The early history of the Wireless Club received a great deal of coverage in The Daily Pennsylvanian (formerly The Pennsylvanian). The following articles from the 1909 – 1910 academic year describe the Club’s first steps:
The Pennsylvanian, October 5, 1909
WIRELESS WAVES COMING
Hail to Ether Vibrations and Talk to Princetonians.
Wireless messages will be the next addition to the news sources of the Pennsylvanian, the student daily of the University of Pennsylvania, if the club which was organized yesterday, with J. S. Simsohn, president, carries out its ambitious desires.
University students who are interested in wireless telegraphy have long hoped for a permanent association with a wireless station at the University. Last year an attempt was made to start a club, but no one was willing to finance the project.
At a meeting yesterday in Houston Hall the ideas were outlined by Simsohn and officers elected. B. P. Sibole; vice-president, C. W. Benjamin, secretary. These officers will hold their positions until permanent selections are made.
Simsohn has made a thorough investigation of the conditions and possibilities for a wireless equipment at Pennsylvania. His idea is to use the two turrets of College Hall by building upon them five-foot poles. The apparatus will then be of the required height to receive word currents. The registering instruments are to be placed in Houston Hall.
After the apparatus is in working order, attempts will be made to establish communication with the wireless stations at Cornell, Columbia and Princeton Universities. All items of interest to college men will be exchanged, and the students at Pennsylvania will have the novelty of reading “news by wireless” in the columns of the Pennsylvanian. Princeton has already expressed a desire to talk through the air to Pennsylvania, and the new members of the club are sure that Cornell and Columbia will be glad to join in the enterprise.
Dr. Goodspeed, of the Physics Department, has interested himself in the venture, and will open the laboratories of the Physics School to all men who are willing to make instruments for the use of the Wireless Club.
The three officers will interview Provost Charles C. Harrison and Vice-Provost Edgar Smith at an early date, and ask permission for use of the turrets on College Hall. The following men are the main enthusiasts in the movement: A. H. Gallaher, E. C. Goebert, G. R. Eliwell, H. L. Treas, C. W. Benjamin, H. Shapuce, C. J. Devlin, A. P. Gest, Jr., B. P. Sibole, H. C. Cowles, J. P. Boyd, L. G. Besehoff, R. Hassnck and G. W. N. Phillips.
The Pennsylvanian, October 16, 1909
WIRELESS CLUB WILL WAIT
Until an experienced electrican arrives there will be no further progress with the Wireless Club. Vice-Provost E. F. Smith has written to Dr. Temple, the Boston authority and inventor of wireless mechanism, asking him to address the club as soon as possible. It is expected that messages will be sent from the University to Princeton and all stations in the Western Hemisphere.
The Pennsylvanian, October 22, 1909
WIRELESS CLUB MEETING
Plans are discussed to run a system from the Houston Club to Logan Hall. A meeting of the Wireless Club was held yesterday afternoon in the Randall Morgan Laboratory of Physics. D. H. Kabaltjian, who is pursuing a postgraduate course in the Physics Department, and has made wireless telegraphy the object of special research, addressed the members of the club and went into a detailed discussion of the science. The club now has an enrollment of fifty. Plans are on foot to erect posts on Logan and Houston Hall and operate a system between the two points.
The Pennsylvanian, October 30, 1909
WIRELESS CLUB MEETING
About thirty-five members were present at the meeting of the Wireless Club, at Houston Hall, yesterday afternoon. Although action on the adopting of the constitution had to be deferred owning to the non-arrival of Mr. Koschuitz many matters of importance were acted upon. A letter was read from the Princeton Wireless Club, in which they welcomed the Pennsylvania organization and offered valuable advice on the choosing of instruments, etc.
The club has received the sanction of Dr. Goodspeed and Vice-Provost Smith in regard to their plans, and the sanction of Provost Harrison is confidently expected.
Secretary Clime, of the Houston Club, has offered the club use of part of the billiard room on the first floor for their receiving station. It is the intention of the club to board off this portion of the room for their exclusive use.
