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Wireless Dude: 1910

Wireless Dude: 1910

October 1910. "Wireless operator Ginsburg of Trent." Radioman Ginsburg aboard the steamship Trent, which, after being alerted by "Morse lamp," took on passengers from Walter Wellman's hydrogen dirigible America near Bermuda in an exciting air-to-sea rescue that saved all those aboard the foundering airship, including a tabby cat. 5x7 glass negative, G.G. Bain Collection. View full size.


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Signal Lamps

using Morse code are simply lamps or spotlights that can be keyed or shuttered to flash the lamp in dots and dashes. Typical top speed would be 10 or 15 words per minute depending on conditions. The nice thing is that it maintains radio silence, if that's important to you, and another thing is that it's very easy to get a good message over a long distance with minimal equipment, like a flashlight.

All Ears.

Radioman Ginsburg has that thousand-yard stare of a good Morse operator. All of his other four senses switched off, and all ears. Picking the dots and dashes out of the static. Bet that cigarette burns his fingers before his next drag.

Even in WWII ninety percent of our naval communication was done the same way.

[Newspaper articles about the rescue mention the radio operators using the "Morse lamp" technique. Who can tell us about that. - Dave]

The coil

The large coil is either the transmitter's "tank" coil or a loading coil for the antenna. It's impossible to say which from what can be seen in the photo.

Re. Tesla coils

May be there is a dissected frog somewhere to go with the Leyden jars.

Big Coils

Big coils equate to long wavelengths. The "jars" are probably condensers that act with thecoils to tune the aerial. These transmitters used rotary spark gaps and the antenna was a big frequency-determining part of the system. Typical wavelength was 600 meters or more. There wasn't enough room on the ship for even a half-wavelength antenna, so there are the coils to help tune it. Ah, the romance of Morse!


CQ CQ CQ Contest, CQ Contest. ... (mumble mumble) ... QSL (mumble mumble) ... Say again say again (mumble mumble) FB 59 Ohio, 59 Ohio ... CQ Contest..

Cigarette break

Nothing can be allowed to get in the way of a good smoke.

Tesla coils

That looks like the bottom of a Tesla coil above a bank of Leyden jars above Ginsburg's shoulder. Could that be right?

What did he think would happen?

Taking a cat on a dirigible? Really, Walter Wellman? Really?

Love a Man in Uniform

Handsome fellow. Nice face.

Fashion Plate

Look -- it's another breast pocket on the bias!

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