The Wireless Telephone of the Fleet

From the innovations on previous designs, Dr. Lee De Forest invented the first wireless telephone that was tested on the Connecticut and Virginia during maneuvering and gun practice in Provincetown, Massachusetts during 1907.  The system proved itself successfully and Admiral Evans and 28 units installed on the units of the Great White fleet before department from Hampton Roads.


Operating the wireless telephone

"While steaming miles apart, all the way from four to ten, the squadron will be like a gigantic chain, each link entirely separate from its fellows, and strung together y invisible bonds.  By means of this device Admiral Evans will be enabled from his emergency cabin camp  on board the Connecticut to direct the movements of the whole fleet with almost as much ease as he can give orders to the engineer of his own ship by means of the speaking tube.  Thus tail end of the last ship maneuvering can be understand perfectly what to do and obey instantly the orders, through five or six  more miles in the rear of his flagship." Washington Time Magazine Dec. 29, 1907 

Operators' Wireless Telegraph & Telephone Hand-Book, by Victor Laughter was published in 1909 detailing the history and operation of these sets.  With many diagrams and photographs, it includes this picture of a lieutenant operating the Forest wireless from the emergency cabin on the USS Connecticut.  This system proved itself very useful in maneuvering the fleet through the Strait of Magellan, over 300 miles long, where navigation is critical.  These units were installed on 28 ships including the six torpedo destroyers at a cost of $1,500.00 each.



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