The following committees were appointed:
Committee to Look Up Instruments – Kerr, Bamford, Tafel. Committee on Construction – Doolittle, Phillips, Cowles and Uyeda. Roster Committee – Doyle, Loeb and Burkette.
The next meeting of the club will be held two weeks from last night, at 7:15, in room 2, Houston Club. At this meeting the constitution will be adopted and permanent officers will be elected.
The Pennsylvanian, November 6, 1909
WIRELESS CLUB ACTIVE
The Wireless Club expects to install a two-kilowatt station in Houston Hall, which will be capable of receiving any messages sent within a radius of a thousand miles. Already $110 has been subscribed, and after the station is in operation it is hoped that several local business men will help support the project. At the meeting of the club to be held November 11, in Room 2, Houston Hall, at 7.15 P. M., reports from the Committees on Instruments, Roster and Construction will be read, permanent officers elected and a constitution adopted.
The Pennsylvanian, November 11, 1909
WIRELESS CLUB TO MEET
Future scientists, at present members of the Wireless Club, will hold an important meeting in Room 2, of Houston Club, this evening. A constitution will be adopted and officers will be elected. Committees on instruments and construction will report their progress in regard to putting up the poles on Houston Club and Logan Hall. Plenty of money has been subscribed for the erection of these poles, as besides the subscriptions of the members, a number of prominent citizens of Philadelphia have lent their assitance.
The Pennsylvanian, November 19, 1909
WIRELESS ENTHUSIASTS ACTIVE
Provost Harrison to Grant Permission for Erection of Apparatus. Officers elected.
Whether or not there will be two wireless outfits actively engaged in hurling messages through the University air within the next two weeks, lies entirely in the hands of the fire underwriters, who are examining the buildings upon which the wireless enthusiasts desire to erect poles. In case the underwriters report favorably, Provost Harrison will grant permission to the Physical Department for the erection of apparatus on the roof of Randall Morgan Laboratory and annex and to the Wireless Club for the erection of their poles on Logan Hall and Houston Club.
The Wireless Club met yesterday afternoon in Houston Hall and elected the following officers: President, Simsohn, ’11; Vice-President, Uyeda, ’10; Treasurer, Gallaher, ’11; and Secretary, Bamford, ’10. An Executive Committee, composed of Tafel, ’11, Stern, ’13, and Munroe, ’10, was also elected. Tafel, Bamford, Kerr and Munroe were appointed members of a committee on instruments, the purchase of which will amount to over $100. This has already been subscribed by students. The next meeting of the club will be in Houston Hall, on December 2.
The Pennsylvanian, December 3, 1909
WIRELESS TREASURY FILLED
Finances Permit Construction of Apparatus – Honorary Members Elected.
When Vice-President Uyeda, E.E. ’10, volunteered to loan the Pennsylvania Wireless Club the sum of fifty dollars, all doubt as to their ability to proceed at once with the construction of their apparatus vanished. Having the desired permission to erect two fifty-foot poles on Houston and Logan Halls and $100 in their treasury, the club entered into their meeting yesterday with light hearts.
Dr. Hough estimated that the cost of erecting would reach $150 and by the loan of Mr. Uyeda this amount was put at the disposal of the club. The following honorary members were elected: Provost Harrison, Vice Provost E. F. Smith, Dr. Goodspeed, Dr. Gough, and Mr. Kabakjian. The club intends to start at once the erection of the two fifty-foot poles on the two halls, and then the installing of the other apparatus will soon follow.
The Pennsylvanian, December 7, 1909
Wireless Club Progressing
With the assurance that the contract for erecting the poles for the Wireless Club’s apparatus on Houston and Logan Halls will be given out today or to-morrow. It seems certain that the installation of the more delicate apparatus may begin by Saturday of this week. A key and buzzer are now in operation in Houston Hall, where the floor space allotted to the club is soon to be fenced off. The members expect to practice on this apparatus all this week, so that by the time the real instruments are in working order every member will have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the workings of the apparatus. The regulation Morse code has been adopted by the members of the club with the code letters UP.
The Pennsylvanian, December 11, 1909
WIRELESS PLANS COMPLETED
Contract Given to Hassler – Poles to Be Erected Next Week.
