Marconigrams Are On The Way

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 24, 1903

Marconigrams Are On The Way

Some of the Things Which May be Expected When the Atmosphere of Fort Dodge is Full of Wireless Messages.

They’ll be tappin’ on the window pane,
They’ll bump against the door.
They’ll slide right down the chimney,
An’ spatter on the floor.
An’ what are simple folks to think?
An’ sure what will they say,
When they find that wireless messages
Come to Fort Dodge today.

Why, a feller can’t go down the street
To get a drink of beer,
When here there’ll come a pesky th ing
A’ buzzin’ in his ear.
An’ he’ll want to swear a little bit,
But he won’t know what to say,
For it’s one of them wireless messages
That come to Fort Dodge today.

An’ when you’re sittin’ safe at home,
An’ it’s cold and dark and night,
An’ you hear a kind of whisperin’ sound,
And jump to douse the light.
Why then you stop and think a bit,
An’ then you laugh and say,
It’s one of them wireless messages
That come to Fort Dodge today.

Fort Dodge may be the center of large flocks of wireless messages in the near future, if the plans which have been made by Chicago parties are carried out. It is expected that the air will soon be full of these little messengers, carrying news back and forth between Chicago, Sioux City, Omaha and other large packing centers. Tests were made for the first time in Chicago Monday by the De Forest Wireless Telegraph company, which proposes to put in the system. Fort Dodge will be in the direct line of communication and soon the air waves may be fraught with momentous tidings.

A Chicago special gives the following regarding the plans of the De Forest company:

“Wireless telegraph messages between Chicago and Omaha and other packing centers, as well as communication between the offices and shops of Chicago firms, are promised by Lee De Forest of the De Forest Wireless Telegraph company.

Mr. De Forest is now at the Auditorium hotel. He is in Chicago to select a site for the lake station and to put the temporary system in operation between the offices of Armour & Co. in the Home Insurance building and the stock yards.

Wires were placed on the flag staff of the Home Insurance building yesterday. The work of erecting a mast at the stock yards will be begun at once and by Monday it is expected that the first orders of Armour & Co. will be passing by the wireless system.

Plans have been prepared for the establishment of the lake station, and Mr. De Forest said that this station was assured, whatever result might attend the experiments for Armour & Co. The Chicago station will be on the north shore, near Evanston. Three other lake stations are in process of construction, but the Chicago station will be the largest. Three masts have been erected at Buffalo, and he says the work is being pushed at Detroit and Cleveland. Communication between Buffalo and Cleveland will be established by May, according to the statements of Mr. De Forest. Towers will be built at the Chicago station, and it will have twenty or thirty horse power, double or triple that of the other lake stations.

Contracts already have been made with lake steamship companies in Cleveland and Buffalo and with newspapers for marine service. The steamship lines in Lake Michigan are regarded as probable subscribers for the service here in Chicago.

A feature of wireless telegraphy which will soon be introduced, according to Mr. De Forest, will be the “automobile station.” A machine is equipped with a pole and sending aparatus (sic), and thus fitted, operates in the streets, sending quotations into several brokers offices. “Such an automobile will be in the streets within a month,” said Mr. De Forest.

The first test will be made Monday. Wires will be strung on the flagstaff of the Home Insurance company building, the down town headquarters of the packing company, and a mast will be erected at the stock yards.

Mr. De Forest says he will demonstrate the practicality of his wireless system. “There is much at stake,” he said last night. “We can save them money. They now pay $100,000 a  year telegraph toil. The wireless system means less than half. It is something to be taken into consideration.”

But the Armour tests are among the smallest of Mr. De Forest’s undertakings. He wants to place Chicago in communication with all the cities of the lake region.

“We want to make Chicago the center of our western business,” he said. “The first test will be made between Chicago and Milwaukee. Then will come Mackinac, Sioux City, St. Joseph, Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo. I expect to purchase a site for a station before the end of the week. It will be on the lake front, of course, and somewhere between Chicago and Evanston. We always attempt to get away from the city. That insures a better and more satisfactory service.”

(Editor’s note: The article is accompanied by a three-panel cartoon with scenes imagined from the poem. Lee De Forest was a dreamer and enthusiastic businessman, but perhaps less practical than he should have been. The De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company he founded in 1902 failed, as did many of his business enterprises.)

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