Archive for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

100 years ago: Lawrence teen builds wireless set, catches message ‘flashing through the air’

March 5, 2014


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for March 5, 1914:

  • "'Topeka High School, Topeka, Kansas, March 4, 1914. Supt F. P. Smith, Lawrence, Kansas: With increased education energy obeys man's dictation and both time and space are annihilated. Congratulations that you selected the twentieth century in which to live and do your work. Yours, SUPT. H. B. WILSON, Topeka, Kansas.' ... Flashing through the air came the above message from Topeka yesterday afternoon. Harry Zeisenis of Lawrence caught the flashes, understood their meaning and transmitted the message to Professor Smith.... Harry Zeisenis was at work in his wireless station at his home, 700n Mississippi street, when the meaning flickering and sputtering of his receiving instrument told him that someone wished to communicate with him. The message was from Topeka, from the High school station in that city. Gradually letter by letter grew the words and then the sentences and the complete message, a message of greeting from the Superintendent of the city schools of Topeka. With his pencil Harry copied the words as they came waving through the air and with the message completed carried it to the office of Superintendent Smith. Then Professor Smith made reply.... The message was transmitted last night and caught by the station at the Topeka High school. It may be said to mark the beginning of wireless instruction in the High schools of the state. Soon there will be a station erected here at the High school building and communication will be carried on through the air with various High schools that are contemplating wireless courses.... The station which was used in the exchange of greetings yesterday is located at Zeisenis' home, 700 Mississippi street. The youthful operator has been experimenting with his station for the past four years and now has one that is of practical service. He catches messages from great distances and himself can send out calls as far as seventy-five miles. The machine is of one-half kilowatt power. The instrument is located in the boy's room and it is here that Harry is spending most of his idle time these days.... When the High school station is completed more boys will get into the work and soon Lawrence High school will be graduating expert wireless operators."
  • "A second daughter of the family of E. E. Adams, 1222 Connecticut street, died yesterday evening. Louise Iva, aged 10 years was the second child of the family called within a week. Death was caused by stomach trouble. The little girl was operated upon at the Social Service hospital early this week but her condition grew steadily worse. Last week an older sister, Genevieve Adams, died suddenly in her bed of heart failure. She was found unconscious in the morning and died shortly afterward."
  • "The opening of the new Student Union was a peaceful and quiet affair. During the evening more than 500 men visited the quarters. Various forms of entertainment were indulged in. Some went upstairs to the card rooms and engaged in a friendly game of pitch or game of checkers. Some sat in the parlors and smoked, some sang and others gossiped. The evening was an auspicious one in every detail.... A general feeling of good fellowship pervaded the entire home. Men shook hands and introduced themselves to other students and more acquaintances were made last night than at any time in the history of Kansas University."
  • "The first offender to feel the anti-tobacco ordinance passed at the session of the city council last Monday night appeared in probate court today. The offender was a youth of 16 years who was found smoking cigarettes last night. The boy was first taken to the city police station but when it was learned that he was but sixteen years ago he was turned over to the juvenile court. Judge Lindley of this court issued a parole to the youth."
  • "Sheriff W. J. Cummings went to Kansas City this morning to see if he could recover the clothes stolen from the Y. M. C. A. on January 20th, said to have been left there by Stephen Richardson."


Tod Sutton 4 years, 2 months ago

"'Topeka High School, Topeka, Kansas, March 4, 1914. Supt F. P. Smith, Lawrence, Kansas: ..."

So began text messaging in KS high schools. Oh, what have we wrought!

A quick search revealed Harry went on the KU Engineering School and the US Army Signal Corps.

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