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Wireless Iconograph: 1912

Wireless Iconograph: 1912

Turin, Italy, circa 1912. "Bernocchi (left) and wireless iconograph." The inventor Francesco de Bernocchi and his fax-like device, which by means of "Hertzian waves" was said to facilitate the "exact wireless transmission of messages, sketches, autographs, shorthand and other signs, with a secrecy hitherto unattained." Bain News Service glass negative. View full size.


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Engine Dynamometer

That's an engine dynamometer. The 2-cylinder engine on the left is driving a generator. The system can add generator resistance to hold back the engine. In other words, the generator is a "brake" used to hold the engine at specific rotational speeds (revolutions per minute--RPM) and torque readings are taken at each speed. The data are plotted to construct curves. Horsepower is calculated from the torque data. Result is therefore called brake horsepower, or BHP.

I'd need a bigger computer armoire

Fascinating to know such a thing even existed then. When I worked in newspaper in the Jurassic Period, we had a scanner that occupied a two-story space about 50 feet by 125 feet. It was used primarily for optical character recognition of writers' copy. You had to type your news stories on special red and white forms. No errors allowed as there was no software in existence to edit what went in.

I'm a goood tpyits butit droev me nust.

Covered in Popular Mechanics

Found this in the Google archives.

That generator

may be an alternator. Alternators wre used early in the radio art to transmit modes that needed "continuous wave" radio frequency carriers, as opposed to the "damped wave" signal produced by spark transmitters.

An electric motor turned the alternator and the RPM determined the frequency. The speed of the motor was therefore tightly regulated.

Alternators had much cleaner output than spark transmitters and could produce tremendous power.

At the key!

Bernocchi at his operating position

Other features-

I'll bet it could make a good chocolate milkshake too!

I think you got the names wrong

Which one's Rube and which one's Goldberg?

Where's the Rest?

OK now...we see the power plant and what looks to be a generator and a switchboard, but where's the "Iconograph"? Maybe the device on the left side of the engine?

Doesn't even look close to a wireless getup.

I see a two-cylinder engine hooked up to some sort of generator or motor, plus a lot of tubes and hoses, but no drum on which to put the imagery.

I wonder why nothing came of this

He got a write up in The New York Times on this, but I don't find too much else.

My, we've come a long way

Imagine how big your desk would have to be to hold THAT fax machine!

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