Final preparations for the installation of the wireless apparatus have been made. The contract has been ratified by Dr. Goodspeed and was given yesterday to Hassler, familiarly known as the “Quaker City Steeple Jack”.
The conditions call for a fifty-seven foot pole on the Houston Club and a thirty foot pole on Logan Hall. It is expected that a receiver will be installed within a week, and in two weeks the equipment will be complete. The following committees have been appointed: Membership M. L. Tooker, A. L. Levi and C. V. Hahn. Wireless Room W. Bamford, H. Doyle, T. Tafel, H. B. Cowan, and L. S. Gerber.
H. Houseman, J. Shea and J. S. Dunn were elected to membership at the last meeting.
The Pennsylvanian, December 23, 1909
GREETINGS BY WIRELESS
Apparatus Will Be Ready For Use In A Few Days – Messages Will Carry 75 to 100 Miles.
“A Merry Xmas and a Glorious New Year to Pennsylvania Friends.” Such will be the greeting flashed through the ether within a few days at the Pennsylvania wireless telegraph station. For the past few months several undergraduates headed by one Simsohn and been zealously and quietly working on the marvelous project, and are practically ready to give a presentation. A uniform code has been inaugurated whereby messages may be readily transmitted.
A code has been organized by students from various departments, and they hope to outdo any pranks of the Aero Club. All of the wonderful alliteration of America’s alarming advertising agents would not serve to picture the constructed apparatus, over which messages will be received and sent for distances as great as 75 to 100 miles.
One of the most favorable features of such an equipment will be to exchange news with other colleges and universities within a reasonable radius. Princeton and Columbia have been working along similar lines, but have not been very successful. The Princetonians, however, have received several long-distance messages, and are very enthusiastic over the outcome. Were the apparatus to work perfectly well, news will be exchanged daily with these universities, and so a new feature in college journalism will have been established.
The Pennsylvanian, January 5, 1910
WIRELESS CLUB A REALITY
Apparatus Installed in Bowling Room of Houston Hall in Full Operation. Chess Match By Wireless.
The Wireless Club has become an actual reality. Stimulated by the rivalry that has sprung up between this organization and the future aeroplanists, unusual energy about Houston Hall has finally resulted in the almost installation of a thoroughly up-to-date wireless apparatus.
It is a matter of great consequence that the club has been congratulated by eminent authorities on wireless upon the work done thus far.
The instruments in particular have been favorably commented upon. The antennae has been strung between Houston Hall to Logan Hall, and make a fine showing. The other instruments, with the exception of the key and sending apparatus, have been installed in the alcove of the billiard room of the first floor in a space set aside especially for that purpose.
For the past few days members of the club have been busy receiving stray communications from distant points. That the instruments will fulfill all the expectations is amply testified to by the astonishing results obtained thus far. Owning, however, to the lack of a key, proper understanding of the various codes used along the coast and sufficient knowledge of the call signs, the operators have yet been able to make but little headway. These are points that will be remedied, however, in the course of a few days.
Under favorable conditions, the University wireless station should have no difficulty in reaching a most encouraging radius. In fact, it is hoped that messages will be received from points 800 to 1000 miles away, while messages will be sent it is hoped three or four hundred miles.
Endless opportunities are now offered the club members for practice. Press and commercial messages are continually received, while at eight o’clock each evening the station, it is expected, will soon be able to catch the Associated Press news sent out from the Marconi station at Cape Cod to vessels at sea.
Yesterday it was learned that President Simsohn entertains hopes for active communication with Cornell. In another field Whittaker, it was reported, is busy arranging a chess match with Princeton, to be played via wireless.
The Pennsylvanian, January 7, 1910
STRAY MESSAGES BY WIRELESS
Word from St. Augustine, Fla., and from the “Lusitania” received. New Instruments Aid Operation.
Message after message received by the Wireless Club in Houston Hall testifies to the tremendous success of Pennsylvania’s latest institution. The announcement in the meeting of the club yesterday afternoon that communication had been established with distant points met with an enthusiastic reception.
