tial in the classifying of various types of
| record enthusiasts and how to know them.
j One of the delicate requirements of the
I salesman himself, it seems, is to become
j so proficient in taking a mental meas?
ure of his customer that he can tell by
i such subtle means as the flicker of an
eyelash whether he is about to ask for
an operatic or a yodel selection.
Of course, there are those whose taste
in music cannot be gauged by their ap?
pearance or even by their professional
reputation. Such was the actual case of
a well known opera singer who had
never been known to purchase anything
but ragtime besides the records he had
Then there is the Record-Connois?
seur, whose knowledge of the catalogue
extends from cover to cover. In search
of the Perfect Record he insists upon
hearing a half dosen records (exactly
alike) of the selection he desires to
purchase, examining his final choice
with a painstaking eye that no lurking
defect may escape him. Of such a one
as this did an anxious wife write to the
1 proprietor of the record shop: "Please
I do not sell my husband any more records
i until he pays for what he has!"
The Weary Feminine Shopper is an?
other omnipresent type. Usually of port?
ly dimensions and laden down with
bundles, she v*ie*.vs the record booth as
a sanctuary of rest and, sir?king heavily
into the nearest easy chair, murmurs:
"Play?me?something?nice !" Doubt?
less Nevin had in mind a mental pict?
ure of her when he penned the immortal
line, "The hours I spent with thee, dear
The Record Expert sighed heavily in
retrospect. Then his face brightened.
"I omitted to say that occasionally there
is a heaven-sent purchaser who likes all
the records I select and who takes them
with her to Timbuctoo or some out
of the *way place where she can't send
them back to be exchanged!" 1
methods of multiplex wire transmission,
as is done in radio telephony, wouldn't
help in this.
"More important even than inter?
ference from other radio stations," Dr.
Jewett continued, "are the questions of
natural interference and non-secrecy.
Because of the fact that all radio com?
munication employs the same medium of
transmission it is, of necessity, essen?
tially non-secret, and any one possessed
of the requisite apparatus can easily re?
ceive the messages from any desired sta?
tion. This is particularly true of radio
telephony, where even that form of
secrecy made possible by the use of codes
is difficult to obtain. Further, the broad
band of frequencies required to cover the
speech range makes it easy to tune in
any station to receive.
"Then there is the matter of natural
disturbances," he said, "and without at?
tempting to judge of the value of the
recent static eliminators which have been
announced, it is sufficient to say that the
so-called static disturbances have thus
far proved the most serious bar to re?
liability in all radio communication and
that great difficulties must be overcome
under certain conditions if anything like
the continuous service called for in an
operating telephone plant is to be ob?
Dr. Frank B. Jewett
The man who knows wireless tele?
* "From a physical standpoint the state
of the radio telephone art since 1915
has been one in which it was possible
under certain conditions and at certain
times to telephone between two ordi?
nary telephone instruments located at
widely distant points on the earth's
surface and to do this either wholly
by radio or by a combination of any
number of wire and radio links. Prior
to the middle of 1917 this communica?
tion would have been limited to tele?
phone stations located either on land or
sea. Thanks to the developments of
airplane radio, however, it is now pos?
sible to include telephone stations lo?
cated above the earth's surface in the
general communication area. Yet it
has not been and is not now possible to
give a widely extended and reliable gen?
eral radio telephone service.
"As matters stand, what then is the
probable future of radio telephony and
to what extent, if at all, is it likely to
supersede wire telephony? That is what
the average man wants to know. He
gets his answer in this, that there are
certain classes of telephonic communi
I cation which can be accomplished at
present in no other way than by wire?
"These classes are between ships at
sea, between ships and the shore, from
: the earth to 'planes in the air and from
'plane to 'plane, and between points on
land which are separated by regions,
; whether water or land, across which it
, is impossible or impracticable to erect
? and maintain wire telephone lines. By
this I do not mean across the Atlantic
( or Pacific oceans. The moment an
effort was made to establish commer?
cial service between New York and
London, for instance, all the difficulties
to which I have referred would compli?
cate the situation.
"The initial cost of a station on Long
Island, for instance, and at some feasi?
ble point in England, would be less than
i that of laying the Atlantic cable, but
that of upkeep and operation would be
far greater; the wireless telephone could
. not be depended upon, as business men
must depend on their means of com
; munication, and it could not handle the
' volume of business which would be of
I fered or anything approaching it.
