Edison: His Life and Inventions - Vol. 2

By Frank Lewis Dyer; Thomas Commerford Martin | Go to book overview

IV
WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY

ALTHOUGH Mr. Edison has taken no active part in the development of the more modern wireless telegraphy, and his name has not occurred in connection therewith, the underlying phenomena had been noted by him many years in advance of the art, as will presently be explained. The authors believe that this explanation will reveal a status of Edison in relation to the subject that has thus far been unknown to the public.

While the term "wireless telegraphy," as now applied to the modern method of electrical communication between distant points without intervening conductors, is self-explanatory, it was also applicable, strictly speaking, to the previous art of telegraphing to and from moving trains, and between points not greatly remote from each other, and not connected together with wires.

The latter system (described in Chapter XXIII and in a succeeding article of this Appendix) was based upon the phenomena of electromagnetic or electrostatic induction between conductors separated by more or less space, whereby electric impulses of relatively low potential and low frequency set up in one conductor were transmitted inductively across the air to another conductor, and there received through the medium of appropriate instruments connected therewith.

As distinguished from this system, however, modern wireless telegraphy--so called--has its basis in the utilization of electric or ether waves in free space, such waves being set up by electric oscillations, or surgings, of comparatively high potential and high frequency, produced by the operation of suitable electrical apparatus. Broadly speaking, these oscillations arise from disruptive discharges of an induction

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