Only a few of the club members are far progressed in the intricacies of the Morse Code of telegraphic signals, but those few have kept their ears close to the receiving end of the line to catch the great number of stray messages that came into the University station. Word has been received from numerous Jersey points, from the Land Title Building, the Bellevue–Stratford, Atlantic City and the Metropolitan Building in New York.
Last Friday, under most favorable atmospheric conditions, a brief message was caught from the “Lusitania” and from St. Augustine, Fla., an encouraging result. Considering that the instruments have been but hastily set up, a great deal more is expected when they receive their final permanent adjustments.
Commercial messages without number have come into the station and the “39” warning that government business is in the road and all amateur “hands off” have been frequently heard. The Philadelphia Navy Yard has often been caught in communication with the Navy Yards at Washington and Norfolk.
Heretofore the club has been handicapped by the lack of a sending apparatus, but this deficiency is quickly being remedied. Yesterday a huge induction coil to serve as a transfer and a rheostat machine, were installed as the first efforts towards installing the necessary sending instruments. The other features still lacking have been contracted for and should arrive in a few days.
The club has grown ambitions and is rapidly making further additions. It is now contemplated to improve the tuning apparatus. A selective tuner, an improvement over the one now is use will be built in the Physics Laboratory by several members of the club. It will have the very desirable property of cutting out stations when two or more waves are caught at the same time. It is also the intention of the club to install a coherer and a Morse recorder, an instrument to write out the messages as received and make the work more intelligible to outsiders.
The Publicity Department of the University has already become actively interested in the progress of the club, and on Saturday afternoon, at 1 o’clock, several pictures will be taken of the members and of the instruments. These views, it is understood, will be for general distribution under Mr. Nitsche in scientific publications and daily journals.
The Pennsylvanian, January 11, 1910
More Wireless News
Three new stations have been gotten into communication with by the University Wireless Club. On Sunday night the members of the club, while trying to pick up odd messages, caught the stations at Cape Cod, the Willard Hotel, Washington, D. C., and the U.S.S. Idaho. Although the lack of a capable sending apparatus makes it impossible to speak to these various stations, it is very encouraging to catch these messages, as it promises well for the range of the apparatus when the final pieces have been installed. The work is at a standstill, owing to the lack of the above mentioned apparatus, but the quarters of the club in Houston Hall are still exciting interest to both bystanders and members.
The Pennsylvanian, January 13, 1910
SENDING APPARATUS READY
Will Be Installed at Once to Communicate with Cornell Wireless Club.
The University Wireless Club has just received a letter from the Cornell Wireless Club which has aroused the members to try to get their sending apparatus in working order as soon as possible.
The Cornell Club states that it is in possession of a three kilo watt wireless station which is similar to that in use at the Pennsylvania Station. They express a desire to communicate with the University’s club, and ask that an attempt be made to connect at 10 o’clock some time next week. The sending apparatus of the Houston Club station is completed and probably will be installed within the next few days. It is highly probable that messages will be transmitted from Philadelphia to Ithaca for the experiments thus far have demonstrated the wide range of the University’s apparatus.
The latest achievement was catching a message from Colon, South America.
The Pennsylvanian, February 11, 1910
WIRELESS CLUB ACTIVE
With the installation of alternating current next week, the transmitting end of the wireless paraphernalia will be in first-rate working order. Mr. Joseph Watts, Chief Electrician of the United States wireless forces, inspected the apparatus and pronounced that it was in good shape. Mr. Watts also addressed the club and ably expounded the theory and practical workings of wireless telegraphy. He has been connected with the Navy for eleven years, and he told of the construction of a wireless station on board ship, and the work the government was doing in promoting research work in telegraphy and of the school conducted by the government. He also related how, when he was on duty in South America, Casrto was kept from landing in Venezuela through the warnings sent out by the wireless stations, and how those made destitute by the Kingston earthquake were relieved with supplies shipped in response to wireless messages sent broadcast.
