In October, 2016 150 years since the first wireless communications via radio is marked. So, in 1866 the American dentist Malone Loomis said that he had opened the way of wireless communications. Loomis did it using two electric wires, rosen in the air with the help of two balloons. These balloons played the role of transmitting and receiving antenna. Opening by Malone Loomis the process of signal transmission through the air (in other words, the opening of radio) was more than twenty years before the experiments of Heinrich Hertz (1888, transmission distance was 20 centimeters) and about thirty years before demonstrated inventions of Nikola Tesla (in 1893 he patented transmitter, in 1895 he patented receiver), Popov (1895, transmission distance was 64 meters) and Marconi (1896, transmission distance was about 9 miles (14 kilometers).
††††Mahlon Loomis was born on July 21, 1826 in Oppenheim, New York. He was the 4th child in a family of 9 children. His father Nathan Loomis was a professor and a founder of the American national anthologies. In 1848, he studied dentistry in Cleveland. In 1849 Malone practiced dentistry in Washington, and worked as a dentist- traveler. In 1856 after marriage, he established his own practice in Washington, DC. Later he moved to the city of Terra Alta, inheriting the property of his brother George, who's been there.
††††Around 1860 Mahlon Loomis became interested in experiments with electricity, and its first result was achieved in a forced acceleration of plant growing in special structures. This was achieved using metal plates connected to the electrical flow that supplied batteries.
††††In the same period Mahlon was interested in using electrical charges that got the upper atmosphere by using "balloons" that bare metal wires. These electrical charges were used as replacement batteries to the wire circuits. At first he planned to use a natural source of electricity for replacement batteries in telegraph lines. As noted in many references, it was almost achieved in the telegraph line, which was 400 miles in length.
††††Later, based on experiments in this area, Mahlon found out that the "balloon" sent up on a metal wire was affected by the change in the flow of metal wire of another "balloon", which is located at some distance from the first one. It directed him to further improving and development of wireless telegraphy for practical use at a considerable distance.
††††The Library of Congress has the magazine of Loomis dated February 20, 1864. It says: "I have been moving for years to study the processes of communications that can be carried across the ocean without any wires and from point to point on Earth, also wireless."
††††Some historical sources indicate that the first communication via broadcasting was held by Loomis in October, 1866. Other sources mention 1868, when in the presence of witnesses "Balloons" were launched from two tops of Blue Ridge Mountains in the county of Loudon, VA.
††††Copper wire was used to hold "balloons". The distance between the peaks was 14 miles. This was evidenced by Senator Pomeroy and Rep Bingham. There is some difference regarding the distance between mountains, but in the picture drawn by Mahlon Loomis 14 miles are mentioned. This and other pictures and records are in a file in the Library of Congress.
††††From the top of the mountain Malone sent up a "balloon" the bottom of which was covered with a thin copper gauze, that was attached to the piece of copper wire. He had linked that equipment to the galvanometer, which was joined by the other end of the scheme with the earth. Immediately the galvanometer showed a current flow! Then he set an identical equipment on a mountain top at a distance of 14 miles for the transfer. When Malone touched the ground with the wire of the "balloon" for a few seconds that action reduced voltage charge in stratosphere and reduced the level of deflection of the galvanometer connected to the other "kite" in the first place. Sometimes there were problems with the communication system. When one of the "balloons" was at the wrong altitude, the system could not work. That made Loomis think that there were different areas in the atmosphere, and depending in which area you were, the connection would work or not.
††††In 1869 Senator Charles Sumner represented the "Bill of aerial telegraphy" in the Senate. He asked for 50 thousand dollars for the introduction of "Companies aerial telegraphy of Loomis." The bill was modified and passed examination again in 1873. The final version established the company, but did not give any money.
††††In 1870, the connection was made between two boats in the bay Chesapeake, at a distance of two miles. Later in 1870 Loomis provided reliable communication at a distance of over 20 miles. In 1880 there was a working connection between Terra Alta traveler station and pharmacy.
†††††Loomis wrote about his invention:
"I know I am considered an eccentric, perhaps a complete fool, and maybe I am so because I could not reject this thing completely and didn`t turn attention to making money. I just discovered a new world and also the means to invade it. My compensation is poverty, contempt, neglect, forgetfulness. In the distant future, when the possibility of this discovery will be more fully developed, the public attention will focus at its author, and congressional records will supply undeniable evidence that the honor of opening belongs to me. "
††††Loomis` contribution to world science:
1. World's first using of antenna together with the system of grounding.
2. World's first telegraph transmission experiment undertaken by broadcast signals without wires.
3. For the first time he used "balloons" to pick up the antenna.
4. World's first proposed vertical antenna (steel stick that was mounted on the top of a wooden tower).
5. Formulated the idea of waves spreading in different directions from the antenna.
6. Received the world's first patent for the implementation of wireless (terrestrial) telegraphy.
††††Loomis died on October 13, 1886 in Terra Alta, where he is buried near the West Virginia highway. At the cemetery in Terra Alta there is a grave stone with the inscription: "Here was buried Dr. Mahlon Loomis, the sender of the first air signals in 1866-73, the pioneer of wireless telegraphy. Signals were sent at 14 miles using "kites" connected with the copper wire. Patented in 1872. The company is registered by Congress in 1873 ".
1.American Treasures of the Library of Congress
2. http://www.smecc.org/mhlon_loomis.htm Mahlon Loomis - First Wireless Telegrapher
3. Appleby, Thomas 1967. Mahlon Loomis Inventor of Radio. Thomas Appleby 145 pages. ASIN: B0006BQ1TC
4. Anton A. Huurdeman (2003). The Worldwide History of Telecommunications. John Wiley & Sons. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-471-20505-0.
5. Shaw, E. C. (1979). DX-ing according to NASWA. Liberty, Ind: North American Short Wave Association.
6. Patent # 129,971 dated July 30, 1872 issued to Mahlon Loomis
7. "How Radio Grew up" by Robert H. Marriot Radio broadcast Dec. 1925
8. Radio Theory and Operating by Mary Texanna Loomis (1925)
9. "Wireless Pioneer in Virginia" by Theodore M Hannah Virginia
10. Cavalcade volume 12, # 3 winter 1962-63
11. "Inventor of Wireless Telegraphy" New England Magazine by G. Loomis Volume 24, 1901, page 145+
12. "Loomis Bills" from Association of Lynchburg General electric Engineers COMMUNICATOR December 1965
13. "Man Before Marconi" QST, by J.B. Lebo QST Aug 1948 pages 42-44
14. Dictionary of American Biography Page 399-400
15. "Sparks Journal" Vol. 2, No. 1 - 1978. Published by The Society of Wireless Pioneers.
The inventor of radio - 190 years
The portrait of Mahlon Loomis was made approximately in 1865