Sunday, March 11, 1906: Minneapolis goes wireless

Posted on March 12th, 2006 – 6:56 PM
By Ben Welter

Wireless is nothing new for Minneapolis. A hundred years ago, the city was poised to join a wireless network connecting the Twin Cities with Duluth, Fort William and Winnipeg to communicate with ships on the St. Lawrence and Mississippi rivers by Morse code. A story in the Minneapolis Tribune explained:

Wireless Telegraphy Is
Coming to Minneapolis

George W. Fishback, Managing Director of the Company,
Has Established Thirteen Stations During Past
Year – Is Now in the City, Looking Over
the Conditions.

ENTERPRISE IS HIGHLY IMPORTANT
TO INTERESTS OF THE NORTHWEST

HIGH POWER TRANS-ATLANTIC MARCONI WIRELESS STATION TO BE OPENED IN MAY.

The determination of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph company to establish a transcontinental wireless station in Minneapolis to operate in connection with similar stations at Duluth, Winnipeg and Fort William immediately, will unquestionably be followed by other extensions westward on a colossal scale.

George W. Fishback, managing director of the company, who is already on the ground, points to the great work accomplished by the Marconi people in Canada where the Canadian Marconi company has established 13 stations during the past two years as an earnest of what will shortly be accomplished in Northwestern territory. The Canadian stations mentioned are now in active operation on the St. Lawrence river, and are admirably serving the Canadian public.

Used by Vessels.

It was upon the recommendation of the Shipping Federation of Canada that the Dominion government contracted for the erection of these stations and located them at such points in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in the river as best subserves the purposes of navigation.

During summer months vessels from Europe take the northerly course through the Strait of Belle Isle and from the time that they approach the strait until they dock in Montreal they are in constant communication by means of the Marconi system.

Commercial messages are transmitted from either Montreal or Quebec to a Marconi station at Fame Point on the Gaspa coast, and from there are sent by wireless through the chain of stations and are delivered on board wherever the vessel may be throughout the thousand miles from Montreal to the ocean.

During the spring and autumn months, these vessels go to the south or New Foundland and up through Cabot Strait and then up the St. Lawrence. On this route, they are in communication with the Marconi stations at Cape Race, Cape Ray, Health Point on the Island of Anticosti and Fame Point, and then up the river with the stations at Grosso Isle and Quebec.

Beneficial to St. Lawrence.

The Marconi system has changed the character of navigation in the St. Lawrence route and has eliminated the dangers which hitherto existed to such prejudicial extent as a result of fogs and floating ice. Under present conditions, ships are only slightly delaed as a result of foggy weather and are able at all times while in the St. Lawrence to communicate with the Marconi land stations and are never without a knowledge of their exact location.

Success of this kind in respect of service between land stations and vessels warrants the conviction that a similar utility can be attained by a chain of land stations in districts of the United States, where quick service between important points is desired.

It is in this connection that Mr. Fishback has visited Minneapolis for the purpose of erecting a station that will be put into active communication with similar ones in Winnipeg, Fort William, Duluth and other important business centers.

Wellfleet, Mass.
Four towers anchored the Marconi wireless relay station at South Wellfleet, Mass., in 1903.

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