The Pennsylvanian, March 1, 1910
WIRELESS CHESS POSTPONED
The wireless chess match with Princeton, which was scheduled for Saturday, March 5th, has been postponed, owing to the fact that the Wireless Club feel that they will be better able to handle the match later in the month. The chess team will play their first match in the Philadelphia Chess League on Friday evening, March 4th. The following candidates will report at 7.45 that evening at the Franklin Chess Club: Bauder, Barsky, Benjamin, Buermeyer, Gill, Weiman and Whitaker.
The Pennsylvanian, March 15, 1910
AMBITIONS VIA WIRELESS
Pennsylvania Plans to Organize Intercollegiate Association in the Interests of Wave Telegraphy.
For the better organization of college men in the interest of wave telegraphy and to protest against the abolition of the amateur by government regulations, the Wireless Club of the University of Pennsylvania has taken the initiative and requested that all the colleges and universities in the county send representatives to a meeting which has been called for April 9th at 2 o’clock, in Houston Hall.
The club at that time hopes to organize an Intercollegiate Wireless Association and to perfect its unity as well as to facilitate original research. It is proposed to offer cups and metals to those clubs who in any way contribute to the efficiency of wireless communication. Over seventy-five colleges have already been invited to attend this meeting, and the invitation also includes all those colleges or universities which have not received a notification or who do not have a wireless club but expect to organize one in the future. It is planned to have several men of wireless fame address the conference. Several universities have already signified their approval, as well as many private clubs, but as the association is to be purely intercollegiate, the latter have been barred.
The determination to protest against Government regulation originated through the bill now before Congress that recommends that all amateur clubs be restricted from having a sending plant with a radius of more than ten miles. It is estimated that there are now in the United States more than four hundred of these amateur plants many of which are equal in efficiency to the Government stations. The Government complains that the refusal of these amateurs to cease operation when their instruments are working often delays official messages for by several hours, as well as endangering vessels at sea which often depend upon the naval stations for their bearings. This recent attempt at regulation is directly attributed at insolent amateurs who have got to the point where they answer requests to “but out” with the demand: “Who owns the ether, anyway?”
President Simsohn, of the Wireless Club is at present busily engaged in wiring the Houston Hall apparatus for an alternating instead of a direct current, as it is believed that the former power will enable them to transmit messages to a greater distance than under their previous system.
The Pennsylvanian, April 7, 1910
WIRELESS COIL INSTALLED
New Addition to Equipment Gives Transmission Range of 400 Miles.
Pennsylvania will at least be able to send wireless messages to Cornell and Princeton as long as the long and anxiously awaited coil for the sending apparatus has been installed. This coil, which is of German make, was donated by one of the members of the Wireless Club, and is said to be the finest coil in any wireless station among American universities. It was installed last Monday, and can easily send messages 400 miles, thus making the station a strong contender for first honors among the intercollegiate wireless clubs.
Professor Goodspeed, head of the Department of Physics, lent a smaller coil from the laboratories to the club enabling the members to communicate with the station at the Randall Morgan Laboratory. In this way, excellent practice has been secured and several of the men have developed into experts.
Increasing interest has been taken in this activity is being taken by the undergraduate body as evidenced by the fact that the membership limit of fifty is already completed.
The Pennsylvanian, May 4, 1910
Wireless Apparatus Crippled.
Owing to an accident to the transmitter, the Wireless Club has been inactive for the last few days. The damage is being repaired and it is hoped that by Saturday everything will be in first-class condition.
The Pennsylvanian, May 21, 1910
WIRELESS OPERATORS ACTIVE
Will Send Results of Intercollegiates and Receive Princeton Game.
Pennsylvania’s wireless experts have again demonstrated their enterprising spirit as plans have been completed whereby the results of the Intercollegiate track meet, on May 27-28, will be sent through the ether to Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
A small wireless outfit will be rigged on Franklin Field and the results of each event will be transmitted to the main office in Houston Club from whence the news will be dispersed over a radius of 600 miles.
On next Saturday afternoon the Princeton Wireless Club will send the results of the Pennsylvania-Princeton game, inning by inning, to the local wireless station in Houston Club. From there, the news will be relayed to the sub-station on Franklin Field and the results announced to the spectators at the Intercollegiates.