"No, what I mean by regions to which
? a wire circuit is impossible or impracti
; cable is illustrated by the Canadian
government's plan to provide telephone
communication with the Peace River
Valley by radio. A local wire line in
that isolated section can be built and
maintained to distribute the calls which
are sent over the intervening wastes by
"For* radio telephony, as, indeed, for
; all forms of radio communication outside
! the realm of war, there seems to be lit?
tle doubt that the developments of
the future will be in the direction of ap?
paratus and methods to extend and sup
1 plement existing wire service. There is
no present indication of any radio devel?
opments which will supplant or ever
curtail the use of wires for either tele?
phone or telegraph operation."
As he said this Dr. Jewett directed m5
attention out one of the great windows
: which give on the river and th<
, Jersey hills beyond. Out there in the air
? making their steady progress througl
their element up river, and looking lik<
: nothing so much as two huge wild ducks
! were a couple of seaplanes, flying boats
; possibly tuning up for the transatlanth
flight. The thought of actually talking
with those aviators from that room, a:
we could have done had their cominf
j been known long enough ahead to maki
I the arrangements, gave me somethinj
of the uneanny sensation that a long dis
tance telephone connection always does
"You ought to read what Mr. Craft
| has written about how the aircraft pro
duction boards and the joint army am
'. navy technical boards were introduce?
to radio telephonic communication witl
airplanes at Dayton," said Dr. Jewett, a
he got Mr. Crafts' article for me. It wa
worth reading. Here is part of it:
! Breaking Struggle
"It would take volumes to describe th
' innumerable experiments and heart
| breaking failures before the first res
I successes," says the engineer. "Atlengt
i a head set inside an aviator's helme
I was designed, which would exclude th
\ noise of the airplane's engine and o
j rushing air. A brilliant line of exper:
mentation, largely at the hands of J. I
! Minton, resulted as well in a transmitte
I or microphone, which possessed the re*
! markable quality of being insensitive to
engine and wind noises, and at the same
time very responsive to the tone's of the
: voice. Then three ?solid months of the .
hardest kind of work was necessary to
iron out all the kinks and get the thing
in shape, so that it might be considered
a practicable device for the everyday
use of other than experts.
"Finally in October, 1917, we reached
the point where we thought it was time
to spring it on the A. E. F. and accord?
ingly Colonel Culver was sent abroad
with several trunkloads of the appara?
tus to show our people overseas that we
! had not been asleep on the job and had
1 a new tool for their use. In early
? December the next historical event took
place. To those of us who were mixed
! up in this little affair those were three
; days which we wdll never forget. Colonel
Carty and Colonel Jewett were in the
1 party, which was made up of admirals,
gener?is, foreign representatives and ex?
perts galore, all willing to be shown hut
"It must be remembered that the idea
had not yet been told to any but the
wild enthusiasts who had been living
1 with the job for the last six months.
Pilots are, to say the least, fussy abont
what is loaded into the 'planes they are
to fly, to say nothing of the trailing wires
which serve as antenna. Designers and
constructors hold much the same view,
so it took a lot of manoeuvring and dip
| lomatic jockeying to get our stuff aboard
j and into the air. Finally, just about
i dark on the evening before the fatal
; day we did get one machine into the
\ air and found that the apparatus worked.
"The plan was to have two "planes
| in the air at once and for the official
1 party to listen in at a ground station
; located on the top of a hill near the field.
: That night we all congregated in one
of the rooms of the hotel, worked out
our scenario and held a rehearsaL 1
must confess that I didn't sleep very well
that night. Next day we were out at the
| field bright and early, fussing around
| trying to keep busy until it was time
j for the big show. Upon arrival of th?
exalted ones we showed them the appa
ratus in the 'planes and explained wha
it was expected to do.
"They went up to our little station ?nr
the hill, where we had rigged up a loud
| speaking receiver connected to the wire
! less apparatus so that all could hea
! without the use of lead sets. The 'plane
? left the ground and after what seeme.
an interminable length of time we go
? the first sounds in the receiver which in
j dicated that they were ready to perform
The spectators were only mildly inter
ested and some seemed a bit bored.
\ From the Air
"Suddenly out of the horn of the loud
I speaker came the words, 'Hello, groun
: station. This is 'Plane No. 1 speakinj
! Do you get me all right?" The bore
expression immediately faded and Ie>o_<
of amazement came over all their face;
"Soon we got the same signal fro.
No. 2 and the show was on. Unde
command from the ground the 'plan?
were manoeuvred all over that part <
, the country. They were sent on scou
' ing expeditions and reported what the
saw as they travelled through the ai
i Continuous conversation was carried o
even when the 'planes were out of sigh
and finally upon command they came fl;
j ing back out of space and landed <
"From that moment the radio tel
? phone was sold."
- ? .?-?~~--?*". .<?bsbf;.sb^?-^
TALKING ACROSS SPACE TO A FLIER
The Wireless telephone plant used by ground officers during the late days of the war