WHILE the one-time art of telegraphing to and from moving trains was essentially a wireless system, and allied in some of its principles to the art of modern wireless telegraphy through space, the two systems cannot, strictly speaking, be regarded as identical, as the practice of the former was based entirely on the phenomenon of induction.
Briefly described in outline, the train telegraph system consisted of an induction circuit obtained by laying strips of metal along the top or roof of a railway-car, and the installation of a special telegraph line running parallel with the track and strung on poles of only medium height. The train, and also each signalling station, was equipped with regulation telegraph apparatus, such as battery, key, relay, and sounder, together with induction-coil and condenser. In addition, there was a special transmitting device in the shape of a musical reed, or "buzzer." In practice, this buzzer was continuously operated at a speed of about five hundred vibrations per second by an auxiliary battery. Its vibrations were broken by means of a telegraph key into long and short periods, representing Morse characters, which were transmitted inductively from the train circuit to the pole line, or vice versa, and received by the operator at the other end through a high-resistance telephone receiver inserted in the secondary circuit of the induction-coil.
The accompanying diagrammatic sketch of a simple form of the system, as installed on a car, will probably serve to make this more clear.
An insulated wire runs from the metallic layers on the roof of the car to switch S, which is shown open in the sketch. When a message is to be received on the car from a station more or less remote, the switch is thrown to the left to con-