How We Went From Tapping Code to Radio Shows

Karl W4KRL W4KRL at
Tue Jan 29 14:30:05 CST 2008


Famous Engineers > How We Went From Tapping Code to Radio Shows


It’s Christmas Eve, 1906. A Morse code operator on a United Fruit ship in
the Atlantic Ocean moves closer to his receiver. Instead of the usual,
primitive taps of Morse code, he hears a man speaking over the receiver,
followed by music. And so began the world’s first long distance radio


The man’s voice heard up and down the Eastern seaboard that night was
Professor Reginald Fessenden. But, that historic night was made possible by
an alternator developed by a young engineer who had recently emigrated to
the U.S. from Sweden.


Born in Upsala, Sweden in 1878, and graduated as an electrical engineer from
Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology, this engineer’s career was shaped
by the reading of one book that made a lasting impression.


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